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ROY HARPER

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Roy Harper biography
Roy Harper was born in Manchester, UK in 1941.In the mid sixties Roy Harper played guitar and sang at the Les Cousin folk club and came into contact with artists like Nick Drake. Harper's teenage years were pretty erratic to say the least with discharge from the military for ' insanity' reasons. This was an early indicator of his erratic and somewhat hard define, career in music. Throughout the years Roy Harper constantly refused to be controlled by record companies which earned a huge amount of respect from his peers.

His first solo album was released in 1966, The Sophisticated Beggar and by 1970 he had met up with Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner and signed to the EMI label. Roy Harper's music can be best defined as progressive folk, but as his work is so varied there are many instances where his music transgressed these genre confinements. He worked alongside greats like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, The Nice, Kate Bush and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

In 1971 Roy Harper released what critics and fans regard as his best work, Stormcock. In 1980 Harper left the EMI label after The Commercial Break release and started his own label. He again returned to EMI briefly in 1986 only again to reform his own label but continues to record and play to this present day ably assisted by his son Nick Harper. Roy Harper is also recognised for his vocal contribution on ' Have A Cigar'off Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here release.

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StormcockStormcock
Import
Science Friction 1999
Audio CD$59.36
$11.97 (used)
HqHq
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$8.34
$18.98 (used)
Flashes From the Archives of OblivionFlashes From the Archives of Oblivion
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$8.54
$17.19 (used)
JugulaJugula
Import
Science Friction 1995
Audio CD$8.54
$6.66 (used)
BullinamingvaseBullinamingvase
Import
Science Friction 2001
Audio CD$8.54
$21.44 (used)
Live at Metropolis Studios LondonLive at Metropolis Studios London
Import
SALVO 2012
Audio CD$9.63
$9.62 (used)
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ROY HARPER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ROY HARPER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 21 ratings
Sophisticated Beggar
1966
2.41 | 15 ratings
Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith
1967
3.92 | 27 ratings
Folkjokeopus
1969
3.58 | 29 ratings
Flat Baroque And Berserk
1970
3.98 | 151 ratings
Stormcock
1971
3.73 | 30 ratings
Lifemask
1973
3.53 | 39 ratings
HQ
1975
2.96 | 23 ratings
Bullinamingvase (One Of Those Days In England)
1977
3.00 | 11 ratings
The Unknown Soldier
1980
3.25 | 8 ratings
Work Of Heart
1982
2.86 | 7 ratings
Born In Captivity
1985
3.75 | 23 ratings
Roy Harper & Jimmy Page: Whatever Happened To Jugula?
1985
2.83 | 6 ratings
Descendants of Smith (aka Garden of Uranium)
1988
3.83 | 9 ratings
once
1990
3.67 | 9 ratings
Death Or Glory
1992
2.65 | 8 ratings
The Dream Society
1998
4.25 | 11 ratings
The Green Man
2001
3.73 | 16 ratings
Man & Myth
2013

ROY HARPER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 9 ratings
Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion
1974
2.00 | 3 ratings
In Between Every Line
1986
3.13 | 6 ratings
Unhinged
1994
2.00 | 1 ratings
Live At Les Cousins
1996

ROY HARPER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ROY HARPER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 11 ratings
Valentine
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
1970-1975
1978
2.25 | 4 ratings
Loony On The Bus
1988
3.03 | 5 ratings
Hats Off
2001
3.91 | 3 ratings
Counter Culture
2005
4.92 | 3 ratings
Songs of Love and Loss
2011

ROY HARPER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Short And Sweet (featuring David Gilmour)
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Playing Games (featuring David Gilmour)
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Roy Harper & Jimmy Page: Elizabeth
1985

ROY HARPER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stormcock by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.98 | 151 ratings

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Stormcock
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

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.

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 Bullinamingvase (One Of Those Days In England) by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.96 | 23 ratings

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Bullinamingvase (One Of Those Days In England)
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars Prog Folk: a progressive rock subgenre. At least as defined by Prog Archives. But it amazes me that few grasp exactly what this infers, even with PA's definition. It's simply what it claims to be, a combination of progressive rock and folk rock.

