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Roy Harper - Folkjokeopus CD (album) cover

FOLKJOKEOPUS

Roy Harper

 

Prog Folk

3.72 | 44 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars The first album where Roy really lets his hair down and goes wild, as the previous two albums where both interesting in the singer/songwriter with a folk penchant, but had done little to get out of the ordinary. But by all means, Roy's Folkjokeopus is not anywhere close to his future works, but it's probably the best place to start if youy're looking into investigating him. Often with Harper's works there are moments where you're not sure what may appear as an uncorrected glitch in the (average) production or whether it was intentional. The artwork is already weird enough on the front cover, with weird owl bird next to sleeping or dead Roy 'he's so white), but you should check out the mad back cover (nt effective on Cd format)

Rushing out of the starting blocks, Roy's Sgt Sunshine is a dazzling dash across a peculiar world, where the Incredible String Band and Spirogyra (the female singer sounds like Barbara Gaskin) with a touch of loonyness that could Syd Barrett's. The following She's The One is a duo where she's the one indeed that starts to sing and holds her own to Roy? Interesting, but a tad longuish, especially that the track doesn't change much. In The Time Of Water is an Indiano-Chinese piece starting on waterfall noise. Short enough to be just a token of appreciation for these musics, but more would've lacked credibility. The semi-medieval Composer Of Life is a short harp and flute thing, but limit cringey in the vocals dept.

The much more interesting One For All opens the flipside is a mix of classical guitar arpeggios with a tad of Spanish drama in its lengthy intro, before Harper attacks the song itself with a verse than another lenthy interlude where his mastery of the acoustic guitar can only impress as he mixes Flamenco and Indian classical music with an aplomb that not that many UK citizens would've dared. No doubt that Jimmy Page was listening also, even if Zep's first album most likely preceded this album on the store shelves. A silly barroom piano tune follows without much interest. Of course, we are all waiting for the magnum track of McGoohan's Blues, which is an amazing cross of blues and Irish-type of dramatic ballad (Van Morrison's Astral Weeks was also from the same mould and date) and Harper puts so much expression in his singing, that he frequently drives shivers through your spine, riveting your ears to your stereo's speakers. Just Roy singing his heart out and his guitar. Astounding performance. The closing Manana simply can't compete and is generally forgotten or at best just heard, but not listened to, but if you must know it's a piano tune barroom song., ending in some kid's laughter.

As mentioned above, Folkjokeopus is the perfect entry point to Roy's vast world that starts to unravel before your ears on this album, but will expand more in further albums. I rarely round up a 3.5 stars album, but on the basis of three exceptional tracks and the respect I have for the artiste, I'll give it its fourth star.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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