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Roy Harper

Prog Folk

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Roy Harper Stormcock album cover
3.96 | 207 ratings | 22 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hors D'Oeuvres (8:37)
2. The Same Old Rock (12:24)
3. One Man Rock And Roll (7:23)
4. Me And My Woman (13:01)

Total time 41:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Roy Harper / vocals, 6- & 12-string (2) guitars, Moog (1), piano (3), co-producer

- David Bedford / Hammond (1), orchestral arrangements (4)
- Jimmy Page / lead guitar (2)

Releases information

Artwork: James Edgar with Richard Imrie (photo)

LP Harvest ‎- SHVL 789 (1971, UK)

CD Awareness Records ‎- AWCD 2001 (1990, UK)
CD Science Friction ‎- HUCD047 (2007, UK) Remastered by Johnny Fitzgerald & Roy Harper

Thanks to NotAProghead for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy ROY HARPER Stormcock Music

ROY HARPER Stormcock ratings distribution

(207 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ROY HARPER Stormcock reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars If FJO had signalled the average music fan that he was intending to do more than straight folk, Stormcock is certainly the confirmation of this. Produced by Floyd manager and backed-up by just a couple of guest, including David Bedford for the arrangements, the album sports another B&W photo both on the front and back cover, this album is so inventive that it alone should clinch its PA inclusion

Just four lengthy tracks on this album, which starts on the more basic tune on offer, a descending Hors D'Oeuvre that is a tad too reminiscent of Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man (and a little too still for its 8-mins+ duration), especially in Roy's singing, but then again Cat Stevens would build an entire career on that feature alone. However the following 12-mins+ epic Same Old Rock is an absolutely marvellous and stunning song that starts with Roy's usual singing over his 12-strings guitar play, but as the track progresses, he gets help from Mercurius (that Mr Jimmy Page to you, boy!! ;o)) on second guitar (actually on lead guitar). By the middle of the track Roy has got us sooooooooo deep in his world by multitracking his voice than guitars, so wonderfully done, that you forget that the track is sooo "short" ;o))).

The flipside opens on the explanatory title,7-mins One Man R'nR Band which welcomes Jimmy Page again on lead guitar, developing a bluesey rock while Roy wails away on his vocal prowess, the track is ending on a loud bang that sounds as if you slammed shut the piano key cover while leaving a mike in between the bass strings, a perfect dramatic exit for yet another great tune. The closing Me And My Woman is the highlight of this album (that contains just highlights) and Roy first takes the track to normal folk territory, before David Bedford's conducted strings intervene a first time, solidly changing Harper's tune, taking a poignant solemn tone, before returning with string and horns attacking alternatively, every time bringing more dramatic tension, until the tracks breaks into a duet of 12-strings and oboe and so on for its 12-mins duration. Bedford's horn arrangement sounds a bit like the orchestra's intervention in Floyd's AHM title track.

While most fans will have a hard time pointing out a Harper "best" album, inevitably Storncock and Lifemask are bound to come in most top three and it's really no surprise as the album is poignant and thought-provoking by its lyric content. I'd probably tell the prospective proghead to start here or with Lifemask for a first contact with Harper's delicate world.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Without question this is Roy Harper's best studio effort. Sure I can think of some excellent compilations and collaborative output from this legendary folk/prog/rock artist to be reviewed at another time but even the general critics have to agree in Stormcock being right up there in the vintage category. Four lengthy quality tracks make up Stormcock. Released in 1971 at the same time as Led Zeppelin IV and Pink Floyd Meddle, the quality of material compares favourably and comes very close in many respects to his mates from those two bands. Alan Parsons also contributed as Engineer. RH's best track IMHO has to be ' The Same Old Rock'. Musically supported by Jimmy Page but the combination of the mesmerizing guitar playing between these two on this song leads me to believe that this is perhaps some of the finest guitar work ever released in the musical world. Lyrics like 'All along the ancient wastes, our thin reflections spin, that gather all the times and tides at once we love within, that build the edges round the shrouds that cloud the setting sun, and carry us to other days and other days to one......' Another rivetting song is the passionate ' Me and My Woman. Roy Harper vocally at his best here too. It is worth noting that Roy Harper is also a highly respected poet and with lyrics like the above it is not hard to see why.