And few albums better exhibit this musical hybrid than Bullinamigvase (Bull-in-a-ming-vase) by Roy Harper, alternately titled One Of Those Days In England due to it's fantastic multipart suite like song of the same name.

Bullinamingvase was recorded at Harper's UK home in Hereford with Studer tape machines borrowed from Abby Road along with talented producer/engineer John Leckie. One Of Those Days In England Part l is a sweet but short album opener that features Paul McCartney and Wings on backing vocals and never hints at the poetic and deeper topic of it's longer multi part album closer that containing Parts ll-X and features juxtaposed soft and harder rocking sections with acoustic slide guitar, electric lead, piano accompaniment and a brief but dramatic string and harp backing score. The song is very Anglo centric and is a celebration by Harper of the history and myths of Great Britain, while simultaneously commenting on the modern realities of the then ruling Thatcher government, unemployment and union/labor problems, IRA terrorism and possible anarchist terrorism. Harper acknowledges 'a sword in every lake' and King Alfred the Great while he satirizes terrorists who want to 'plant a bomb in the street to change law and order and when we've killed all those who resisted the call, we'll discover a brand new wall at the border.'

The key to the catchy melodicism of these suite like songs is Harper finally combining his past overtly acoustic folk songs with the extremely harsh and strident hard rock of his last album H.Q. Equal parts soft and hard rock with polished hooks sells the material as does his brilliant combination of acoustic guitar leads, played by Harper and Andy Roberts before switching gears to a hard rocking vocal and electric guitar assault by Henry McCullough and Alvin Lee, supported by a deft rhythm section on the outstanding ode to romantic rejection Cherishing The Lonesome.

Harper switches gears again for a sublime commentary on failed marriage on Naked Flame which combines more deft acoustic guitar work with the legendary BJ Cole supplanting the music with gorgeous but non intrusive pedal steel guitar leads. The upbeat music is a great contrast to Harper commenting that 'lawyers now lurk where lovers one kissed'.

If there's any downside to Bullinamingvase, its that residents of countries like America cannot fully comprehend the "Englishness' of Harper's lyrics at times. But we all can't live in the UK after all.

Bullinamingvase's excellently recorded, mixed and mastered sound helps push this album into the 'must have' prog category of 5 star albums.

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 Flat Baroque And Berserk by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.58 | 29 ratings

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Flat Baroque And Berserk
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Folk, straight up with a prog chaser.

That's the best way I can describe Flat Baroque and Berserk to someone that's never heard it. There's little folk prog on this album and nothing terribly complicated, but that was the point. FBaB was Harper claiming a solid stake in the folk music world before it's appeal was forever lost to time. Unlike his British contemporaries who took acoustic folk into the world of jazz, blues, middle eastern, Indian, Moroccan and pseudo Elizabethan influences, traditional English folk, along with a 1001 alternate guitar tunings, Harper wears his American folk influences on his sleeve and owes more to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan in both song structure and lyrical styles at times.

The lead off track Don't You Grieve is a goof on the lyrics to the Guthrie folk tune Sally Don't You Grieve, but with Roy consoling good old Judas Iscariot, as it was he that had to do the dirty work in order to achieve salvation for mankind. I'm sure that this song is a nod to Nikos Kazantzakis too.

I Hate The White Man is Harper at his socially political best as he lambasts the effects of past white colonization on much of the under developed world and also to Harper's long standing grudge with the apartheid policies that were in place at that time in South Africa. The tune is catchy, but it's over the top in a way that the late Phil Ochs would hit injustices square on the head with very little nuance, but it sounds as sincere as anything ever written and sung by Ochs.

Feeling All the Saturday and Good Bye are poems from Harper's head placed into air with catchy acoustic strums and a vocal delivery that now sounds assured and steady as Harper has dropped the near falsetto that marred sections of Folkjokeopus, the fantastic sprawling epic that was released just one year earlier.

