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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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Man & MythMan & Myth
Pias America 2013
Audio CD$7.62
$7.64 (used)
HqHq
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$8.50
$21.87 (used)
StormcockStormcock
Science Friction 2008
Audio CD$10.89
$19.99 (used)
OnceOnce
Capitol 1991
Audio CD$23.80
$7.99 (used)
BullinamingvaseBullinamingvase
Science Friction 2001
Audio CD$16.67
$11.96 (used)
ValentineValentine
Science Friction 2002
Audio CD$9.33
$7.32 (used)
Beyond the DoorBeyond the Door
Import
2006
DVD$18.78
Return Of The Sophisticated BeggarReturn Of The Sophisticated Beggar
MDP OMP 2011
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$80.14 (used)
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LP stormcock
ROY HARPER
~ USD $19.82


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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)

3.36 | 19 ratings
Sophisticated Beggar
1966
2.38 | 15 ratings
Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith
1967
3.92 | 23 ratings
Folkjokeopus
1969
3.47 | 24 ratings
Flat Baroque And Berserk
1970
4.01 | 143 ratings
Stormcock
1971
3.75 | 28 ratings
Lifemask
1973
3.50 | 36 ratings
HQ
1975
2.70 | 21 ratings
Bullinamingvase (One Of Those Days In England)
1977
3.00 | 10 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
2.80 | 5 ratings
Descendants of Smith (aka Garden of Uranium)
1988
3.83 | 9 ratings
once
1990
3.65 | 8 ratings
Death Or Glory
1992
2.47 | 6 ratings
The Dream Society
1998
4.28 | 9 ratings
The Green Man
2001
3.74 | 15 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
3.40 | 5 ratings
Unhinged
1994

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

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

3.38 | 9 ratings
Valentine
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
1970-1975
1978
2.00 | 3 ratings
Loony On The Bus
1988
3.03 | 5 ratings
Hats Off
2001
3.91 | 3 ratings
Counter Culture
2005
5.00 | 2 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
 Roy Harper & Jimmy Page: Whatever Happened To Jugula? by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.75 | 23 ratings

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Roy Harper & Jimmy Page: Whatever Happened To Jugula?
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars "We're not just spirits disappearing."

Whatever Happened to Jugula?, or just Jugula, as Roy Harper has now retitled the album for the 21st century, is one of those rare alchemical albums that's the result of odd circumstances putting desperate musicians together.

To say that Roy Harper has heady friends is almost an understatement with David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Ian Anderson, and even Pete Townsend, as contributors to Harper's albums over the years, as well as being sincere fans of Harper and his work.

This particular album features the reunion of Jimmy Page as a guest artist in an expanded roll as collaborator, as Page was recovering from heroin addiction at the time, as well as trying to get his bum in gear and move on from the demise of Led Zeppelin. Harper was in a slump after leaving EMI records and found himself with a deal on the Beggar's Banquet label. With both Harper and Page rejuvenated, Jugula is assisted by Harper's long time studio contributors, the great Tony Franklin on fretless bass and Steve Broughton on drums, with studio engineer Nik Green contributing deft keyboards to the record as well.

The album's first track Nineteen Eighty Fourish (actually listed on the album sleeve as Nineteen Forty Eightish as an inside joke from Harper) is a mighty opener as subtle but unmistakable Dooms Day sounding synths swirl around Harper's brash sounding Ovation acoustic strums as Roy delivers the first of many heartfelt of the album's great vocal deliveries. The song is now a period piece about the never ending nuclear arms threat of the 1980's but still seems to ring clear as a metaphor for the current world's dire situations. The song is punctuated by caustic electric guitar phrases and shapes from Page (that are not imitative of David Gilmour but would be quite at home on both Pink Floyd's Animals and The Wall albums) before the both Harper and Page do their now familiar acoustic guitar interplay near the song's coda. Page is back in top form and is now experimenting with the harrowing electric guitar tones and styles that would dominate the songs of his group The Firm that was shorty to come.

The spoken word poem Bad Speech is just what the name implies, and would have sounded ostentatious if the piece did not segue into the album's, and perhaps Harper's, best ever song titled Hope. With a hypnotic guitar riff written by none other than David Gilmour, and played by Harper's talented son Nick (with guitar effects lent to him by Gilmour), the song is nothing short of Harper's own album crowner like Comfortably Numb is for Floyd's The Wall album. Hope is not even remotely similar to Comfortably Numb, but every bit as emotive and evocative due a wonderfully powerful vocal by Harper, along with a stellar musical delivery by all those previously mentioned. It's one of Harper's must profound moments on record as well as being one of his best progressive rock songs ever recorded.

