Barclay James Harvest: “Brother Thrush” (1969)

“Brother Thrush” b/w “Poor Wages”

BJH signed with EMI’s new Harvest imprint (coincidence, not nepotism) and released a second single led by the soaring “Brother Thrush.” The A side introduces what would become a familiar theme of Nature over Man, with the realization that life is, in fact, for the birds. To my ears, BJH reaches new progressive heights on this song, particularly in its near-celestial chorus. Woolly’s “Poor Wages” is a slightly dramatic retelling of lost love that could be seen as an early and agitated relation to “Iron Maiden.” Both tracks were produced by Norman Smith (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Pretty Things), who would go on to direct the band’s next two albums.

Original Version
A1. Brother Thrush (3:01)*
B1. Poor Wages (2:32)

* Both songs originally credited to Barclay James Harvest. Later credited individually to Lees (A1) and Wolstenholme (B1).

Releases
1969.06.20 / Harvest / UK / 7” / HAR 5003
1969 / Sire / US / 7” / 45-4112
1969 / Harvest / France / 7” / 2C 006-04135 / picture sleeve (1)
1969 / Harvest / Netherlands / 7” / 5C 006-90312 / picture sleeve (2)
1969 / Disko / Turkey / 7” / DLS 6012

Personnel

  • Les Holroyd –
  • John Lees –
  • Mel Pritchard – drums
  • Stuart “Woolly” Wolstenholme –lead vocals (A1)
  • Robert Godfrey – organ and backing vocals (A1)
  • Norman Smith – producer

Arcana

  • Oddly, the song “Poor Wages” later appeared on an Iranian 7-inch EP under the billing of “Top 4 No. 1 Hits” (EX 4316).

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