Where we get to the highlights of this album starts with the sublime and ethereal Another Day, which has more gentle acoustic strumming by Roy, but with a magnificent string score by David Bedford that places the listener squarely in the reminiscing and extremely moving frame of mind of Harper, as he recants an old flame that has come to him with the regret that she never had one of his children. Another Day is nothing less than a standard barer for the nascent 'singer songwriter' genre that would soon emerge with the likes for James Taylor and Cat Stevens. Both of whom would shorty go on to produce songs to match Another Day in emotional content, but never bettering it. It is simply one of Harper's finest recorded achievements.

East Of the Sun and Tom Tiddler's Ground both owe a heavy debt to Dylan lyrically as they are both suggestive and metaphorical, but with great accompaniment by harmonica and recorder, respectively, and are also album highlights.

Song Of The Ages sounds just like what it's title implies. It's a beautiful ballad with a harp accompaniment that's played in unison to Roy's gentle guitar lead notes and arpeggios. As with all songs on the album, Harper's vocals are another instrument that accompanies the songs.

The brief Francesca is a thank you from Harper to a free loving woman who has left him, and the subtext of love free of entanglement and guilt is prevalent in many of the songs on Flat Baroque and Berserk, as it seems that the English people were still trying to shake off the well engrained decades old Victorian morals that permeated that era.

Just incase the average rock listener has had an overdose of folk, Harper teams up with The Nice and performs a seven minute bombastic ode to living by one's own rules inside of society on album closer Hell's Angels. Partly filler, the song does rock out with Harper even playing some very good electric guitar in an enthusiastic take that must have been as fun as it sounds. Clappy's to Keith Emerson and company for not disappointing and helping to end the album with a great prog tune.

Flat Baroque and Berserk, if not a high watermark for Harper, is certainly the anchor where his former recorded work led to and where all his future efforts were launched from, including the heralded Stromcock album which followed one year later. While not technically a progressive rock album, I give FBaB the highest possible score that can be awarded to a non prog album, 4 stars.

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 The Unknown Soldier by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.00 | 11 ratings

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The Unknown Soldier
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars Trapped in time.

A common occurrence for many albums recorded in the late seventies, and practically all of the eighties, for a number of reasons that include a trend to bend toward the current pop styles of the day, instrumentation, recording technics and record company interference in order to promote a more 'attractive' product to their consumers.

The Unknown Soldier is one of Harper's slickest sounding albums that veers away from straight up prog folk and finds an array of musical styles that at times incorporate a distinctive Floydian influence on three of album's best songs, The Flycatcher, You and a reworked version, of his co-written song with David Gilmour, titled Short And Sweet from Gilmour's first solo album.

They are among the best tracks on the album with The Flycatcher displaying an eerie violin accompaniment written by David Bedford, while special guest Gilmour graces You with his majestic guitar. You is also a duet with the incomparable Kate Bush, another long time friend and fan of Harper. Short And Sweet features the caustic six chord opening riff found on the Gilmour version, but Roy's rearrangement features a galloping bass line and dramatic swirling strings in the song's instrumental middle section that gives the song an epic feel that Gilmour's version only hinted at.

Harper is a great vocalist and handles all of the vocals, usually overdubbed in the choruses, extremely well and is quite actually another instrument on this album.

Where the album starts to go flat is with the songs Playing Games, First Thing In The Morning, and Ten Years Ago which employ new wave-ish Yamaha synths that are supplemented with Gilmour like guitar from Andy Roberts. This is acceptable ear candy to me, but where the album really fails is that it's totally solo acoustic title track sounds like one of Harper's known for throwaway pieces and lacks the gravitas of either a song that connotes such serious subject matter, or frankly, as a song used for an album title track. This is stark contrast to album's chilling cover photo of a real skeleton taken at a war memorial site in France.