Hangman and Elizabeth return to the acoustic/electric guitar formula of Nineteen Eighty Fourish without sounding derivative. More spurts of Page electric guitar pyrotechnics dot both songs as Nik Green continues to add subtle but atmospheric synths to both songs. Dealing with both capital punishment and the need for universal understanding, both songs succeed due to harper's sincere vocal delivery.

Both songs are followed by the acoustic guitar dominated song titled Frozen Moment in which Harper poetically states the feeling that over comes someone when they realize, in the second, that a love relationship has ended. Page and Harper's chilling arpeggios combined with icy synths from Green easily nail the song. It's another of the album's and Harper's recorded highlights.

Twentieth Century Man-Beast is a straight acoustic song played by both Harper and Page and is highlighted by Harper's great vocal range that never wavers into shrill extremes.

As is his his want, and modus operandi, Harper ends the album anticlimactically with the throwaway singsong Advertisement, which, I suppose, is Harper's answer to Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women Numbers 12 And 35, as the song's chorus is a corny refrain of 'Man, I'm really stoned, yes I'm really stoned" and the cliched drink/drug bravado that goes along with such a tune. The song's music is actually quite catchy despite it's trite subject matter.

Jugula maintains Harper's string of meticulous studio recordings that commenced with his tenure as an Abby Road Studio's recorded EMI artist, and is quite detailed and dynamic for an album recorded in the eighties.

Owing to the album's silly closing track and the feeling of sameness that pervades three of the album's songs, despite the song's numerous time changes and guitar breaks, four stars is a reasonable rating for Jugula.

Whenever I hear the age old gripe that there's not any good Prog Rock music around and the person is unfamiliar with Roy Harper's work, I always play Jugula for them. And I'm still amazed when the person exclaims "Why didn't I know about this?", which is usually followed by a deep laugh and broad smile from yours truly.

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 Stormcock by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.01 | 143 ratings

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Stormcock
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

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!

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 once by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.83 | 9 ratings

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once
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The many black clouds that hang over us all.

Once is probably Harper's most controversial album, at least by the standards of a cult music figure.

His anti Islamic tirade titled The Black Cloud of Islam was composed after Harper viewed TV news footage of a mid east suicide bombing aftermath that showed slain women and children. Harper immediately viewed the coming fundamentalist threat from as far back as the year this album was conceived in 1990. The rest is, as they say, history. Black Cloud is one of Harper's most pointed and barbed attacks on the lunacy of terrorism's collateral damage. He sings only with his own guitar accompaniment, the only such solo outing on this record, and his angry vocal performance rings with sincerity.

But I digress. The first thing I noticed about this album was the smoldering opening guitar notes that could come from no one else than David Gilmour. His coiling guitar slowly awakening is surrounded by a thick cloud of a synth wash before stately acoustic guitar chords ring out slowly, alternating from the left and right speakers until Harper's familiar voice gently fills the sound stage. It's been a while since I last heard Gilmour's opening guitar followed by vocals (wink, wink) and the effect is wonderful.

The opening track Once is Harper's plea for us to live in each and every moment as we only pass this way once. His impassioned choruses are driven home by some caustic sounding guitar from Gilmour that immediately becomes majestic during the songs middle eight. Lush but not overpowering harmony vocals are provided by Kate Bush and Harper's then wife Jacqui, before more of Gilmour's majestic guitar closes out the song. A wonderful way to get an album started.

Aside from his rant in Black Cloud, Harper's has a theoretical meeting with God in the song titled If. When he dies and Harper apologizes for his doubt, God asks Harper to kneel before him, and well, you know this is going to sit to well with old Roy and he tells God so. "Why can't we just talk man to man" Harper asks. Amazing!

A period rant titled Winds of Change questions the motives of the worlds leaders in 1990, while Berliners springs hopeful to those finally set free from behind the newly destroyed Berlin Wall. A touching song from Harper. But it's not his crowning achievement on this album. That honor goes to one of Harper's most beautiful, poetic and transcendent songs titled Sleeping At The Wheel. It is Harper's celebration of losing track of time when sharing that time with a precious loved one. Even if it's only laying in bed together and waiting to catch the sunrise. It's one of harper's finest moments and surprisingly, the song isn't even mentioned in the extensive liner notes penned by Roy.

