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Roy Harper - Bullinamingvase [Aka: One Of Those Days In England] CD (album) cover


Roy Harper


Prog Folk

2.99 | 38 ratings

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3 stars After the initial shock of seeing Roy Harper labelled as 'prog folk' had worn off (one usually thinks of Harper as a 'stoned beat poet singer-songwriter') it seemed 100% fair that at least SOME of his work be described as 'prog folk'. The label seems especially apposite to BULLINAMINGVASE, which is roughly contemporary with Jethro Tull's MINSTREL and shares many of its features, especially the 'streaky bacon' technique of alternating lyrical, acoustic passages with heavier, electric ones. Both albums contain a mixture of angry (or indignant), playful and melancholic tunes; melancholy being the dominant mood. Both Ian and Roy have a habit of writing lyrics which are usually meaningful but sometimes wilfully obscure: the simpler the emotion they try to convey, the more convincingly they come across. Finally, Harper's ten-part suite 'One of these Days in England' is similar in its structure and its changing moods to Ian Anderson's 'Baker Street Muse', although the Tull piece has a 'city' theme and Roy H.'s creation talks about the English countryside. So it's a fair guess that most admirers of folksy Jethro T. will also admire this (minor) Roy Harper masterpiece. One major difference: BULLINAMINGVASE is, of course, free of the extended instrumental variations (dominated by flute, lead guitar, bass and exhilerating drumming) which are, in my opinion, one of the main glories of MINSTREL (especially its original A-Side). BULL is predominantly vocal, but it does contain some (a lot!) of the freshest and loveliest acoustic guitar playing I'm aware of. As a singer, Roy Harper is particularly gripping when he sounds wistful or sad. 'These last days', for example, is a wonderfully wistful ballad, and 'One of these days...' contains some beautiful passages which evoke the feeling of everything slipping into History.
fuxi | 3/5 |


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