Anyone familiar with the ways of Roy Harper will know that Roy has a sweet spot for this album based on the extensive babbling liner notes that he wrote for the CD reissue. The only other album to receive this level of attention was the Dream Society released in 1998. The Unknown Soldier was an album that, I guess, Roy consciously made to be either a hit or to at least sound contemporary. He failed at achieving guess number one, but this album's style of music and sound production ensure that he achieved guess number two. 3.5 stars as it's still a worthy early period Harper album that fans should own.

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 Sophisticated Beggar by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1966
3.44 | 21 ratings

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Sophisticated Beggar
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars "Time is a flat circle."

So said the Nietzsche inspired cop on the first brilliant series of the HBO serial True Detective, referring to Nietzsche's theory that time repeats itself. If that's true, then Roy Harper's albums would form a perfect circle of his work.

Harper is one of the few recording artists that I know of that has an readily identifiable style and an almost unwavering commitment to quality that has never been commercially compromised. At least not intentionally.

Harper's debut album, Sophisticated Beggar, shows Harper armed with an arsenal of well composed songs and a couple of guest spots from His Les Cousins' club buddies John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. Or so it's rumored as Harper never states it clearly due to record label hassles, which was common place in that era.

The lead off track China Girl starts off with the familiar opening riff heard on David Bowie's hit song of the same name. A brief homage perhaps, as Harper's tune turns immediately into an acoustic folk song with strange disembodied backwards tape sounds bracketing the choruses. A wonderful start before heading into the folkie reflective Goldfish, before the great title track that sounds exactly like the great Renbourn tossing some incendiary blues based acoustic leads from the speaker's left channel.

Big Fat Silver Aeroplane is Harper at his most cynical and comical self before the awesome Jansch (ahem, rumored) dominated song Blackpool springs forth with spiraling guitar chords and Jansch's abrasive leads and familiar string snaps. More of a mesmerizing instrumental than a song sung by Harper, it's a high point of the album and gives this album the instrumental gravitas that be absent in Harper's next three albums, until Roy teamed up with Page on Stormcock in 1971.

Legend, Girlie, My Friend, and Black Clouds are folk based songs that work given their contrasting emotional tones, music and lyrics.The album falls flat with Mr. Station Master and Committed, which showcase period style rock instrumentation and musically go no where. Both songs are briefly interrupted with Harper's first ever recording of Forever, that was recorded for the Valentine album. Both versions are stellar and it's easy to see that Harper had an emotional connection to this song about enduring love.

Rumored (again) to be recorded in a shed instead of a proper studio, the album is clear as a bell and has wonderful mastering, that much to Harper's chagrin, has a healthy dose of bass EQed into the master, giving this predominantly acoustic album a denser sound than that found on the albums that immediately followed.

Sophisticated Beggar is not as ornate as the following 'Genghis Smith' album, or as progressive as Jokefolkopus , or as good as Flat, Baroque, and Berserk. But its a great starting point to an impressive recording career by the eccentric Mr. H.

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 HQ by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.53 | 39 ratings

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HQ
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

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 Valentine, which were both mostly recorded in the same acoustic vane as Stormcock, followed immediately after it. Lifemask was a mix of both obtuse and clear lyrical imagery by Harper, while Valentine contained some of Harper's most straight forward and understandable lyrics, given that the album was relationship based.

However, for HQ, Harper returns to angst and overlong obtuse verbiage as found on the songs from Stormcock. However, the turn to a hard rock sound gives Harper, finally, a firm musical ground from which he can dissect the ills of the world's people and politics without sounding like he's ranting over a subtle folk song. Rock is angry music and Harper is at home with it.

HQ's leadoff track The Game, with it's insistent riffage from guest guitarist Chris Spedding is beautifully broken by the sublime notes provided by David Gilmour in the song's quiet and meditative meddle section. This is the first song to feature Harper's multi tracked vocals in an ethereal dreamlike sequence that he would go on to perfect in songs on future albums. Harper now is singing in what sounds like a semi tone lower than his earlier records, which helps to remove the shrillness from his vocal delivery.