For any newcomers to Roy Harper this is definitely one of the albums to embrace. Consistently above excellent throughout, flavours of Zeppelin and Floyd but always with Roy Harper's distinctive stamp of individuality. Essentially a collective must have.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hats off to Roy Harper indeed!

I always have a certain skepticism whenever I see a high-rated album such as Roy Harper's Stormcock. Could it be the fanboys giving it the publicity that it doesn't deserve? Naturally I approached this release with caution especially since I knew very little about Roy Harper aside from his vocal contribution on Pink Floyd's Have A Cigar and that Led Zeppelin named a track after him.

After hearing this release for the first time it was safe to day that Stormcock did in fact made a lot more sense. The music I heard was indeed Prog Folk with four compositions all stretched out to 7+ minute format. But my biggest discovery with this album was that it finally made me understand how Jethro Tull managed to achieve their classic album Thick As A Brick. To me it's obvious that Ian Anderson and the band were very much inspired by this album since they certainly borrowed a lot of their style from Roy Harper's performance. This doesn't mean that they completely ripped off this album but instead put their own unique spin on the ideas that were addressed on Stormcock. After all, this album never sounds like a band effort which is something that Jethro Tull really delivered on with their take.

The music on Stormcock is very mellow and while Harper's vocal style takes it many different directions the general mood generally stays the same all throughout the album. The combination of excellent musicianship with magnificent material makes it difficult for me to make any real distinctions between the tops and bottoms of this album. To me it's the opening Hors d'Oeuvres and closing Me And My Woman that make the highest impact even though The Same Old Rock is really not far behind. This is also the track that has inspired Thick As A Brick the most. Some of the melodies are almost carbon copies of Roy Harper's work and Jimmy Page's guitar work adds an interesting new side to the overall sound. One Man Rock And Roll is possibly the only track that, in my opinion, doesn't deserve the 7+ minute treatment since it looses its momentum 2/3:s into the track. It would definitely have made more sense to me if this track was shortened down to a 4 minute format while giving more space to the follow-up performance of Me And My Woman that I never can get enough even though I have 13 minutes of it!

Roy Harper's Stormcock definitely deserves the attention that it has received so far and hopefully more fans of Jethro Tull's Thick As A Brick and Prog Folk in general would give it a go. Great work from an artist at the hight of his career!

***** star songs: Hors d'Oeuvres (8:37) Me And My Woman (13:01)

**** star songs: The Same Old Rock (12:24) One Man Rock And Roll (7:23)

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars Stormcock is great addition to any prog, folk or classic rock collection, if for no other reason than to hear the musical apex of the man who earned the highest respect of the members of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and other legends. Harper gave them an example of independent spirit and musical inspiration that they did not have within them, and Stormcock is one of the better albums I have heard of the folk genre; however, with a caveat, as there are definitely moments where Stormcock moves past folk and into progressive territory.

The folk: Hors d'Oeuvres and One Man Rock & Roll Band. The former is a decent folky song that probably does not have 8 minutes' worth of interesting musical ideas, but it's a good table-setter. The latter is a step up musically, with a loping, bluesy feel, and a riff that sounds great on the 12 string. I can also hear some clear Led Zeppelin similarities here as well.

The prog: Me and My Woman, and Same Old Rock. Both of these extended numbers are of the highest quality in my opinion. Here the music lives up to quality of Harper's lyrics, and both are also extremely well-paced. Me and My Woman has a dark feel throughout, from Harper's low delivery in the opening, to the aggressive guitar scratching toward the end, to the longing strings interspersed throughout. Same Old Rock may be my favorite folksy song of all time, with what could be a folk anthem toward the middle, and then exploding into a series of brilliant musical ideas, from Harper's overdubbed oohh and aahh-ing over tambourine to the sublime dueling 12-string outtro. Just fantastic!

Not quite a masterpiece due to the shorter tunes, but a very solid album throughout, and with some very, very high points during the extended pieces. A great addition to just about any music collection!

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Damn it, I wanted to be careful and as objective as possible about this record, but seems like it's not possible. Maybe because of how good this album is, therefore my 5 star ratings would be justified.