Two more good songs about love and unity follow. For Longer Than It Takes and Ghost Dance seem a bit subpar after listening to Sleeping At The Wheel, but listened to on their own, they are also among Harper's most emotionally open songs and are quite stellar.

Well it's been another emotional rollercoaster ride with Mr. Harper that I wouldn't have missed for the world. 4 stars.

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 Songs of Love and Loss by HARPER, ROY album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Songs of Love and Loss
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars The creation of a lifetime. Literally. Roy Harper will be forever known as an outrageously political singer of Folk Prog songs like The White Man and Dark Cloud of Islam.

But on every album Harper has produced since his first, Sophisticated Beggar, Harper has opened up one of his veins and bled out a song from his heart stating either his adoration of or pain from a romantic relationship.

The first song from this compilation, Black Clouds, comes off Harper's first album and is followed by similar songs from his following albums and not necessary in chorographical order. But it doesn't matter as Harper, like his music, is unchanging in vocal performance and guitar playing and his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve and tell us his deepest feelings.

This album is only available at present in a 2 CD release and download.

The first thing that will strike you is the youthful photo of Harper on the CD's front cover from circa 1966 to a present photo on the inner sleeve is how much Harper has physically changed. The inner photo shows Harper with white hair, receding hairline, bespectacled and looking every bit of his 70 plus years. So you think you be in for a noticeable then versus now sonic comparison. But Roy likes to fool people and his "re-sculpturing" and remastering of these songs can only be differentiated by reading the accompanying liner notes. The sonic quality is simply amazing and is an audiophiles treat.

As far as Progressive Rock goes, the first disc is mostly solo acoustic Roy with little backing except for occasional string arrangements from the late David Bedford, on All You Need Is, or some unlisted sessions players employed by early super producer Shel Talmy (The Who, Kinks,) on North Country, that fleshs out Harper's songs of love and pathos. For those interested in what exactly Ian Anderson refers to when he points out Harper's influence on his acoustic guitar playing will see immediately what he is talking about. Generally one love and loss song follows the other in a sequence that could only make sense to Harper as it's his life. But the message is unmistakable. We have all been there and can relate. But who could open up emotionally like this man? I know of few that have managed to be able to express such emotions and feeling in song and I have been around for a while and have actually heard Bob Dylan sing before he was even famous as well as countless others who were. And none come close to Harper on such a consistent basis that you know that every song must have been an emotional rollercoaster for him record. But we have them and sometimes it's a rollercoaster for the listener. Thank God for two separate discs.

The second disc contains Harper's true Progressive Folk Rock with guest players such as Bill Bruford, Chris Spedding, Dave Cochran and the ever present Jimmy Page. The songs include such concert standards as Hallucinating Light, The Fly Catcher, Cherishing The Lonesome and the stunning On Summer Day (from Harper's most personal album Death or Glory?).

Again, the combination of Harper's remastering and the power of these songs is simply stunning and sometimes emotionally overwhelming. But this album is truly the particular work of a great artist's lifetime and you can tell it was put together by Harper with love.

If you're not into an emotional journey than this double album is not for you. But if you care for some in your Progressive Rock music then step on up. Just remember, you can listen to one disc at a time. As great as this album is, some of us have to. Five stars and have a cigar.

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 Folkjokeopus by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.92 | 23 ratings

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Folkjokeopus
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by TerryDactyl

4 stars It's nice to see a true English giant with a monkey on his shoulder and not on his back (the cover of this record) and the slightly death glazed look on his face makes one question whether or not this is going to be in any way a friendly, welcoming, warm record to visit. Oh, boy, welcome to the wonderful world of Roy Harper!

SUNRISE! And off we go into a weird warped worldview that's intent on taking us all over the map of human experience (and will come closer than anyone I can think of, eventually) until we settle into, some forty-odd minutes later, tomorrow. In the meantime we get the long-before-they-existed REM sounding "Sargent Sunshine" and Roy's on a roll, and before we can even think of what this natural force of a song could possibly be about it's over and in comes "She's the One" which is the lynchpin of Side 1, if you can't deal with this one you might as well get out of the water now. The song is about a friend of Roy's who has, in Roy's opinion, a quite lovely wife he treats with very little respect. Roy is upset by this and spends the next near seven minutes telling us-and presumably the subject of the song-why he feels that way. With a beautiful ear splitting falsetto on the "Sheeeee's the OOOOONNNNEEE" part that could make bats crash, Roy might be implying that if old boy don't get himself straight he might just waltz right off with his "wonderful wife." Side 1 continues with ditties "In the Time of Water" and "The Composer of Life" both of which are great little tracks that do little other than sound neat and ends with the mighty "One For All."

