Why is Roy Harper so acclaimed by his peers?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by seed_drill, Mar 30, 2007.

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  1. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Tryon, NC, USA
    Ian Anderson prefers him to Dylan.
    Hats Off to Roy Harper by Led Zep.
    Contributions by Gilmore, Page, Kate Bush and Anderson on his recordings.

    I've got a two cd comp and a couple of albums, but few of his songs really grab me the way, say, Richard Thompson or Bert Jansch (and their respective bands) so often do.

    Am I missing something?

    BTW, the live version of Highway Blues with Page on guitar does provide chills, and not just because of the guitar playing. But so much of what I've heard is just pleasant but not particularly memorable singer-songwriter folk.
  2. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    You're missing something...:D :wave:

  3. bellwether

    bellwether New Member

    Seattle, WA USA
    Because he's incredibly underrated. He sang the lead vocal on Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar but most people would not know that. Harper has some spotty records for sure but Stormcock, HQ and Lifemask are amazing.
  4. rcdupre

    rcdupre Flying is Trying is Dying

    I kind of agree with you, but he's got some interesting lyrics, I think his supposed mental instability has something to do with his renown
  5. Capt Fongsby

    Capt Fongsby Simulacrum

    Nothing compares to mental instability! :D
  6. Guy E

    Guy E Forum Resident

    Antalya, Turkey
    He doesn’t generally knock me out either, but there are moments. Like When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease from HQ… that’s brilliant.
  7. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident


    IIRC, he joined the RAF when he was a teenager because he hated school and his family and was desparate to get away from both. Incredibly, he did not seem to appreciate the discipline a military career entailed. He grew to hate the RAF as well, so to get discharged he faked insanity. This led to two things: (i) his discharge and (ii) [unfortunately] electro-shock therapy for a mental disorder he did not possess. Ironically, the electro-shock treatments probably led to some mental instability (which I'm presuming was also aggravated by drug use).
  8. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Well-Known Member

    In addition to the brilliant 1971 "Stormcock", "Whatever Happened to Jugula", the mid 80s album with Jimmy Page has some great moments too. I was a major Roy Harper fan in the '80s-'90s and bought his entire catalogue over time. Loved the guitar playing, the melodies, the wordplay... much more interesting to me than other singer-guitarists.
  9. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Tryon, NC, USA
    I believe I have Lifemask, should probably pull it and give it a spin.
  10. grx8

    grx8 Well-Known Member

    Santiago, Chile
    I didn´t!
    Really? I don´t know him but I always assume that Gilmour sang it. I love that song.
  11. TheLoneliestMonk

    TheLoneliestMonk Active Member

    I was in your camp as well until recently. I was never all that thrilled with him and for the hell of it I started exploring his stuff in more depth and now I see it from both sides. It was through Tea Party's Jeff Martin more so than Page or the others that I took an interest in his music. I am particularly taken with Roy Harper's song, "I Hate The White Man" although for a four chord folk song it is a bit lengthy. But I am still exploring his stuff. I will say that his singing is not exceptional but I can see where at that time, not unlike say, Syd Barrett or Nick Drake for example, he might have caught people's attention.

    Whatever mental illness he may have succumbed to by way of electro-shock treatments or drug use...it didn't hurt his intellect any. I think what really won me over was his intelligence after having read some of his writing online...this piece in particular really alerted my attention to how knowledgable he is:

  12. quicksrt

    quicksrt Forum Resident

    City of Angels
    Listen to HQ.
  13. peteham

    peteham Forum Resident

    Simcoe County
    Yup. I also love "Valentine".
  14. beatlebum

    beatlebum Active Member

    Hannover, Germany
    My favorite is his debut "Sophisticated Beggar"

  15. ARK

    ARK Forum Resident

    Charlton, MA, USA

    I didn't know this either until yesterday. The cover article in this month's Rolling Stone is on the history of Pink Floyd and it's mentioned there.
  16. gohill

    gohill Forum Resident

    Glasgow, UK
    Roy's one of the great eccentrics of the British music scene. Unfortunately that very eccentricity is one of the main things that has precludes him from gaining any form of major success despite the patronage of both Led Zep and Pink Floyd. His voice though powerful and very emotive can be quite bracing and his lyrics are accerbic to say the least. When you listen to his most acclaimed works of the early 70's 'Stormcock' and 'Lifemask' you are confronted by full on no holds barred polemics skewering organised religion mercilessly. Roy also seems to have no embarrassment about laying his emotional and personal life out to his listeners, witness his painful Death Or Glory album from the early nineties where he is mired in self pity and bitterness over the departure of his wife jacqui to the violinist Nigel Kennedy. I cant listen to that album it makes me cringe! However he's brilliant and possibly a genius but he holds nothing back and nothing is sanded down for the listener both musically and lyrically.
  17. AndrewS

    AndrewS Well-Known Member

    S. Ontario, Canada
    I didn't know about Have a Cigar, either. Very interesting!

    The only thing I was familiar with him from was his appearance on the Tea Party CD Alhambra. The song he sang on that album was the only one I didn't really care for...
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