John Joseph Lees lead guitar, lead vocals  
Stuart John 'Woolly' Wolstenholme lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, banjo, organ 
Melvyn Paul 'Mel' Pritchard drums, percussion  
Richard Leslie 'Les' Holroyd bass, cello, mellotron, organ, piano, vocals  


The Barclay James Harvest story begins in the early sixties in the Oldham area of North-West England. John Lees and Stuart "Woolly" Wolstenholme met at Oldham Art School, and formed a band called The Sorcerers, which evolved into The Keepers.

Meanwhile Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard were playing in another local outfit rejoicing in the name of Heart And Soul And The Wickeds.

In 1966 a new band was formed from a fusion of the two and performed live shows on a semi-professional basis as The Blues Keepers. The resulting six-piece gradually dwindled to a stable quartet comprising Holroyd, Pritchard, Lees and Wolstenholme, and in the summer of 1967 they turned professional with a new name selected by putting names into a hat, and Barclay James Harvest was born.

Under the patronage of John Crowther, a local businessman and their first manager, they moved into an 18th Century farmhouse called Preston House to write and rehearse, and their spartan lifestyle was captured in a short documentary film made for Granada TV.

A one-off single deal was negotiated with EMI's Parlophone label, and "Early Morning" appeared in April 1968, attracting acclaim and the opportunity to record radio sessions for John Peel.

This in turn led to a contract with EMI as the band became one of the first signings to the legendary Harvest label, releasing "Brother Thrush" as their second single in June 1969.

From the very beginning , BJH experimented with new forms, going beyond the traditional guitar, bass and drums format to include woodwind, strings and brass, then acquiring a Mellotron to simulate the sound of an orchestra. It was a logical step, then, to record their debut album, Barclay James Harvest, with their own orchestra led by "Resident Musical Director" Robert Godfrey, later of The Enid, and to back the release of the album in June 1970 with a short orchestral tour. 1971 saw them perfecting their fusion of rock and classical music with the seminal albums Once Again and Barclay James Harvest And Other Short Stories and ambitious live performances which, while stunning their audiences, did nothing to impress the record company accountants!

Mounting debts and strained relations with EMI led to a couple of abortive efforts at commercial singles and a slightly below-par 1972 album, Baby James Harvest, which led to a parting with the Harvest label in 1973.

Fortunately the crisis which threatened to finish the band was averted when they were signed up by Polydor and began to enjoy greater commercial success. From then on, as Woolly put it, it was, "Fame, fortune - and age!"

Info courtesy:

Keith & Monika Domone
International BJH Fan Club
BJH web site:


Sad to note the passing of Wooley Wolstenhulme (Dec 2010).

Paul (webmaster)

I went to watch Heart and Soul and The Wickeds play support to the Kinks at the Kings Hall Oldham in[I think] Christmas 65. Rod Buckley was the lead singer, great frontman, he left band in 67.

Dave Smith

Barclay James Harvester formed in June 1967 in Oldham, Lancashire, with a line-up of John Lees on lead guitar, lead vocals (b. John Joseph Lees, Monday, January 13, 1947, Greenslade Avenue, Oldham, Lacashire, UK), Stuart 'Woolly' Wolstenholme on lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, banjo, organ (b. Stuart John Wolstenholme, Tuesday, April 15, 1947, Butterworth Street, Chadderton, Oldham, Lancashire, UK d. Monday, December 13, 2010, at his home in London, UK, he took his own life), Mel Pritchard on drums, percussion (b. Melvyn Paul Pritchard, Tuesday, January 20, 1948, Myrtle Close, Derker, North Central Oldham, Lancashire, UK d. Wednesday, January 28, 2004, Greenfield, Saddleworth, near Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK, of a heart attack) and Les Holroyd on bass, cello, mellotron, organ, piano, vocals (b. Richard Leslie Holroyd, Friday, March 12, 1948, Thackeray Road, Derker, North Central Oldham, Lancashire, UK). 

John Lees, the oldest member of the original band, had no formal musical education, but took up guitar at 14 in 1961. He was educated at Robin Hill Secondary Modern School, then Breeze Hill School in Roxbury Avenue, Salem, both in Oldham, before he went to Oldham School of Art. It was here in 1964 that 17 year-old Lee met 17 year-old Stuart 'Woolly' Wolstenholme and they played together in The Sorcerers, with Wolstanholme on tambourine, vocals and Lee on lead guitar, vocals. Wolstenholme's first instrument was a tenor banjo, which he took up at 12 in 1959, and he also played tenor horn in The Delph Band. Wolstenholme and Lee were both later in Blues group The Keepers with Wolstanholme then on harmonica, 12-string guitar, vocals, etc. 

