Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hats Off To...

I have had a love/hate relationship with Roy Harper for 40 years. My first introduction to Roy was an album called "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease," the U.S. release of "HQ." I bought it not because I was interested in hearing Harper, but because of the band, which was Chris Spedding, John Paul Jones, Dave Gilmour and Bill Bruford. The record sounded nothing like Roxy Music, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or King Crimson. I didn't love it or hate it. It was simply not what I wanted at the time.

Over the years, I found out more about Roy and I was intrigued by the accolades given by so many of my music heroes of the time, especially by Jimmy Page. It is also of interest that the song Page wrote for Harper, "Hats Off To Harper," found on Led Zeppelin III, is my least favorite song by LZ.

As I got older, the British folk scene became one of my favorite genres of music and Harper's records now became interesting for different reasons. Still, I found some of them to be too demanding, and at times, unlistenable. I gave up on Roy Harper.

Then in 2013, he released "Man & Myth," a critically acclaimed collection of new tunes, and this time, it stuck. I finally got Roy Harper. So, I went back. Again.

One of things that intrigued me most, was the mention of Jimmy Page's solo on a song called "The Same Old Rock," a solo that in more than a few places is called, "one of Page's best solos." So I decided to spin the album from which it comes, "Stormcock." I loved the whole record, not just the Page track, on which he is billed as S. Flavius Mercurius. The guitar playing by Roy is stunning throughout, as it the overall mood of the record. "Stormcock" best represents what Harper is all about, and it is highly recommended for those who might be curious about Harper. "The Same Old Rock" is up top and Jimmy Page's playing is pretty spectacular.


Mr. Baez said...

Roy Harper is a wonder. The song "When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease" always chokes me up. An incredible talent.

dogbreath said...

"Stormcock" is the one with just four tracks, two a side,right? Those were the days: either one 20 minute track (or perhaps two longish ones) on each side of vinyl. But I digress. Not a big fan of cricket but the above-mentioned song is truly lovely, a real belter, first heard by me on a John Peel BBC radio show about a century ago & never forgotten. Also agreed, Mr Page's playing on "The Same Old Rock" is pretty fab but then he did know his way around a guitar.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Been a fan since "HQ". "The Game" is my favorite song. Roy challenges everyone and that's a good thing.