Time Honoured Ghosts (1975)

If my affections for BJH are marked by an arid inconstancy, it’s because of albums like this. I thought EIEE was a terrific record, but Time Honoured Ghosts goes right back to the shortcomings of Short Stories. Wooly (and where the ‘ell did the other L go anyway?) delivers a brilliant song in “Beyond The Grave,” which is a classical rock piece on a par with ELP’s “Pirates” (although far too short at four minutes). The rest of the record is uneven and, at times, far too derivative for a creative band like BJH. I mean, “Moongirl” pilfers “Stairway to Heaven” for crying out loud; I thought people got sued for stuff like that. And “Titles” is almost literally just a bunch of Beatles song titles strung together (although it’s a lovely melody that connects them). The rest of the record basically covers the same ground as previous albums: “In My Life” is a lot like “Crazy (Over You),” “Sweet Jesus” is similar to “Poor Boy Blues.” Even the better songs feel patterned on familiar artists: “Song For You” sounds like Les channeling John Entwistle, while “One Night” finds John channeling James Taylor (although it is a really good song). Most of the things that made EIEE a great album are missing here: the ambitious arrangements, rich harmonies, futuristic guitars. Oddly, Rodger Bain had the band sounding more like CSN&Y than Elliot Mazer. Go figure. The album cover is also something of a red herring, since this is their least proggy album to date. Having said all that, Ghosts became their highest-charting album. So much for the vox populi.

Original LP Version
A1. In My Life (Lees) (4:42)
A2. Sweet Jesus (Holroyd) (3:40)
A3. Titles (trad. arr. by Lees) (3:38)
A4. Jonathan (Holroyd) (4:59)
A5. Beyond The Grave (Wolstenholme) (4:08)
B1. Song For You (Holroyd) (5:20)
B2. Hymn For The Children (Lees) (3:39)
B3. Moongirl (Holroyd) (4:56)
B4. One Night (Lees) (5:22)

CD bonus track
10. Child of the Universe (remake for planned US single)

Releases
1975.10 / Polydor / UK / LP / 2383 361 / lyric picture sleeve
1975 / Polydor / UK / 8T / 3820 161 / different track listing
1975 / Polydor / UK / CS / 3170 261
1975.10 / Polydor / US / LP / PD 6517 / lyric picture sleeve
1975.10 / Polydor / US / 8T / 8F 6517
1975 / Polydor / FRA / LP / 2442 140 / gatefold cover
1975 / Polydor / GER / LP / 2383 361 / lyric picture sleeve
1975 / Polydor / Israel / LP / 2383-361 / lyric picture sleeve
1975 / Polydor / Japan / LP / MP 2511 / lyric picture sleeve
1983 / Polydor / UK / LP / SPELP-12
1983 / Polydor / UK / CS / SPEMC-12
2001 / Polydor / Japan / CD / UICY-9048
*** / Polydor / UK / CDx / w. bonus track

Repackages
1983 / Polydor / UK / 2LP / 2683 079 / w. Octoberon
1988 / Polygram / Germany / CD / 831 543 / w. Octoberon

Personnel
Les Holroyd (bass & acoustic guitars, vocals), John Lees (electric & acoustic guitars, vocals), Mel Pritchard (percussion), Wooly Wolstenholme (keyboards, vocals). Produced by Elliot Mazer. Engineered by Jeremy Zatkin, Elliot Mazer; mix engineered by Ted Sharp. Design and illustration by Bill Dare (with acknowledgement to the genius of Maxfield Parrish); art direction by Paul Welch; liner photography by Alex Agor.

Arcana

  • Reached #32 on the UK charts
  • Elliot Mazer was the producer on Neil Young’s album, Harvest. Yes, you saw what just happened there, didn’t you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.