As for Mel Pritchard and Les Holroyd they had been friend's since Infant School, Holroyd living in Thackeray Road, Derker, the next street to Pritchard in Myrtle Road, Derker, both in Oldham. Their parents knew each other. Both later went to Derker Secondary Modern School in Oldham, where they formed a school band. Later on they both formed six-piece Blues group The Hearts and Soul and The Wickeds. This band included Rod Buckley on lead vocals (b. Rodney Buckley), who was a great front man. When the bands lead guitarist left the group in September 1966 to pursue a career as a teacher, Pritchard and Holroyd approached John Lee to replace him and he said he would only join if his friend Stuart 'Woolly' Wolstanholme could also join. So they both ended up in the band and a new group was formed from a fusion of the two bands to became the semi-pro Blues Keepers. 

In 1967 Buckley left as did the other group member, leaving the band as a four-piece. 

In June 1967 The Blues Keepers changed their name to Barclay James Harvest, selected by putting names into a hat. The band was later financially backed by local businessman, boutique owner John Cowther, who was also their first manager and put the group up in a 18th centuary farmhouse called Preston House in Diggle on Saddleworth Moor, West Yorkshire, so they could rehearse and write. 

In 1967 Barclay James Harvest played their first gig at Middleton Baths in Bath Road, Middleton, near Rochdale, Lancashire, now in Machester 24, Greater Manchester. 

On Saturday, December 7, 1968 at The Middle Earth, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, North West London they met Robert Godfrey (b. Robert John Godfrey, Wednesday, July 30, 1947, The Leeds Castle Estate, Kent, UK), who went to work on their first two albums. 

Between Saturday, November 8, 1969 & Monday, January 26, 1970 Barclay James Harvest were at the famous EMI Studios at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, North West London to record their first album ''Barclay James Harvester,'' which was produced by Norman 'Hurricane' Smith (b. Thursday, February 22, 1923, Edmonton, North London, UK d. Monday, March 3, 2008, East Sussex, UK). The album was arranged and conducted by Robert Godfrey.  

In Early June 1970 Barclay James Harvest released their first album ''Barclay James Harvest.'' 

Between Thursday, October 8 & Wednesday, November 25, 1970 Barclay James Harvest went back to EMI Studios at Abbey Road to record their second album ''Once Again,'' which was again produced by Norman 'Hurricane' Smith. The album was conducted by Robert Godfrey, who went onto form The Enid in 1973. Gavin Wright was the Orchestra Leader of The Barclay James Harvest Orchestra, who also played on the album. Famous engineer Alan Parson (b. Monday, December 20, 1948, London, UK) played Jaw harp on one track. 


UK's 45 

Friday, April 26, 1968
Early Morning/Sunshine
Parlophone R 5693 

Friday, June 20, 1968
Brother Thrush/Poor Wages
Harvest HAR 5003 

Friday, August 28, 1970
Taking Some Time On/The Iron Maiden
Harvest HAR 5025 

UK albums 

Friday, June 5, 1970 
Barclay James Harvest 
Harvest SHVL 770 

Friday, February 5, 1971
Once Again
Harvest SHVL 788 

Friday, November 5, 1971
Barclay James Harvest And Other Stories 
Harvest SHVL 794 

September 1972
Early Morning Onwards
EMI/Starline SRS 5126 

Friday, November 10, 1972
Baby James Harvest 
Harvest SHSP 4023 

Some Barclay James Harvest concerts: 

1967: The Middleton Baths, Bath Road, Middleton, near Rochdale, Lancashire, now Machester 24, Greater Manchester, UK, debut gig  

Wednesday, January 31, 1968: Manchester University Union, Manchester, Lancashire, UK 

Sunday, February 4, 1968: Mister Smiths, Manchester, Lancashire, UK 

Wednesday, February 14, 1968: The Middleton Baths, Bath Road, Middleton, near Rochdale, Lancashire, now Machester 24, Greater Manchester, UK 

