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Roy Harper - Valentine CD (album) cover


Roy Harper


Prog Folk

3.50 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Erroneously listed under compilations and box sets in PA's Roy Harper discography, Valentine may be the summit of Harper's skills as a songwriter and that four of the album's songs are feature on his superb 2012 compilation album Songs Of Love And Loss, the most culled from any Harper album, and are there for a very good reason.

Aside from two Harper commentaries on his feelings towards Women's Lib, which is something along the line of you can't have your cake and eat it too, the other eight of the album's songs are about relationships past and present, and Harper is simply at his zenith when it comes to wearing his heart on his sleeves. The exception being Acapulco Gold in which Harper confesses love to both his lady and weed. Unlike the directness of Harper's 1970 album Flat, Baroque, And Berserk or the metaphorical obtuseness of Harper's material on Stormcock, from 1971, and Life Mask, from 1973, Harper combines the lyrical sensibilities of both styles on Valentine without becoming pretentious.

I'll See You Again and Twelve Hours Of Sunlight are among two of Harper's most potent and engrossing songs. The first about dismissing a lover because his feelings are unrequited and the second deals with longing compounded by a twelve hour flight from Europe to the US at twilight which seems to last an eternity (I know by personal experience) as the never ending day prolongs and compounds the feelings of loneliness and longing for a loved one. The instrumentation on the former is sparse acoustic guitar with multiple and necessary vocal overdubs by Harper, along with a sublime orchestral score by the late David Bedford that deftly combines baroque with a sense of modernism. Bedford's score on Twelve Hours Of Hours Sunset is even better with a string section that evokes both flight and loneliness. He is the album's unsung hero and almost bests himself with another ethereal score for Harper's take on the traditional Girl From The North Country.

There is not much that is blatantly progressive on Valentine, except for what is implied by trying to move folk rock into fresh territory, in which Harper easily succeeds. 4 stars.

SteveG | 4/5 |


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