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Roy Harper - HQ CD (album) cover


Roy Harper


Prog Folk

3.53 | 41 ratings

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After Robert Fripp disbanded King Crimson in 1974, Bill Bruford appeared in many strange contexts, some unexpected, others less so (Pavlov's Dog, post-Gabriel Genesis, National Health, a prog version of PETER AND THE WOLF etc.). Perhaps the strangest of all was an attempt to create a prog folk supergroup with Roy Harper at the helm, Bill on drums, Dave Cochran on bass and neo-rockabilly hero Chris Spedding (who had played superbly on some of John Cale's best albums) on lead guitar. The band in question was dubbed Trigger. They recorded only one album, HQ, which will be all the more of interest to progheads because its most extensive track, the suite 'The Game (Parts 1-5)' replaces Cochran with a certain John Paul Jones (remember him?) while also featuring Dave Gilmour, who plays the opening riff.

Now 'The Game' does sound nice, and the la-a-a-zy ballad 'Hallucinating Light' (on the album's original B-side) will definitely be of interest to Spedding and Bruford freaks since their heroes are beautifully recorded (although I can't help thinking Bill must have found the music a bore), but the most remarkable thing about HQ is that its best song, the haunting 'When an old cricketer leaves the crease', features just Harper (on vocals and acoustic guitar) and The Grimethorpe Colliery band, superbly arranged by David Bedford. To this day, Harper maintains that 'When an old cricketer...' may be his greatest achievement, and I'd even go so far as to say HQ is worth buying for this track alone. The crystal-clear 1995 remaster (on the Science Friction label; featuring 30 pages of fascinating photographs, lyrics and liner notes) includes a bonus live performance of this song, somewhat less striking than the studio version, since that gloriously melancholic brass band had to be replaced with synthesized strings.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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