Then we get to side 2 and things get very odd indeed. With only three songs this side contains many firsts for Roy including first song about a bulldog who bites a cop and causes its owner (Roy) to go to court for exercising some control, then IT happens. Oh yes, it does. The cute dog/cop slightly subversive but comic track is over and we are down deep in the river of Roy Harper (We are kinda there with "One For All" at the end of side 1) and as (another first Roy's first huge epic) McGoohan's Blues starts, so does it continue for nearly FOURTEEN acoustic, repetitive minutes, building somehow this incredible dramatic tension that is almost unfelt as verse after verse strolls by, each one more interesting than the one before bridged by variations on the "Oh how the Sea she roars with laughter/ and howls at the dancing wind/ to see my....(here the lyrics change making this "chorus" not quite one)" each verse slightly more sinister, slightly more deranged until finally--are you ready for this--it breaks out into some of the most beautiful Nicky Hopkins fueled piano boogie music that strangely enough sounds again like REM to me, and Roy SINGING with a hoarse voice and being all cryptic and whoa! Suddenly the blood rushes to the head, the endorphins release and life makes more sense than it ever has (or hasn't) and for a little over three minutes (maybe closer to four) one of the most beautiful "pop" (non derogatory term for catchy 60s/70s Beatle influenced type music) gushes out of the speakers and caresses the listener, lovingly, and sort of harshly at once. Chocolate and peanut butter for the ears, and then it ends...with Manana...a sort of goofy track, not unlike Self Control at the beginning of the side, genuinely dark lyrics, but sort of funny, that's a wrap. Kid giggling at the end and you are free to go.

When you really get down to the meat of Roy and his music, I do think a very large part of whether one likes him or not has to do with how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with his words. The lyrics on a Roy Harper album are always going to be somewhat "controversial" to say the least, or actually have guaranteed, in a less enlightened time, a nice Roy-b-cue. Roy offends ME sometimes and I have a shrine built to him in my bathroom. If you can "get" his ground, sort of let him just yammer on with whatever he needs to say then you will be richly rewarded...or not.

To me personally this is a five star record, but for the readers of the prog archives I will reduce the rating to a four, I don't believe a place where the majority of members have chosen to ignore Bob Dylan are really chomping at the bit to get all gushy over his British counterpart.

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 The Dream Society by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.47 | 6 ratings

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The Dream Society
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

2 stars The last of my reviews of later day Roy Harper albums, The Dream Society (1998) seems like Roy's response to his previous album Death or Glory. However, unlike that work, The Dream Society is a rambling album of disconnected themes and topics, while being true to Harper's persona, doesn't connect well with this listener. The first two songs are Harper singing about how much he wants to return to love. Noble, but trite in both lyrics and melody. The third song Muriel is an ode to Harper's mother who passed away when he was quite young. It starts off as a parody of the old folk song The Cotton Fields Back Home before shifting gears into a slow tempo tome about his late mother. The song's transformation is awkward to me in more ways than one. Harper than goes through a suite of pure rock songs that are good in themselves but are hardly prog and could have used the talents of his buddies Page or Gilmour to bolster them. The final song on the album, These Fifty Years, is a ponderous folk prog song that eschews melody in favor of Roy's overlong verbiage. The inclusion of prog god Ian Anderson on flute does little to improve it. The sound quality of the album is excellent but it's difficult for me to recommend this album to anyone but completists. If it's available, I would recommend Roy's 1990 album Once over The Dream Society as it contains some of Roy's most focused, if somewhat restrained, works produced in the 90's.

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 Death Or Glory by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.65 | 8 ratings

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Death Or Glory
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars Another great later day Roy Harper album to re-examine after his brilliant return with Man And Myth. Death Or Glory was originally released in 1992 with down beat spoken word passages between the songs. In 1994, Harper removed the depressing spoken word pieces and remixed two of the albums tracks in order to give greater oomph to the rhythm section.