Thursday, February 15, 1968: The Sybillas Club, London, UK 

Saturday, February 17, 1968: Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK 

Saturday, February 24, 1968: Salford University, Salford, Lancashire, UK 

Thursday, April 25, 1968: Lancaster University Concourse, Lancaster, Lancashire, UK 

Saturday, April 27, 1968: Manchester University Union, Manchester, Lancashire, UK 

Tuesday, May 21, 1968: Loughborough University Concourse, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK 

Wednesday, May 22, 1968: Liverpool University Concourse, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK   

June 27, 1968: Huddersfield Technical College, 37 New North Road, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK 

Friday, July 26, 1968: The Free Trade Hall, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, backed US singer Tim Harden?  

Friday, September 13, 1968: The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, North West London, UK ?, with The Small Faces, The Action  

Saturday, September 28, 1968: The Manchester Union, Manchester, Lancashire, UK 

Friday, October 4, 1968: The Manchester College of Commerce, Manchester, Lancashire, UK

Friday, October 11, 1968: The Mothers, Eardington, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK 

Sunday, November 3, 1968: A Private Party, UK 

Monday, November 11, 1968: The All Saints Church Hall, Powis Gardens, Bayswater, West London, UK, with Pink Floyd, The Edgar Broughton Band  

Friday, December 6, 1968: Southampton University, Southampton, Hampshire, UK 

Saturday, December 7, 1968: The Imperial College, South Kensington, South West London, UK, early evening 

Saturday, December 7, 1968: The Middle Earth, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, North West London, UK, late night, with Gun, Arcadium, Marie Rice, The John Thomas Blues Band, Explosive Spectrum 

Friday, December 13, 1968: The Weybridge Brooklands Technical College, Weybridge, Surrey, UK 

Saturday, December 14, 1968: Luton University?, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK 

Monday, December 16, 1968: The Leeds College of Art, Blenheim Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK 

Saturday, February 8, 1969: The University College of London, Gower Street, Bloomsbury, West Central London, UK 

Friday, February 14, 1969: The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK, with Junior's Eyes 

Friday, March 14, 1969: The Manchester College of Commerce, Manchester, Lancashire, UK

Saturday, March 15, 1969: The Chelsea College of Science and Technology, Manresa Road & Kings Road, Chelsea, South West London, UK, with The Pretty Things 

Saturday, March 15, 1969: The Royalty Threatre, Ladbroke Grove, West London, UK, with Fairport Convention, all-nighter 

Saturday, June 14, 1969: Free Concert, Hyde Park, West London, UK, with The Move, The Action, etc  

Friday, June 20, 1969: The Clouds, Circus, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, UK

Sunday, June 29, 1969: The Houldworth Hall, Deansgate, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, with The Edgar Broughton Band, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Greasy Bear, DJ John Peel, Catalyst, benefit for Grass Eye 

Thursday, July 10, 1969: The Penthouse, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK 

Sunday, July 13, 1969: The International Pop Show, Ciney, Belgium 

Monday, August 4, 1969: The Granary Club, Bristol, Somerset, UK 

Friday, August 8, 1969: The Van Dyke Club, Phmouth, Devon, UK 

Saturday, August 23, 1969: The Free Humberside Pop Festival, East Park, Kingston-upon-Hull, East Yorkshire, UK 

Sunday, August 24, 1969: The Revolution Club, London, UK 

Friday, August 29, 1969: The Speakeasy Club, 48 Margaret Street, Soho, West London, UK 

Friday, October 31, 1969: The Locarno, Sunderland, County Durham, UK, with Savoy Brown  

Saturday, November 1, 1969: The Chelsea College of Science and Technology, Manresa Road & Kings Road, Chelsea, South West London, UK, with The Edgar Broughton Band 

Friday, December 5, 1969: Ellison Building, Newcastle Polytechnic, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumbria, UK, with Ginhouse  

Tuesday, December 9, 1969:  The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, UK, with Georgie Fame, Family  

Thursday, December 18, 1969: Salle Arena, Deurne, Belgium, with Colosseum, Ferre Grignard, Pebbles  

December 1969: Charity Concert, The Uppermill Civic Hall, Uppermill Village, near Oldham, Lancashire, UK 

Friday, January 30, 1970: The Casino Pleasure Beach, Blackpool?, Lancashire, UK 

Saturday, January 31, 1970: The University College of London, Gower Street, Bloomsbury, West Central London, UK 

