Roy Harper: Songs of Love and Loss (Union Square)

 |   |  <1 min read

Roy Harper: Another Day
Roy Harper: Songs of Love and Loss (Union Square)

English folk-rocker Harper – now 70 – is much eulogised by senior (male) British rock critics and has latterly been hailed by the neo-folk movement (Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom etc).

Led Zepp acknowledged him with Hats Off To Harper (on Led Zeppelin III) and he sang on Have a Cigar on Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

Schooled equally in American acoustic blues and Anglofolk, Harper assimilated Romantic poetry and odd tunings into his style and although considered part of the British folk scene alongside Nick Drake, John Martyn, Bert Jansch and Davey Graham (all “the late”), he was a man apart for his lyrically expansive songs and often enormously busy, angular finger-picking.

He also brought in electric guitar, strings and a jazz-like direction.

This double disc collection (kick starting a reissue programme) is the ideal, if sometimes difficult, introduction to Harper for the neo-folk generation which might stumble at times over his complex guitar work (he's no thumb'n'strum player) and his angular approach to lyrics and a melody.

For example Girlie here is a four minute psychedelic journey, although is tempered by his straight bat to the traditional North Country and the delightfully gentle Davey (for Graham) and Another Day.

From politics (South Africa) to Hallucinating Light, Harper never underestimates your intelligence or concentration span.

A rare one.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Jamie Macphail - Dec 12, 2011

I have been hoping for a retrospective of this man's work! I kind of missed him in the day, not sure why!

But I continually hear him referred to, and really enjoyed the following piece he did on Joanna Newsome a while back:

http://bombsite.com/issues/116/articles/5106

Graham, I hope you don't mind me posting a link somewhere else on your site! But it's a lovely article/interview ....

David Trubridge - Dec 12, 2011

I saw him in the day, and still listen to him regularly now - one of the greatest! thank you. . . . bert jansch "late"??

lxmcp - Dec 14, 2011

yep
see link
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15179959

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Louisiana Red: Back to the Black Bayou (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Louisiana Red: Back to the Black Bayou (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

This seventysomething year old has earned to right to sing the blues: his father was lynched by the Klan back home in Alabama when he was boy; he was moved around staying with various relatives;... > Read more

Baio: The Names (Glass Note)

Baio: The Names (Glass Note)

Not to be confused with small-screen star Scott, Chris Baio -- bassist with Vampire Weekend -- here gets playful and poppy (the bright Sister of Pearl) with this debut solo album. It mines a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

SPOTIFY'S HQ IN SWEDEN: The quiet revolution

The ambience of the Stockholm headquarters of Spotify – the world's fastest growing online music streaming service – isn't what you might expect. No skateboard-riding computer nerds... > Read more

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY once again shoots Nick Cave

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY once again shoots Nick Cave

Auckland photographer Jonathan Ganley first photographed Nick Cave in 1983 at Mainstreet when Cave was with The Birthday Party. On the 30th anniversary of that show Elsewhere ran a photo essay by... > Read more