Roy Harper – The Lord’s Prayer – Probably the best song ever recorded.

Not much comes near to this! Each line requires thinking about!

Opher's World

Never has there been a song written with such scope and meaning. It is veritably the greatest ‘classical’ track of popular music – a piece that is so intricate and complex, both lyrically and musically, that it propels Rock Music to another level.

roy harper

The song has a number of movements starting with a poem. This is about the journey of mankind from the neolithic to the present time. It is a poem based on opposites and delivered with panache and some great production effects.

The central sections, featuring the mesmeric genius of Jimmy Page’s guitar work, is based on the image of Geronimo that was presented to Roy by James Edgar (responsible for Hipnosis who did the artwork for Roy and Pink Floyd). Roy took a tab of acid and got into the head of a man who was a relic from the stone-age – a man who still lived…

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34 thoughts on “Roy Harper – The Lord’s Prayer – Probably the best song ever recorded.

  1. Looking at it in the cold light of day, it’s really just an extension of Dylan some 7 years after the fact. It’s Blonde On Blonde Revisited. Some of Dylan’s songs had over 80 verses which he cut down. Plus I always thought the song’s ending was a terrible disappointment, it just stopped sort of all apologetically.

    • I love Dylan and Blonde on Blonde but no I can’t agree with that. It’s structure and content is totally different – though I agree that the ending (the song he grafted on) is its weakest part.

      • The structure is 7 years later with a load of studio gimmix and overdubs – Dylan never used such stuff.
        The content is a pure rip off.
        All it is is a summary of Dylan’s best work meshed into one.

      • Well I would agree that it is seven years later. The content a rip off of what precisely? And which songs of Dylan is he summarising?
        There were no gimmix. it was all great musical enhancement. Are you being cantankerous again?
        Dylan has never done anything remotely like The Lord’s Prayer.

      • There’s at least 6 Dylan songs in there, possibly double that.
        Obviously not word for word, but even the format was a rip off – who this, who that etc.
        I would say though that it kind of wore a bit thin about 10 minutes in and lost the momentum.

      • There’s loads of production gimmix. So many that by 10 minutes in they begin to ruin the clarity of his voice as it’s smothered with all sorts. They stupidly spoiled it with that.

      • Not for me it didn’t. I can’t think of a single Dylan song that took for its theme the evolution of mankind and mistake of civilisation.
        Neither can I think of a Dylan song that used orchestra in that way, had a poem as its start or was centred on the primitive mind of a plains Indian.
        To my ears the studio was used to great effect to augment not jazz up.
        When I was there in the studio and listened in on the production it was all about making it come to life, helping the dramatic build. No effects for their own sake. No gimmicks.
        The greatest song ever written in my mind – stuffed full of thought-provoking imagery and totally unique.
        But then everyone is entitled to their opinion. I’m fascinated to hear what songs you think he ripped off.

      • The production enhanced it for me. Roy has often talked to me about developing the music further into a two hour composition. That would be interesting.

  2. I’m sure it was interesting at the time, but as a piece of music or whatever it is, it’s all a bit of a jumbled pretentious mess.
    It starts off with this introduction section that doesn’t really add up to much. At least for the listener. I’m sure it was a thrill for Roy, but as a listener, it’s just all allegorical stuff that doesn’t have much meaning. For instance, how the hell would the listener know what lines like “a massive erection of pushy defence” are about. Harper makes futile attempts to explain himself in that book decades later, but I’m not too sure that even he is convinced.
    I’ve never been particularly impressed with allegorical writing because the authors tend to come out with the most convoluted reasoning for it, as Roy in fact does within the notes to the song in that book.
    Following 4 minutes of that, it then slides into 12 minutes of repetition of “whose this and whose that” stuff, that really could have been whittled down to only feature the best lines, rather than the hit and miss effect of too many lines of more allegorical mystery which are the antithesis of anything striking and pertinent.
    After that it moves into another 4 minute section that for me makes absolutely no impression at all. It’s almost an afterthought and much of a waste of time as it certainly isn’t going anywhere to explain anything.
    Then the final 2 minutes. With perhaps some of weakest poetry the listener is likely to come across in the piece as a whole, “great heart, mean streak, spare part, speed freak”. Right Roy…

    Production wise it’s a mess. I really don’t like that buried distant mix approach. Why go to the bother of having a band and then turn them so far down in the mix? The drummer sounds like he’s playing next door. The bass player is non-existent. Page, with his occasional flurries was hardly under pressure here to impress and he doesn’t. Then there’s times when Harper struggles to be heard. I don’t know what they were trying to achieve, but whatever it was it didn’t work for me. I find the production very boring. I don’t want to be listening to the James Last Orchestra, all muted and lifeless. It’s an orchestra put into hands that didn’t have a clue what to do with it.