Nevermind. This album caught my eye by its very high rating. I thought that it's one of these not well known (and if it is, then only by fans, who are usually not that critical), but how wrong I was. I had to understand this mystery, but my conclusion is: This album is perfect. Such crude statement states it all. It's weird, but it does.

Guitar, that's the main thing here. So many wonderful positions to which you can bend guitar sound, so many warm tones. Of course, there are other instruments, but they're only accompanying g. And of course, Roy Harpers vocals, can't forgot to mention his voice, because it has lion's share on whole impression.

5(-), this will left you wondering how the hell you got into listening this, but you will be happy.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars While i'm far from being a fan of Folk music I can't deny that this is one of the classics. Released in 1971 this is considered to be Roy's high water mark. Harper certainly had his fans and that included many musicians. LED ZEPPELIN would name a song after him on their "III" album called "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper" while PINK FLOYD would bring him in to sing on "Have A Cigar" from their "Wish You Were Here" record. Kate Bush,THE WHO and many others have pointed to him as an influence. Whenever you see quotation marks (other than around the song titles) i'm quoting from the article on this album in the Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine. "Stormcock" seems like an odd title to an album doesn't it ? Apparently this came from "The Mistle Thrush, whose habit of singing into the teeth of a gale offered Roy Harper what he thought was a suitable analogy for his own career". "He emerged from London's Boho Folk circuit of the 60's as a singer-songwriter of alarming intensity, motored by a terminal mistrust of authority and an inalienable belief in everyone's basic right to individual freedom.While other folkies were protesting the Vietnam War, Harper was railing against deeper society ills... "Shaped by a traumatic early life-a fanatically religious step-mother, homelessness, prison, a spell in a mental institution-his music avoided the easy route too." This album touches on several subjects."There were savage attacks on war, the judicial system, rock critics and religious dogma, among other things, alongside an anguished plea to save the planet".Jimmy Page plays acoustic guitar on one track while David Bedford adds some organ and orchestration.

"Hors D'Oeuvers" is a rant against both the judicial system and rock critics of the day. Mostly acoustic guitars and vocals. We do get some backing vocal melodies before 3 minutes. "The Same Old Rock" is the anti-religion song although Harper says it's not that specific but "a discourse on the constrictive nature of any kind of dogmatic institution you care to name". Jimmy Page plays on this track.This is Harper's personal favourite from this album. "Jimmy is so intuative", he explains "He finds things he can identify with and that's what he did on that song. It was just an atmosphere he created and is one of those things you just remember forever in your life. Jimmy elevated it into something else entirely"."It's an astonishing piece of work all around, both men spinning soundwebs as complex as they are complimentary".

"One Man Rock And Roll" "is both a meditation on the madness of war and the peace movement's propensity for breaking out into full scale riots". "Me And My Woman" has orchestration that comes and goes throughout from David Bedford. Bedford says this is "like an opera"."The themes and basic riff keep recurring". It's a song about Roy's ex wife but also the enviroment.

If your a Folk fan this is a must but even if your not that big a fan of that style you need to check this out.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Hardly progressive folk, Stormcock consists of four extended folk tunes. The songs are as long as they are because the music serves as a foundation for numerous lines of lyrics (that more or less maintain the same melody). While Roy Harper has an okay singer-songwriter voice, I don't enjoy his occasional caterwauling. The falsetto isn't very good. Fans of folk or acoustic music in general will enjoy this album, but Stormcock might not prove interesting enough for the typical progressive rock lover.

"Hors d'Oeuvres" Using a simple descending bass note chord progression, the opener mostly consists of repetitive acoustic guitar and intermittent howling, including lyrical clichés ("Well you can lead a horse to water, but you're never going to make him drink").

"The Same Old Rock" The second song is more layered than the overly simple first one, offering dark twelve-string and six-string interactions. Perhaps the most interesting tune on the album (even if it retains the repetitive element of plainness), the first half is performed in a light major key, while the second half is murkier, with coatings of ominous vocalizations and percussion.

"One Man Rock and Roll" Harper offers another minimalistic song featuring acoustic guitar and his distinctive vocals. It's the most forgettable track.

"Me and My Woman" Light resonant singing and acoustic guitar open the final song of this folky quartet. The fingerpicking is the best here, and the light saxophone beneath the vocal is a welcome addition, as are the strings. However, the falsetto is at its worst.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars You can leave your hat on!

