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Roy Harper

Prog Folk

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Roy Harper HQ [Aka: When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease] album cover
3.55 | 55 ratings | 8 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Game, Pts. 1-5 (13:42)
2. The Spirit Lives (4:14)
3. Grown Ups Are Just Silly Children (2:55)
4. Referendum (Legend) (3:49)
5. Forget Me Not (2:24)
6. Hallucinating Light (6:24)
7. When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease (7:13)

Total time 40:41

Bonus tracks on 1995 CD release:
8. The Spirit Lives (Early mix 1975-03-23) (4:37)
9. When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease (Live 1977-10-31 Exeter) (7:52)
10. Hallucinating Light (Single acoustic version) (7:33)

Line-up / Musicians

- Roy Harper / vocals, acoustic guitar

- Chris Spedding / lead guitar
- Dave Cochran / bass guitar
- Bill Bruford / drums
- David Gilmour / lead guitar (1)
- John Paul Jones / bass guitar (1)
- Steve Broughton / drums (1)
- The Grimethorpe Colliery Band / brass (7)
- David Bedford / brass band arrangements (7)
- Ray Warleigh / sax

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Po Powell (photo)

LP Harvest ‎- SHSP 4046 (1975, UK)
LP Chrysalis ‎- CHR 1105 (1975, US) Re-entitled "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease" with new cover art

CD Science Friction - HUCD019 (1995, UK) Remastered, with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ROY HARPER HQ [Aka: When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease] ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ROY HARPER HQ [Aka: When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease] reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi

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.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Backed by his band Trigger, HQ marked the most rock orientated album by Roy Harper. Surrounded by excellent musicians such as Bill Bruford, John Paul Jones and Chris Spedding, Harper delivers a great all round album in 1975. IMHO the peak of the classic progressive rock period and for Harper too. ' The Game' is a great piece as is the now famous ' When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease'. Other noteworthy tracks are ' allucinating Light' and ' The Spirit Lives'. Three and a half solid stars for this effort.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars renamed When An Old Cricketter Leaves The Crease. Not my fave; but for progheads certainly the album with most interest. Gilmour and JP Jones and Steve Broughton play on it and the backing Trigger group includes Spedding (Nucleus) and Bill Bruford. This is a full-blown rock album with some progressive twists (with such a line-up, how could it not be?), but I have a tough time digesting it. About as intricate as a game of Cricket, which is the guiding line of this thematic album. A second album was recorded with the group Trigger, Commercial Break but not released until much later. HQ, Prog? Yes, but this is relatively dense and obtuse and acute at the same time. Actually I cannot help but be disappointed by the album given its promising line-up.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Hats Off To (Roy) Harper

Released in 1975, HQ is something of a landmark album for the legendary Roy Harper. Not only does it boast a fascinating line up of rock musicians from the period, but it also contains the best song Harper ever wrote. Bill Bruford, David Gilmour and Dave Cochran are just three of the major players here, the album unusually (for Harper) having a distinct band feel. Indeed, "HQ" is strictly speaking by a one shot band called Trigger. The core of the band is Harper, Cochrane and Bruford plus noted session guitarist Chris ("Motorbikin'") Spedding, the other artists making sometimes brief guest appearances, mainly on "The game".

We open with what is arguably Roy's most progressive song, the 13+ minute, 5 part "The game". The song weaves its way through the full range of Harper's styles, his vocals often being multi-tracked. The lyrics cover a number of topics, at times being vaguely reminiscent of the style of "Thick as brick". There is little space for instrumentals as such, the band clearly revolves around Harper.

After this monster sized opener, we find ourselves into a succession of four more orthodox Harper songs. He reverts to his long held opinions on religion for "The spirit lives", a hard hitting straight rock number. The song segues straight into "Grown ups are just silly children", the lightest track on the album. The rhythm is based on a retro blues rock style, Harper doing a Buddy Holly/Elvis impression of sorts.

"Referendum (Legend)" sees Roy initially reverting to a slightly more acoustic style before Spedding's guitar restores the rock mood which prevails through most of the album. The song has a bit of a Strawbs feel to it, Harper's narration being reminiscent of the style of Dave Cousins. The brief "Forget me not" has a Lennon feel, the simple acoustic nature of the track softening the mood for the remainder of the album. "Hallucinating light" continues the reflective style, the vocals at time being barely audible despite the sparse instrumentation.

It is though the last track on the album which is the pinnacle of Harper's illustrious career. "When an old cricketer leaves the crease" is a magnificently atmospheric reflection on passing on. Harper gives a remarkable vocal performance as he uses a sporting analogy to pass gentle observation on a sensitive topic. The Grimethrope Colliery Band add a beautiful brass backing to the song, never intrusive but capable of bringing a tear to a glass eye. If you only ever hear one song by Harper, make sure it is this one.

In all, a fine album by Harper, which blends a harder rock style with his traditional acoustic pictures. Roy himself opines that this is the best album he ever made. Who am I to argue with that?