    Harper’s “concept” is amusingly convoluted. It’s all just a bit too silly for me. It certainly doesn’t hold the listeners attention like a Dylan song. It doesn’t have the clarity of narrative like a Dylan song. It doesn’t have such clever metaphor like a Dylan song. Desolation Row it is not. But it’s Harper’s personal journey and not necessarily mine.
    But back then in 1972 or whatever, the whole music industry – at least this sector of the music industry was just catching up to where Dylan had left off in around 1968. They weren’t pinching his lyrics wholesale – they’d never have got away with that, but the themes were all there.
    The people in the roots Folk Music scene were no strangers though as the same paths were all too often crossed – they didn’t need Dylan at all.

    Here’s some Dylan songs – or songs made famous by Dylan – where the subject matter has been assimilated to more or lesser degrees.
    Black Cross
    The Death Of Emmett Till
    Hiram Hubbard
    Blowin’ In The Wind
    A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
    John Brown
    Who Killed Davey Moore?
    Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues
    Ballad Of Hollis Brown
    Masters Of War
    The Times They Are A-Changin’
    Gates Of Eden
    It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
    Talkin’ World War III Blues
    Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
    The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
    With God On Our Side
    Desolation Row

    All of these are about the human condition, warts and all. He said it all.
    Whatever you were trying to say above about evolution, mistake? of civilisation, the primitive mind of a plains indian (if you will, as you do), there are other people who are also primitive.
    Anyway all of these above say it and tell it a hell of a lot better than Harper’s attempt.
    Basically, It always sounded like an unfinished demo to me, something he was going to knock into shape and improve upon. I’ve heard it many, many times and I’ve never changed my mind on that. I wish he had worked it into a less convoluted piece.

    • A fine set of Dylan songs – some of my favourites in there – but quite what they have to do with anything Roy was doing is beyond me. For some strange reason (probably jealousy) Roy detested the man, his voice and his work. I never heard him listen to Bob, have never seen a Dylan album in his possession and he’d certainly tell you where to get off with any comparison with the guy. Dylan is almost a ‘don’t mention subject’ with Harper.
      Now if you had said Pink Floyd I could have seen that. Roy and Pete Jenner worked a lot with Floyd and some of the techniques are similar.
      The song poem was written one evening on an acid trip with a photo of Geronimo that James Edgar had coloured. It captured the thoughts of a man whose nomadic way of life had ended. Lifeboat poem was grafted on at the beginning and Speed Freak – written for the film Made – grafted on at the end.
      Jimmy’s playing was spectacular, capturing the rhythm perfectly and doing it in one take. Seeing him do that was magical.
      The song works for me and a number of other people. Roy has on many occasions stated that it was his best ever song.
      Sorry you didn’t like it but you can’t like everything can you? We all have different tastes.

      • Well if you can’t see the meanings that set of songs have in relation to the themes Harper was attempting to allude to within his epic…
        They all cover exactly the same ground.
        Perhaps if Harper had attempted this piece on the same basis as his excellent Hors D’Oeuvres, I would not have the slightest complaint about it.
        There is no comparison between Harper and Dylan and more fool anyone who ever sought for any or even thought about it.
        I guess Harper would be a trifle disappointed in himself when he reflected where Dylan was at in 1966, recording Blonde And Blonde, versus himself recording trash like ‘Take Me Into Your Eyes’ and ‘Pretty Baby’. Good grief there certainly was no comparison.