This album is considered to be something of a classic of its subgenre on this site, sitting alongside some of the most highly regarded albums by Jethro Tull and Strawbs in the Prog Folk top list. But while the (best) music of Tull and Strawbs is progressive Rock with Folk elements, Roy Harper's Stormcock is acoustic Folk music with little or no traces of Rock (despite the fact that according to one of the song titles Harper sees himself as a "one man Rock 'n' Roll band"). What we have here is basically four extended Folk tunes, strongly dominated by acoustic guitar and lead vocals. Harper's vocals are rather weak and anonymous to my ears. His voice reminds me slightly of that of Al Stewart, but Stewart's voice is stronger and more distinctive.

The presence of any other instruments is very subtle and discrete. As, such the nature of this music is rather minimalistic and monotonous. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin guests on the album, but his presence too is very discrete. The members of Led Zeppelin were reportedly impressed by Harper's music and even made a song in tribute of him called Hats Off To (Roy) Harper. Personally, I find it all rather one-dimensional and monotonous. The songs - even though extended far beyond your average acoustic Folk song - are not particularly progressive as such. And frankly, I find them rambling and lacking in melodic content.

I have given this album several chances and I guess I have to conclude that this is just not my cup of tea. I thus cannot really recommend it. I am familiar with one other album by Harper that I liked more, 1975's HQ. That one was a lot more interesting and diverse and more Rock oriented. Stormcock is not a terrible experience, it just fails to leave any mark on this reviewer.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Roy Harper's Stormcock consists of a mere four extended tracks, and most of its running time offers the man and his guitar unaccompanied (with a few interventions from other instruments here and there, particularly on closing track Me and My Woman which benefits from some tasteful arrangements by David Bedford). Despite this the album never feels sparse or minimalistic, and Harper's song structures don't outstay their welcome either, working in enough progressive inventiveness that they are able to sustain their baroque charms over their full running times. Led Zeppelin fans will be interested to know that Jimmy Page guests here, though he doesn't make his presence felt that much.
Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Usually I try to write useful reviews and I try to explain a bit of the album in question or at least give my impressions about the music I listened to. With Roy Harper's fifth album, Stormcock (1971), is almost impossible for me to do so.

This is a kind of music that gets me in a way that is hard to put in words. 4 tracks, basically Roy his guitar and his voice. There are some guests and some fantastic overdubs but they're not the main reason to listen this album.

The way the melodies go on in a hypnotic way make you think how you actually got this little amazing gem get past you all this years??

They say better late than never and I couldn't agree more. It is music for the soul rather than music for the brain (as usualy is with Progressive Rock) and if you open your soul to it you can put this album and forget about the world for 40 minutes. And for me, that's all that really matters!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Stormcock is an unusual folk album for the fact that it has only four songs and that they are all performed, for the most part, by one artist (no offense, David BEDFORD and Jimmy PAGE). Roy and his engineering/production team are quite creative and adventurous with their rendering of background, support, and incidental musical support throughout the album, but moreso, on Side 2, with the heavy "Donovan-warble" effects placed upon Roy's voice and on he and Jimmy's guitars on 3. "One Man Rock and Roll Band" (7:23) (9/10) and on the album's highpoint, the haunting multi-faceted suite, 4. "Me and My Woman" (13:01) (10/10). (Did I mention how brilliant David Bedford is?) Despite this discrepancy between Side 2 and Side 1, Side 1 is still very good. The opener, "Hors d'oeuvres" (8:37) relies on Roy's DONOVAN-like voice dirging over a very repetitive foundation of two guitars riffing the same riffs over and over for the entire song. At the 3:00 mark background "choir" of mulit-tracked, heavily treated voices (all sounding like those of Roy, himself) begin accompanying the guitars and lead vocal. Around 4:30 an organ joins in the accompaniment in the background followed by an electric guitar solo in the final 45 seconds--after the vocal has ended. The song is also quite notable for the 5:50 point at which Roy acknowledges--in the very lyrics that he is singing--that his lyrics will most likely prevent the song from ever seeing radio play. (9/10) 2. "The Same Old Rock" (12:25) must rely more on its lyrical content for its appeal cuz, up until the 6:50 mark, I find it quite boring. (8/10) A fairly recent discovery for me, I liked it immediately and like the way increasing familiarity has helped it to grow even more in my esteem. Definitely a four star album, maybe even worthy of five.
Review by friso
2 stars Roy Harper's 'Folkjokeopus' from '69 is one of my favorite folkrock albums and I expected the celebrated 'Stormcock' to be at least halve as mind-piercingly energetic as that energy you find on songs like 'She's the One' and 'McGoohan's Blues'. I was quite surprised to find four low-energy songs that drag on endlessly. No arrangements, no band, no variation, nothing particularly psychedelic or progressive, no mad performances by Harper. The sharp and harsh recording sound isn't that good either. Roy Harper has never been a very subtle or technical singer and without his eccentric enthusiasm he's just mediocre, to the point of singing out of tune way too much for my taste. Perhaps this is an extraordinary singer/songwriter album of sorts, but after listening to it a couple of times I had to restrain myself from lifting the needle and putting on something else. I like nothing about this record and I just can't get my head around how people might actually prefer it over 'Folkjokeopus'. I guess that without knowledge of its legacy (which can't be denied), I would have given this album a single star.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Objectively, Roy Harper's masterpiece (although he preferred HQ personally). Perhaps the only totally consistent Roy Harper album with no bad tracks (it only has 4). It's just him in the main, with some help from Jimmy Page on "The Same old Rock", and some light orchestration from Peter Jenner o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1699914) | Posted by poet3434 | Friday, March 10, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of the greatest albums of all time. Forget that it's a folk record, or a rock record, or a prog record. It's a masterpiece from begin to end. Hor D'oerves is a song Roy Harper described in interviews as being lightweight. Compared with what came in the last 3 songs, that might be ... (read more)

