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Roy Harper - Folkjokeopus CD (album) cover


Roy Harper


Prog Folk

3.72 | 44 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Roy Harper - Folkjokeopus (1969)

This really is something! I had never heard a single song of the good man, but bought a record of him anyways because of the enthusiastic reviews on progarchives. I was blown away on the first spin.

Roy Harper plays a hybrid style of psychedelic beat (which gets as bizarre as Syd Barrett), folk-rock (ranging from Dylanesque to prog-folk to eastern styled folk) whilst laying as much an emphasis on his brilliant poetry as did the great song-writers of the late sixties (think of Cohen, Dylan en Donovan). Whilst the arrangements are usually simplistic (acoustic guitar, bass, drums, piano) Roy Harper makes the impression of singing in front of a full-blown orchestra with his extremely motivated performing style, daring vocals (singing in pitches he almost can't reach) and amazing 'attack' (which means the notes he sings are on full volume from the moment he makes them). At first you won't understand what kind of bombastic vocals start blowing from you speakers, but soon after that you'll start laughing and enjoying your life intensely. This man is reckless! The compositions and lyrics are very strong, so the 'artistic' performance is easily justified. The recording sound is very good and the vocals just sound amazing.

Thought the vocals of Harper are the main attraction, this album also has some eclectic traits. The opening track is an up-tempo prog-folk track with great vocals and some progressive harmonic chord progressions. If you hadn't been convinced by know, Roy Harper launches 'She's the one' - a masterpiece of music in general. The extremely catchy and slightly psychedelic line 'she's the one' sung in his high pitch vocals cuts through metal whilst the complete song has that exciting atmosphere you'll rarely see know-a-days. With 'In the time of water' Harper introduces his eastern folk sound with great success. 'The composer of life' is a gentle, mellow psychedelic folk song with Roy Harper singing high pitched folk vocals accompanied by an (to me) unknown high pitched string-instrument giving the music a slight Chinese folk sound. After that, 'One for all' is an extended track with folky instrumental sections in which Harper shows to be a real acrobat on the instrument, whilst giving us atmospheric music with both Irish and Indian influences. Around three minutes there are also some nice pastoral vocals.

On side two Harper introduces his psychedelic/beat style with the extremely funny and sarcastic 'Exercising some control'. Then starst the 17 minute 'Mc Goohan's Blues' on which Harper takes his artistic vision to the maximum. The first 10 minutes (at least) are made of couplets and refrains of which the lyrics and vocals are so brilliant that the excitement never wears of. His psychedelic poetry about all faces of our society are filled with criticism, humor and frustration. This is like 'The End' of The Doors, an seemingly endless song that never bores! The second part of 'Mc Goohan's Blues' is more poppy and has arrangements with piano, bass and drums joining in. 'Manana' is the ending track, with yet some more psychedelic/beat style with silly lyrics and enthusiastic performances.

Conclusion. This psychedelic/folk/songwriter's album has it all; musicianship, composition, song-writing and above all; maximum performance and artistic recklessness. The sound is extremely well for a recording dating from 1969 and the lyrics are still valid for today's problems. Well... Hat's of it is! I definitely want to search for more vinyls of this unique artist. Five screaming madmen for this one.

friso | 5/5 |


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