        Pink Floyd? Pink Floyd had nothing in common of studio work with Harper, except using the same studio complex, but not necessarily the same studio.
        The only thing I recall Peter Jenner ever producing for Floyd was the until recently the unreleased Vegetable Man and Scream Thy Last Scream tracks back in 1967. Other than that, zilch.
        Peter Jenner had nothing to do with Pink Floyd post Barrett.
        You’ve forgotten that Peter Jenner went with Syd Barrett in 1968 He didn’t think Pink Floyd would survive without Barrett.

        As an aside, all that orchestral stuff on Atom Heart Mother was done by Ron Geesin.

        Piper – produced by Norman Smith
        Saucer – produced by Norman Smith
        More – produced by Pink Floyd
        Ummagumma – produced by Pink Floyd
        Zabriskie Point – prod by PF
        Atom – prod PF
        Meddle – prod PF
        Obscured – prod PF
        Dark Side – prod PF

        I really don’t think that a picture of Geronimo, be it coloured in or otherwise, made a blind bit of difference to the listener.
        Was that the same James Edgar that dressed up as Santa Claus? Surely not? Whoever he was – so what?
        The more of the background story (I have the book Opher, so spare me the recitation) that comes to light, the more ludicrous the whole concept becomes.
        No. I really don’t think that is anywhere near one of Page’s best performances. Not by a hundred miles it isn’t. It could have been anybody. I think the whole production absolutely sucks. It’s terrible.

        It’s one of these Harper pieces that’s like Marmite.
        I’ve heard it played live and I thought that was even worse.
        You could see half the audience nonplussed and the other half enraptured. It’s the only so-called Harper epic that I don’t think is very good.

      • No I can’t and no they don’t. They both have social comment as a basis but that is as far as it goes. Dylan’s stuff did not look at civilisation through anywhere near the same eyes. His perspective and topics were brilliant but not about primitive nomadic humans or the advent of civilisation. I thought that was obvious.
        Comparing early Harper trivia with Dylan’s best is just absurd. Try comparing Harper’s best with Dylan’s best. They stand up. When Harper was producing his best work in the early seventies Dylan was coming out with albums of complete crap like Nashville Skyline and Dylan. You are really scraping the barrel to try to be antagonistic. It’s perverse.
        Please don’t lecture me about Pete Jenner and Floyd. I was there. They were recording next door. Jenner was in and out with them. Roy was in and out. The technicians were in and out. Gilmour and Wright recorded with Barrett. It was all shared stuff. The influences were great as was the mutual respect.
        It was the Geronimo on the cover!! That’s why it was there!
        By all means don’t like it. That’s up to you. Some of us, and Roy, think it’s brilliant.

  3. And how would any listener know about Harper’s allegories without them being explained?
    What’s obvious about primitive nomadic humans? Who on earth wants a song about them from a guy who knew pretty much nothing about primitive nomadic humans, at least nothing more than what he might have read in a book? Somewhat pretentious in my book. It was doomed to fail.
    Harper himself said “My work has generated a certain amount of confusion regarding its interpretation in times past. I hope this book can help to clear that up a little.” He was dead right there.
    Quite obviously you’ve never ever studied the lyrics of Dylan. Either that or you know nothing about Greek mythology. You wouldn’t because you never did Classical Studies at school, did you? I’m afraid your claim made above about not looking at civilisation sits firmly around your ankles.

    Whatever Harper attempted with this piece, it was a pretty big fail as far as I and many others were concerned.
    Otherwise it would be getting talked about in the mainstream artistic circles. It doesn’t. The track died the death back in 1973 and Harper more or less forgot about it for 20 years.

    Dylan’s Nashville Skyline was recorded in 1968, not the early 70s. The one song “I Threw It All Away” wasn’t on it for nothing. Did that go over your head? I also very much doubt whether Harper could write such a personal song, at least I haven’t heard any that come close.
    Dylan recorded 35 other much better albums. Harper has recorded maybe 4 very good albums.
    Dylan has recorded around 20. There is no comparison. Harper couldn’t do world tours. Dylan has been on a world tour since 1988. It’s called “The Never Ending Tour” for very good reason.
    I’ve been to Harper gigs with 80 people in attendance, then a Dylan gig with 10,000.
    There’s a reason for that.
    Dylan can also perform any of his songs in about 5 or 6 different styles. Harper cannot do this with his material, which automatically makes live performance rather a staid situation.