The core musicians on HQ are King Crimson refugee drummer Bill Bruford, bassist Dave Cockran along with Spedding. Gilmour steps off after The Game and its the Harper and the trio that do the yeomen work on HQ.

The Spirit Lives and Grown Ups Are Just Silly Children are pastiches of American slide guitar blues and Elvis era R&R, respectively, with Harper supplying biting commentaries on the attitudes and actions of politicians.

Referendum is another hard rocking satirical rant with catchy hooks similar to The Game, but less obtuse verbally and, importantly, shorter in length. If Stromcock could have only one unredeemable feature, it would be the length of it's four epic but monotonous songs. Harper avoids that trap on HQ and the album is the better for it.

Hallucinating Light is a dreamy 'live in the studio' run through ballad that Harper decided to keep even though his voice was a little horse on the songs stunning chorus. A brave choice and a wise decision as it's Harper's second best song on the album.

Unsurprisingly, Harper's best song on HQ is the album closer When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease. It's Harper's best known song in his native home of Great Britain and it's a beautiful folk rock homage to his home country that's comes complete with a beautiful brass arrangement by arranger David Bedford. It may well be Harper's finest moment on a record. Anyone who loves the lush orchestrations of the Strawbs' Hero And Heroine album would be right at home listening to this sublime song that features, ironically for this album, just Harper's heartfelt vocals and his acoustic guitar, apart from Bedford's lovely brass score.

Roy Harper is as proud of HQ as he is of Stormcock. I'm just proud to be able to listen to it from time to time. 4 stars.

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 Stormcock by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.98 | 151 ratings

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Stormcock
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

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 artist that was so revered by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, as the album predominately features just Harper's acoustic guitar and (multi tracked) vocals. However, I feel that it's exactly this lack of compromise that roots the album in obtuse Dylanesque lyrics (it difficult for the uninitiated to realize that the song The Same Old Rock is about the evils of organized religion) and a monotonous feeling of sameness. Dare I say it, the man just takes himself too seriously on this outing. The gravitas of this material threatens to pull Stormcock under due to it's shear weight. It's far from a cathartic listening experience because Harper, for example, is focused on telling how bad the world is to a returning soldier, in the song One Man Rock And Roll Band, without ever offering constructive solutions.

Taken within the context of other albums released in 1971 such as Aqualung and Fragile, Stormcock was viewed as an eccentric folk album with "heavy" lyrics, no matter how indecipherable that they were at times.

It's evident to me that Harper was haunted by the ghosts of his contemporaries, such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, of whom he shared a residence in the popular Soho folk club Les Cousins, along with the afore noted Mr. Dylan, who gave up obtuse topical lyric writing some 4-5 years earlier, and that any flight of rock fancy added to Stormcock's music would have simply been an unforgivable act of folk purist betrayal.

It's only guest guitarist Jimmy Page and arranger David Bedford that adds much needed variety and drama to the album and rescues it from it's narcoleptic daze. Page, first, with his stunning coda and guitar interplay with Harper on The Same Old Rock, and then Bedford, by turning album closer Me And My Woman into a stunning finale by injecting the song with a deft mixture of baroque and avant-garde orchestrations that gave this song a much needed cinematic scope that's absent on the opening track Hors d'Oeuvres and the afore mentioned One Man Rock And Roll Band.

The fact these four lengthy and incredibly plodding songs (which make up the album) have an immediate tendency to overstay their welcome is another sign that monotony permeates Stormcock.

Stormcock is an iconic album in the Progressive Rock canon, but one that is certainly cut out for specific listeners. 3 stars.

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 Valentine by HARPER, ROY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1974
3.48 | 11 ratings

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Valentine
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Erroneously listed under compilations and box sets in PA's Roy Harper discography, Valentine may be the summit of Harper's skills as a songwriter and that four of the album's songs are feature on his superb 2012 compilation album Songs Of Love And Loss, the most culled from any Harper album, and are there for a very good reason.