The rather bizarre sleeve has an image of Harper (looking a bit like the Messiah) apparently walking on water.

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Finally following up on a comment that I'd made to Sean Trane when Harper came into PA, here's the first (and only) album that I've picked up. Much expectation, followed by repeated listens waiting for the lighting. To no avail. First the vocals - on some songs , I swear I hear echoes of John Lennon in his mellow moments. In other places, I believe that David Gilmour would have made a good choice to bring him in as a replacement for Roger Waters for Floyd The opener comes across as a Who acoustic rocker from Who's Next. Come to the mid point, and then some prog pops up. Mellow acoustic, with Gilmour playing fills in the background. It then resumes its' rock riff at the 10 minute mark and rides it to the end. Good start, if not what I expected from Harper. Grown Ups is a very basic rocker. Nicely played, but unless the lyrics catch you , it's nothing more (Grown ups are just silly children, anybody can see) Referendum is a hard rocker, tempered with acoustic verses. The Strawbs reference is apt, but without the keyboards or the more dense sound that the Strawbs usually brought to their heavier numbers. Forget me Not is a nice acoustic number that wouldn't have been out of place on Zep's Physical Graffiti - some sonic treatments to the guitar, but nothing more. Hallucinating Light starts off, and I'm at first reminded of ELP's Lucky Man. IF it was played by VDGG. An Old Cricketeer - well , here's the one that really made me think of Roger Waters singing, especially on the acoustic numbers from Animals. Indeed, the song could have fit in there.

In all, the record is decent. But it isn't the one where Harper would have gained any prog credentials from me. And given all the talent involved, it makes me wonder why it didn't come out stronger. And strangely, for his reputed quirkiness/uniqueness, the lasting impression is that too many spots brought me back to other artists music. So this LP will make its' way back to Spin-It as trade for something else.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars As it happens this is the first album I actually got to own by the esteemed Roy Harper and I acquired it just a few weeks ago. I have been familiar with the man for some time, though, and have been listening to "Stormcock" on and off over the last years. I have, however, never really fallen for the man, no matter how much I have wanted it. I love prog folk and especially of british origin. My difficulties as regarding Roy Harper is thus quite a mystery.

I have always had a good eye towards HQ. I don't know why. It has always been there, fascinating me, although I barely listened to it. It was not until I read some reviews, when I was about to purchase it, I finally came into owning it.

The reviewers seem strangely coherent in their various judgements, that "When an old cricketer leaves the crease" is the absolute high point of the entire album. I agree. I could not agree any more than that. As a result of me being in agreement I will concur but return later to this specific track.

The album starts off with "The game", which is a riff driven monster of a song, clocking in at 13.42. Though not all that varied, it still keeps the pace and my attention. "The game" is like a marathon of hard rock and as suh keeps me amused throughout. I will not stand for the calypso (or whatever it is) section. I have come to accept it's being but I do not have to like it. All in all a good track.

The following two songs, "The spirit lives" and "Grown ups are just silly children", I could skip any day. The latter being some sort of 50's styled rock'n'roll. I do not approve. Let's move on.

The three tracks following are good songs. "Referendum" is yet again hard rock and really good. Not overly progressive but good. "Forget me not" and "Hallucinating light" is back to the folk and pleases me in every way. Really nice tunes.

And then there it is. The prize. "When an old cricketer leaves the crease". What an amazing track. Glorious! Being a nutter for the british isles I cannot contain myself. The solemn, quiet, peaceful, reflective, slightly sad atmosphere is for me the perfect interpretation of ye olde England in the first half of the last century. I don't know whether my interpretation of the song is correct and frankly I don't care. The feeling the song gives me is truly mesmerizing. And when the brass band kicks in... I melt like butter in a frying pan. This is music to die for, music to pass the day with and music to feel. Superb!

Conclusion: HQ is a mix of styles and in the end quality. Some things are brilliant, others great and a few songs I could easily have lived without. Still, as a whole HQ offers a varied blend of progressive rock with deep roots in folk and that is by God not a bad acievement. I will award this album four stars but I do it slightly hesitant. The fact that "When an old cricketer leaves the crease" ends the album, making my whole existence shine like a thousand stars and my inner being overwhelmed by it's soothing sounds I cannot act otherwise. Four stars and hats off to (Roy) Harper.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A question of balance. A review of Harper's venerated folk-art album Stormcock seems remiss to me without a review of Harper's most blatant rock album HQ, which followed a few years later. Harper didn't immediately jump on the hard rock train after Stormcock, the albums Lifemask and Valen ... (read more)

Report this review (#1438053) | Posted by SteveG | Wednesday, July 8, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars HQ probably isn't the first release one should get from Roy Harper, but you'll want it sooner or later if you decide Harper is your cup of tea. For me, the first side of the album is something I normally skip. However, the last 3 songs on the second side rank among his greatest songs. "Forget ... (read more)

Report this review (#247043) | Posted by jude111 | Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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