The reason for all the recorded angst and sloppy mixes the first time around was due to Harper's breakup with his wife who was also his recording engineer. To say that this breakup was devastating to Harper is almost an understatement. However, it motivated Harper to produce one of his best albums from the 90's.The opening title track starts off with a galloping rhythm of drums, bass and highly treated acoustic guitar underlined by Harper's son Nick supplying caustic electric leads as a response to Roy's cynical lyrics questioning if a love relationship gone wrong is akin to war. The sound mix of this song is clear, loud and confused and pulls you quickly into Harper's state of mind. The following song The War Came Home Tonight is satirical Harper at his best as he comments on the fad of broadcasting war live to your TV screen. This song along with the manic staccato rhythmic The Fourth World could easily sit on the Wall album by Floyd.

However, Harper's best material is his own unique trademark acoustic sound fleshed out with fretless bass moaning, groaning, walking and sometimes running by the great Tony Franklin. Waiting For Godot, Next To Me, One More Tomorrow and On Summer Day are gems of Harper's most beautiful heart on sleeve lyrics to ever turn up in song. His singing is genuinely passionate and compelling without sounding like an emotional weakling. Harper also infuses lighter hearted material into the mix with The Methane Zone (about some flatulence that will get into heaven even if Roy himself does not) and Evening Star (a celebration of love) standing out as the best. Harper always has one killer cut on his albums and on this one that would easily go to Miles Remains. Miles is a tribute to the late jazz great Miles Davis and is not a jazz song but a near instrumental featuring Roy's treated acoustic guitars that musically ascend to the heavens on a cloud of swirling ethereal sythns propelled forward by Franklin's mournful bass. My only complaint of the album is that Roy's song editing skills went the way of his wife and Miles Remains and Evening Star overstay their welcome by a minute or so. Aside from that, the album sports great sound as most of the songs were recorded live in the studio without overdubs. This may not be an essential prog album but it is an essential album for Harper fans in that it helps to put his work into context aside from being extremely enjoyable.

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 The Green Man by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.28 | 9 ratings

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The Green Man
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

5 stars After returning with the stunning Man And Myth album, it's time to look at some of Roy Harper's ignored later day material. 2001's The Green Man was everything that 1971's Stormcock was not. As with Stormcock, there are no bass or drums featured on The Green Man. But gone are the obtuse lyrics, death march tempos, lack of truly beautiful melodies, and flat colorless deadpan vocals that dragged Stormcock down almost to a standstill. (The codas on Same Old Rock and Me And My Woman not withstanding.) The Green Man is a celebration of the intrinsic beauty of the earth (The Green Man, Wishing Well) as well as a condemnation of those that abuse that beauty (New England, Rushing Camelot) without sounding preachy. The song Solar Wind Sculptures is about the how the world appears through the eyes of an autistic child described in words and music. Outstanding. Roy has me convinced. The Monster is about the underlying insanity in all of us and its unending domino effect on society. Brilliant. Roy is joined on this album with Canada's Jeff Martin who is outstanding on 12 string acoustic, six string acoustic slide, mandolin and an honest-to-God hurdy-gurdy. Accented by ulleann pipes and whistles on a few songs, the album has a slightly baroque feeling while being completely fresh sounding and truly immersed in the 21st century. All 11 songs on the album are truly melodic wonders. Harper's vocals are majestic and impassioned. Indeed, his perfect pitch voice is almost an instrument in itself. If any album deserves to be called folk-prog, this is it. It is truly the unsung masterpiece in Harper's catalog. 5 stars!

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 Man & Myth by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.74 | 15 ratings

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Man & Myth
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by SteveG

4 stars The man who created his myth. I feel that this fantastic album was directly influenced by the stellar 2 CD compilation album Harper released a few years back entitled Songs Of Love and Loss which featured songs picked by Roy dealing with past relationships. Most of which failed. The related songs on Man And Myth which come to mind are Time is Temporary, January Man, and The Stranger. All feel, to me, like poignent conclusions to the songs on the Love And Loss album. The beautiful folk/prog of Heaven is Hear segued into the Exile is time transporting musical bliss with a majestic almost understated Floyd like accompaniment (minus any keyboards of course) but with the signature rubbery frettless bass leads of Tony Franklin to keep the music from sounding dated. The most outstanding and overlooked feature of this album is how much Harper's voice has morphed into an instrument of it's own with perfect pitch and keys often supplying the true melody of the songs. Amazing! This album is a worthy come back but please also seek out Songs Of Love And Loss which is not even listed on this sites discorgraphy.

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 HQ by HARPER, ROY album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.50 | 36 ratings

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HQ
Roy Harper Prog Folk

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

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.

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