Sunday, 10 January 2010

Roy Harper - Stormcock

This is undoubtedly Roy Harper's masterpice. From 1971, it's ostensibly a one-man-and -his-guitar singer/songwriter album, and begins that way. Harper's beautiful, querulous voice, always betraying his roots in the north west of England, accompanied by his own acoustic (well, two tracks of acoustic). The four tracks on this album, though, are epic in every sense - in length, scope, and arrangement. Roy Harper often double-tracked his vocals, a technique that seemed to suit his voice particularly well, usually with a perfectly rich envelope of reverb, and on the first track 'Hors d'Ouvres' he is backed up halfway through by an otherworldly chorus of his own multi-tracked vocals, and electric organ. This was recorded at Abbey Road, and has that beautiful ringing clarity so redolent of that time and place, like on The Pretty Things' Parachute, or Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. 'The Same Old Rock' follows, Jimmy Page adding some glorious acoustic lead work. This is an amazing track, switching between yearning and sombre moods as the different sections move along, until Harper is backed again by his own space-choir, brilliantly arranged to spine-tingling and psychedelic effect. 'One Man Rock And Roll Band' has a touch of eastern-raga-blues, with some light phaser(?) type effects on the vocals, and strangely flowing vocal phrasing. The Final track 'Me And My Woman' is an amazing track, beginning with a more traditionally English Folky tune, and some of the most haunting and gorgeous backing vocal arrangements, and some fabulous orchestra, arranged by David Bedford. This ranges from doomy strings, to plaintive clarinet, to Atom Heart Mother-style brass, all the time melding perfectly to Harper's long and winding song structure. It is a truly brilliant way to end this masterpiece of an album.


Buy it
Also highly recommended is Flat Baroque And Berserk.


Hammer said...

Biggup Mr. S! Wonderful selection as ever... jusrecently discovered Mr Harper. so very much looking fwd to this.
ta very much

Anonymous said...

Many Thanks!!!