    Please don’t lecture me about Peter Jenner and Pink Floyd.
    You had clearly claimed that Peter Jenner was their producer. He was not. Therefore, I was quite right saying this to you. You were mistaken here, not me.
    He produced nothing of them other than the 2 tracks I mentioned previously.
    He left Pink Floyd in 1968. He went with Syd Barrett. He made a huge mistake.
    Obviously their paths would cross.
    Jenner was Barrett’s manager, therefore, it would not be unusual were he to be in the company of Gilmour, Wright and Waters whom were all involved in producing both Barrett’s albums.
    That was purely serendipity.
    The producers of Barrett’s albums is general knowledge. It’s written all over the tin.

    Are you sure you are qualified to make comparison with Dylan’s albums? I don’t think you know enough about them. Harper never made a ‘Blood On The Tracks’. He couldn’t get close to that. He tried something that was supposed to be a summary of his life, but it turned out to be a bit of a disaster, “The Dream Society”. I can’t ever play it these days as it’s just too awful.

    Yes, Opher, Geronimo was on the cover. Trouble is, nobody knew why. Perhaps Harper had a cowboys and indians fixation that wasn’t that uncommon with guys of his generation. John Lennon had one too.
    You’d probably have really disliked James Edgar. He’d have probably really disliked you.
    He was a really harsh spoken and vitriolic character, who hated this soft society we’re in now and all the bullshit that goes with it.

    • Oh please Andrew – more vitriol and bile. All pointless.
      Poetry stands on its own. It doesn’t have to be explained. Roy used a number of devices in the poem – puns, polarities and sexual, plays on words – very effective.
      I can understand that you and many others don’t like The Lord’s Prayer. That’s fair enough. It’s your opinion.
      So what’s your point? Dylan is a hugely popular genius and Harper is hardly known and ordinary?
      Once again – your opinion. Mine differs to that. I rate him right up there with Dylan.
      I am extremely familiar with Dylan’s songs and poems. I rate the man highly. I do not class Greek Mythology, of which I am fairly well acquainted thanks, as being comparable to that of early nomadic tribes.
      Blood on the Tracks was a great album but, from my perspective, not in the same league as Dylan’s 6 purple patch sixties albums or Roy’s 5 brilliant 70s albums. It was one of that batch of great albums in the layer below – Planet Waves, Desire and Street Legal.
      As I keep telling you – it all comes down to personal taste. If you judge people on popularity then shite like Robbie Williams comes out on top. You are not the definitive voice on Dylan or Harper. You merely have an opinion like everybody else.
      I knew James very well and witnessed his very sad decline. He was extremely fond of my younger son and took photos of him that he wanted to do some design work with. Sadly that never happened. We got on very well. I liked him. He was quite a lad and I have a few tales that I will not share on this blog. He liked me too. The last time I saw him was at a Harper gig in Liverpool where I gave him a lift on my way back to Hull. It was winter and sub-zero temperatures and he had a sleeping bag and had been sleeping rough. He was going to hitch down the motorway to London and sleep in a field on the way. A huge difference to the early dapper guy from the Kilburn days in the late sixties. He certainly wasn’t a harsh-spoken man at any time when I knew him (spanning a good twenty years? I would imagine). He was amusing and excessive, fun to be with and highly creative.
      Harper’s fixation was never with cowboys and Indians. He yearned, romantically, for the days before civilisation when humans were free, without rules and restrictions. He wanted an unrestrained nomadic life. Not quite the Dylan dream, eh?
      I think it is you that neither understands Dylan or Harper.
      Dylan didn’t exactly throw it all away. He chose to opt out because the pressures were too great and he rejected the expectations put upon him. He has been ducking it right through to now. The Nobel Prize is a classic example. He keeps relatively low key and does his own thing. My theory is that Dylan is a very nervous character who suffers badly from stage fright.

      • You proved proof positive that you know nothing about Greek Mythology. I’ve tested that and got nothing back – it went over your head. Never mind.

        I’m afraid Harper completely failed with his attempt with whatever he was trying to do on that record.
        If it is not explained it will not work. Allegory is bullshit to everybody else but the beholder.
        He said it himself that it wasn’t understood.
        See the book for yourself.