Report this review (#1699480) | Posted by moorw003 | Wednesday, March 8, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Folk music is a genre as time-weathered as the most ancient forms of music out there. It's spanned generations at yet never faced a particular decline. Sure, the 20th century beckoned innovation left and right, such as the inception of jazz and rock as a pop culture medium. These genres, even th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1676830) | Posted by aglasshouse | Friday, January 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a long time Harper fan, Stormcock is an incredibly frustrating album to me. It remains rooted, by Harper's own volition, in a purist folk asthetic that Harper was dead set against abandoning at that time, and I feel the album suffers because of it. Harper is indeed the uncompromising a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1433432) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If you'd only heard one of Roy's albums before, and enjoyed it, and then you sought out his 'biggest' work, what are your expectations? This was the quandry that confronted me. The reality is, that the style is so very similar to that performed on the album 'Jugla', that I failed to find the ... (read more)

Report this review (#846159) | Posted by sussexbowler | Sunday, October 28, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Given the high rates of this album, I went to hear him: I was very disappointed, I honestly do not understand what's so nice and progressive in this music. Only acoustic guitar and vocals, the presence of Page is not enough to raise the quality; the melodies are not memorable, the tone of voic ... (read more)

Report this review (#462072) | Posted by prog61 | Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm glad to see this album up on the top 100 list, it definitely deserves to be there. The acoustic medleys on this album are all spectacular and the poetry is very pretty as well. The track that features Jimmy Page as the second guitarist "The Same Old Rock" is one of my favorite songs of all time. ... (read more)

Report this review (#459572) | Posted by ThickAsProg | Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's hard not to rave about this album, but it really does deserve the high ratings and glowing reviews. A thoughtful record, it's one of Roy Harper's creative peaks. Everything is just so well-executed. Harper's voice is expressive and dexterous, his guitar playing is inspired and exceeds the ... (read more)

Report this review (#453003) | Posted by dreadpirateroberts | Saturday, May 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Not only was the legendary folk singer immortalized by led zeppelin in the song "hats off to (roy) harper"; he also sang lead vocals on the pink floyd track "have a cigar" featured on the album "wish you were here". roy harper's angelic voice and incendiary guitar work make for an explosive co ... (read more)

Report this review (#281071) | Posted by philGab | Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Roy Harper's unique body of work, along with that of John Martyn's, provides a great litmus test for thinking about the land where prog and folk meet. It is customary to begin with Harper's links to the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, who hired and cited him respectively (add to this Jimm ... (read more)

Report this review (#246060) | Posted by questionsneverknown | Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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