Saturday, February 7, 1970: The Usher Hall, Lothian Road, West End, Edinburgh 1, Lothian, Scotland, with Led Zeppelin, from 7.30pm, postponed to February 17, 1970 after Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page involved in a car crash 

Tuesday, February 17, 1970: The Usher Hall, Lothian Road, West End, Edinburgh 1, Lothian, Scotland, with Led Zeppelin, from 7.30pm  

Friday, April 3, 1970: Koln Sporthalle Progressive Pop Festival, Koln (Cologne), Germany, with Deep Purple, The Kinks, Procol Harum, The Nice, Soft Machine, Tyrannosaurus Rex   

Monday, April 27, 1970: Poco a Poco, Stockport Schools Union Concert, Stockport, Lancashire, UK, with David Bowie and Hype, High Tide, The Purple Gang  

Friday, June 5, 1970: Until Tomorrow, The Buxton Festival, Buxton, UK, billed but did not appear 

Sunday, June 28, 1970: The Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester, Lancashire, UK, with Orchestra 

July 3, 1970: The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, South West London, UK, with Orchestra 

July 4, 1970: The Buile Hill Park, Salford, Lancashire, UK, free concert, cancelled by local council 

Friday, July 17, 1970: The Town Hall, Congreve Street, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK, with Orchestra 

Thursday, July 23, 1970: The Usher Hall, Lothian Road, West End, Edinburgh 1, Lothian, Scotland, with Orchestra 

Friday, September 4, 1970: Alsager College, Alsager, East Cheshire, UK 

Friday, September 11, 1970: Benefit For Diggle Old People's Welfare Committee, The Uppermill Civic Hall, Uppermill Village, near Oldham, Lancashire, UK 

Saturday, September 12, 1970: The Odeon Cinema, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, with Quintessance, Quartermass, from 11pm, benefit for Diggle Old People's Welfare  Committee

Tuesday, September 22, 1970: The Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool 1, Lancashire, UK, with Steamhammer, Kevin Ayres  

Wednesday, September 23, 1970: The City Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumbria, UK, with Steamhammer, Ginhouse  

Friday, September 25, 1970: The Salford Technical College, Salford, Lancashire, UK 

Sunday, September 27, 1970: The Redcar Jazz Club, Coatham Hotel, Redcar, North Yorkshire, UK, with Uriah Heep 

Monday, September 28, 1970: The City Hall, Barker's Pool, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK 

Friday, October 16, 1970: The Downstairs Club, Oldhill, Staffordshire, UK, with Shape of The Rain 

Tuesday, October 20, 1970: The Revolution Club, London, UK 

Thursday, October 22, 1970: The Winter Gardens, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, UK, with Stackridge, Maya  

Thursday, October 29, 1970: The Marquee Club, 90 Wardour Street, Soho, West London, UK, supported by Duster Bennett  

Friday, October 30, 1970: The Nags Head, Wollaston, Northampton, Northamptonshire, UK 

Saturday, October 31, 1970: The Temple Club, 33 - 37 Wardour Street, Soho, West London, UK  

Sunday, November 1, 1970: The Wake Arms, Epping Road, Epping, Essex, UK 

Monday, November 2, 1970: The Hebdomadal Club, Letchworth City, Hertfordshire, UK 

Monday, November 16, 1970: The Bradford Festival, St George's Hall, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK, with Lifetime 

Wednesday, November 18, 1970: The Club Lafayette, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, UK, with Travelling West Wing  

Friday, December 4, 1970: The Brighton Polytechnic, Brighton, East Sussex, UK 

Thursday, December 10, 1970: The Locarno Mecca, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK, with Wishbone Ash, Writing On The Wall

Saturday, December 12, 1970: The Wolverhampton Polytechnic, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, UK 

Friday, December 18, 1970: The Basildon Arts Centre, Basildon, Essex, UK, with Wildmouth  

Wednesday, December 23, 1970: The Castle, Tooting Broadway, Tooting, South West London, UK 

Jphn H. Warburg

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Comments (2)

Topic: Barclay James Harvest
John H. Warburg says...
Just added more info and list of gigs.
6th August 2014 5:52pm
Bob Ainsworth says...
One album missed from the list is Octoberon. I have a copy on cassette.
29th November 2016 3:01pm

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