        I think it would be safe to say that Harper is relatively unknown in comparison to Dylan. That’s obvious to anybody.

        You are familiar with some of Dylan’s stuff. Not all, as proved a few weeks ago. ‘Some’ being the operative word.
        You will know pretty much nothing about the world of Dylan’s live performances. This is the “real” world of Dylan. A world where he has reinvented the rules – as Dylan himself see’s it.
        And as you yourself stated that you’ve only seen him once or something, then you’re going to be out of the loop on that.
        However, if you don’t rate ‘Blood On The Tracks’, perhaps the best most personal album ever written, as being part of this ‘purple patch’ (horrible phrase) then you don’t understand Dylan. You’ve bought into surrealism over reality.

        Nobody is the definitive voice on Dylan – not even Dylan – you’d know that if you knew what and where to listen to.
        Tell me – what would that be? Do you know?
        I do, but I’ll let you find that for yourself.

        The Edgar I came across was a rather drunk and boisterous geezer frequenting the Blackpool folk music scene.

        Well Opher, if you think a few records going way back to the 70s matches that of Dylan’s output, then you really do have a problem.
        Dylan’s popularity has got nothing to do with your juvenile Robbie Williams rubbish. It’s got to do with the quality of his records, the quality of his performances.
        That’s something that you really don’t know anything of really, because how many times have you seen him?

        I actually find Harper in many respects to be quite a boring individual. He confirmed that for me certainly with a number of pieces spread throughout his albums, and some of his interviews where he’s come over as a prize bore.
        However, in particular, was his complete lack of effort with his live performance. Its was the same setlist for almost year in year out. I never quite understood that aspect.
        So you’re right, I don’t understand Harper.
        But you’re dead wrong about Dylan.
        I will know where he has sourced some lines and ideas for songs – sources that are very old and completely alien to you, especially having such a poor knowledge of original folk music from the British Isles and Ireland.
        And you do have a poor knowledge – as was evident by your ludicrous claim that the American, Jackson C. Frank was responsible for the UK Folk Music Revival!
        That was one of the funniest things that you ever said.

        No, No, No, Opher. You could not be more wrong about Dylan and ‘I Threw It All Away’. I suggest you actually listen to the song again that you haven’t listened to since 1969, instead of sitting there typing shite.

        What’s this rubbish of yours about “ducking it”.
        The guy has been on tour constantly since 1986. (give or take a few months off ill in 1998).
        His tours since he restarted touring properly following his 1960s blow-out have been ever evolving. The films and tapes testify all that.
        I’ve been to Dylan gigs where on the second night he’s playing a different set to last night, except the encore.
        And then next night, it’s different again. And if there’s any duplicate songs, last night it was acoustic, tonight its electric and tomorrow night it will be on piano. With others he’ll do them rock ‘n roll, or blues, or soul, or country, or reggae.
        The menu and variety is huge. He’s got about 1,000 songs that he can pull out on a whim.

        I don’t think you’ve given your ‘theory’ much thought.
        Has it not crossed your mind why Dylan did not personally attend the Nobel Prize giving?
        This is not the first prestigious international award bestowed upon him.
        He received one from Paris – he attended.
        He received one from Stirling, Scotland – he attended
        He received one from Spain – he attended
        He received another from France – he attended
        There’s a whole list of lesser awards for music, Grammy’s etc, which he also attended.
        Therefore, he is not in the habit of “ducking it” what so ever.

        What you so obviously don’t know is the reason why he did not show up.
        The reason is simple – if you understand Dylan.

        He did not attend because he does not agree with an organisation that awards inventors of weapons of mass destruction and the propagators of death and misery in this world. It didn’t go past him that no sooner had Obama been awarded such a prestigious award, that he immediately launched the biggest nuclear weapons expansion programme the world has ever seen.

        So, there you have it.

        “Ducking It”! I won’t forget that one either in a hurry.
        Man, you’re a classic case, aren’t you.

      • Wasn’t it you who had the cheek to say that I didn’t understand Dylan?
        That was rather a mistake to make on your part wasn’t it?
        So I corrected your error of judgement and you know I am absolutely right and you cannot handle it.

