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

Jamie T: Panic Prevention (EMI)

Jamie T: Panic Prevention (EMI)

Chaotic, slightly demented, aggressive and infused with a punk DIY spirit, this mind-bending collage of music, noise and sound clash from young London DJ/singer Jamie T won't be to everyone's taste... > Read more

Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

Sugarbug: Flutterbye (Powertool Records)

As I understand it, this quietly fascinating collection by a Wellington four-piece is a reissue of songs previously unissued. To backtrack then: Some of these 10 songs topped the capital's... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Crescent City, California: Redwoods and dead wood

Crescent City, California: Redwoods and dead wood

So, he said leaning over me in a slightly menacing manner, how do you get to meet people when you travel around? "Just like this,"I said, and the big man looked puzzled. "By... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Talking Heads; Speaking in Tongues

THE BARGAIN BUY: Talking Heads; Speaking in Tongues

Prior to this jerky and funky album in 1983, Talking Heads had been critically acclaimed for more than five years on the back of albums which were considered taut, arty, intellectual and even a bit... > Read more