Aside from two Harper commentaries on his feelings towards Women's Lib, which is something along the line of you can't have your cake and eat it too, the other eight of the album's songs are about relationships past and present, and Harper is simply at his zenith when it comes to wearing his heart on his sleeves. The exception being Acapulco Gold in which Harper confesses love to both his lady and weed. Unlike the directness of Harper's 1970 album Flat, Baroque, And Berserk or the metaphorical obtuseness of Harper's material on Stormcock, from 1971, and Life Mask, from 1973, Harper combines the lyrical sensibilities of both styles on Valentine without becoming pretentious.

I'll See You Again and Twelve Hours Of Sunlight are among two of Harper's most potent and engrossing songs. The first about dismissing a lover because his feelings are unrequited and the second deals with longing compounded by a twelve hour flight from Europe to the US at twilight which seems to last an eternity (I know by personal experience) as the never ending day prolongs and compounds the feelings of loneliness and longing for a loved one. The instrumentation on the former is sparse acoustic guitar with multiple and necessary vocal overdubs by Harper, along with a sublime orchestral score by the late David Bedford that deftly combines baroque with a sense of modernism. Bedford's score on Twelve Hours Of Hours Sunset is even better with a string section that evokes both flight and loneliness. He is the album's unsung hero and almost bests himself with another ethereal score for Harper's take on the traditional Girl From The North Country.

There is not much that is blatantly progressive on Valentine, except for what is implied by trying to move folk rock into fresh territory, in which Harper easily succeeds. 4 stars.

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 Live At Les Cousins by HARPER, ROY album cover Live, 1996
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Live At Les Cousins
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

— First review of this album —
2 stars Historical and hysterically funny at times, but not essential.

If you ever wondered where the live take of I Hate The White Man that featured on Harper's the Flat, Baroque, and Berserk album originated from,and what happened to the recordings, then wonder no more. Live at Les Cousins (recorded in 1969) was the source of the song and languished in the Abbey Road type vaults until they were discovered in 1995 and handed over to Harper.

These is a clear sounding professionally recorded performance of Harper at his old British folk rock stomping grounds that sees Harper in full flight early in his career as a folk club troubadour.

Standout tracks included a slightly quicker early version of Hors D'oeuvers, that would be slowed down and lengthened for Harper's Stromcock album released a few years later. Other notable tracks are long instrumental intro song Blackpool in which Harper show off the skills that kept him in good company with Burt Jansch and John Renbourn early in his folk club traveling days.

East of the Sun features a more bluesy harmonica accompaniment by Harper than that found on the studio version of this standout song, while McGoohan's Blues and the instrumental Che are the two standout tracks on the CD's second disc.

Despite the occasional good joke from Harper, there are a few songs such as She's The One where Harper is singing beyond his range as well as some long inane chatter from Harper (he's eternal MO) that puts a slight damper on this ultra clean sounding early live offering. 2.5 stars as this seems to be for Harper fans and devotees only.

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 Unhinged by HARPER, ROY album cover Live, 1994
3.13 | 6 ratings

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Unhinged
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

3 stars A great sounding collection of live solo Harper performances recorded at various locations in England in 1990/91.

As then wife Jacqui was both Harper's touring engineer as well as his studio recording engineer, the sound quality of this long disc once again maintains Harper's string of impeccable sounding recordings that originated in the nineteen sixties. Standout tracks include the rarely played Decedents of Smith and his centerpiece song form the Jugula album Hope, that's played with a deft backing band that includes his son Nick Harper on bass and old friend, cricket star Foxy Fowler. All three nail the song after only minimal practice before the gig. Other standout tracks include the chilling Frozen Moment, also from Jugula performed solo by Harper, along with the perennial's Highway Blues and The Same Old Rock which feature Roy's talented son Nick standing in for Jimmy Page on both tracks.

Live Harper albums are a bit of a rarity, especially ones that sport sound as good as this one. 3.5 stars.

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Thanks to Chris Stacey for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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