        You think because you drove from Hull to Leeds to see Harper it’s a big deal. I flew from Cyprus twice to see Harper.
        I flew from Jakarta to see Dylan in Singapore (short flight), Hong Kong and London.
        I’ve flown from here to a New York gig.
        I’ve driven all over Europe to Dylan gigs.
        You completely underestimate my degree of appreciation of the guy.
        My music collection is huge. I have easily over 500 concerts, no not on mp3 (hate them) but fan distributed tapes and cdr’s. I get 1st generation copies directly from the tapers.
        I have recorded Dylan myself on at least 30 occasions.
        Several of my recordings are very well known as being representative of some of the best bootlegs.
        That’s a topic I seldom if ever mention for good reason.
        I know by first name terms a few of his biographers.

        I know for a fact that I crushed your “ducking it” theory.
        I know for a fact that I crushed your Nobel Prize theory.

        Thinking about it, you don’t know anything about Dylan since after 1975 or whenever it was that you had to stop buying new records.

        Why are you being such an asshole?

      • I told you giving very good reason why I never liked that mess by Harper.
        Besides there’s loads of people like me who dislike it just as much.
        What’s to get up yourself about it about?
        You asked. I told you.

        You’ll never match wits with me with Dylan. Basically you obviously know fuck all about him his post-1966. That’s obvious to all.
        Your knowledge is 50 years old. Too old.

      • You are beginning to sound silly and pathetic. You don’t know me at all yet you make your pronouncements as if you are the God of Dylan. Big deal.
        Opinionated? To the extreme – but you think it is the only perspective. Sad.

      • Well if your going to make silly comments like “ducking it” and that Nobel Prize nonsense and whatever else, I’ll put you right.
        You’ve got a hell of a problem taking on board fresh information haven’t you?
        Perhaps you should check out some of the Dylan chat rooms and put your theories to the test and see what happens.

        But seriously Opher, you would be hard pressed to come close to my knowledge of Dylan’s recordings and I don’t mean just the normal stuff that you can buy in the shops.
        I will know which exact recording I have where I can find a particular version of any given song. My archive is phenomenal.

      • Only a fool would make statements like that. If someone expresses an opinion that you do not agree with then by all means say, politely, why you disagree and put forward your own views. To arrogantly say that you for 100% know exactly what the real situation is and you’ll put them right is ignorant, stupid and beyond arrogant. So you have a lot of knowledge and a view. Big deal. You also have a nasty side and an unpleasant nature. You might not agree with some statements I make. That’s fine. I’m happy for you to put your evidence forward and have a pleasant discussion. I enjoy that. But when you blast off with rude, coarse language and put yourself forward as some definitive god on all things you are a complete bore and turn-off and become a bully Mr Trump 2.
        I have no doubt that your archive is enormous and your organisation of it fantastic. Your knowledge of Dylan and Hendrix is immense. So what? That demonstrates quite clearly the personality trait that you have developed to an extreme. It is super-geekie. I don’t mind that. I find it interesting. I am impressed. As I said before – we both have similar position on the autistic spectrum. My problem with it is that it has obviously gone to your head so that you believe it makes you superior to other people. That’s sad. You lose sight of what is really important – the music and sharing a joy of it with others. It is not a bunch of dates, data and archives – it is fabulous sounds that bring people together in joint appreciation. In your case it is a bludgeon to bash anyone who dares to express a different opinion to you or is critical of your ‘facts’.
        You keep telling me to put myself right and I keep telling you to look at yourself. We have different views on Trump and Brexit but that is no excuse for your abrasive language. A discussion does not have to be abusive, super arrogant or personal. Where there is no respect there is no purpose to any relationship. I certainly respect many aspects of what you can do – your skills and knowledge – unfortunately you let yourself down big time with your attitude and expression.

      • Originally the reasons for my organising stuff hadn’t much to do with geekieness or autistic anything, more to do with pragmatism.
        It was a necessity so that I could find stuff so that it could be included onto bootlegs that I and an other used to compile and trade with. I did the music, he did the artwork stuff.

        I had (still have) very good recording equipment that caught some excellent recordings over a number of years in locations all over the world.
        My #1 recordings were always Dylan and these were very popular and always sold out very quickly. I made some excellent recordings of him over the years. I haven’t done one of his since 2010. In fact I haven’t done anybody since then. Or should say I have recorded but not distributed.
        But I was quite busy with this stuff from 1987 – 2010.

        My files info would quickly enable me to compile for example, a compilation of all the cover songs that Dylan had performed during a particular tour. They made for quite interesting listening on their own right and proved popular with other fans, too. Particularly when some of the songs have only ever been performed once, twice, thrice by Dylan in his entire career. A fan would be getting very good value for his money. I was compiling compilations that I myself would have wanted to buy, and not simply churning out the usual of concert after concert.

        Some of my recordings were particularly memorable. I did a Who one in 1999 at Shepherds Bush Empire, a fan’s only gig, that did very well and sold over 1,000 copies. It was astonishing sound quality.
        You might have downloaded an mp3 of a Harper show at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow in 2000 during his Green Man tour. That’s my recording. It’s one of the best audience recorded Harper bootlegs you ever heard.
        Most of my recordings were of that quality. The CDR’s sound better than the mp3 version. I distributed that one for free on a Harper fans forum. I never sold on any of my Harper recordings.
        I did though with the big name acts that I recorded.

        However, you question all my organised file stuff with a throwaway “So what?”. The short and sweet of that So what?, is that I’m absolutely confident that I know what I’m talking about in terms of the music. It’s not just a huge jumbled up mess for me as It would be for the vast majority of people, were they fans or not.

        I’m not too sure that your own memory serves you too well.

        Originally, I said that I thought the sound gimmix used on The Lord’s Prayer track were unnecessary. You disagreed there were any ‘gimmix’ and called me ‘cantankerous” and proceeded to term them as ‘musical enhancements’!
        And for some reason only you will know, you decided to take personal ownership of the song as if you had written the thing yourself. Which is sort of preposterous really, isn’t it?

        Then you insisted in getting absolutely anal about the exact genesis of the content of Harper’s allegories used within the song. Allegories that obviously only you and him were ever aware of. In due course immediately discounting the many Dylan songs that I had suggested had all contained more or less the same themes, albeit shorter and each one more detailed, but still pretty much in the same playing field.
        You didn’t like that at all and insisted that if a song didn’t have exactly the same elements of “evolution of mankind” all the way through to “the mistake of civilisation” then I was absolutely wrong with any such assumption.
        However, it’s perhaps plausible to suggest that you actually haven’t listened to Dylan’s 1965 song “Desolation Row” for a very long time as contained within are many allegorical illusions appertaining to “the mistake of civilisation”.

        Furthermore, I’d be interested to learn of your belief in quite how the big bit in the middle between said “evolution” and “the mistake” has been tackled by Harper. That’s a heck of a claim to suggest its all there, all neat and tidy and can’t you see it?, isn’t it obvious? No and no.

        You are quite right too, in that I very much deserved to be thoroughly browbeaten concerning my complete lack of knowledge regarding to true producer/s of some of Pink Floyd’s finest work. Indeed, you were there and oversaw every single waking moment of it all and have got it all down to pat some 45 years or so down the line.
        People like Miles, Nick Hodges, Ian Priston, Glenn Povey, Ian Russell, Mark Blake and no lesser a mortal than Nick Mason himself, can all go home and forget about ever writing another word about the making of Pink Floyd albums from 1968 to 1973.
        Seems to me that you have the best kept secret in rock under wraps there with your claim of the working triad of Jenner – Harper and Pink Floyd. A story that so far has never been told by anybody, including Pink Floyd band members, too. All the too numerous Pink Floyd biographies are completely devoid of the slimmest of details concerning this grandiose production team all producing one and others records. The multitude of Pink Floyd anoraks in particular will certainly wish to learn of both Harper’s and Jenner’s production input into these seminal Floyd recordings, albeit devoid of any mention at all of our intrepid duo in any of the records sleeve notes to date. But I suppose that’s a mere technicality that you would be able to shed light on first and foremost and once and for all.
        I look forward to further details with this.

        Of course, it’s only right that were anybody to have the damned nerve to so much as ever question the validity of such claims, but not just limited to the above claim, then naturally they deserve to be accused of having an “attitude”.

        As Dylan once said, “You have many contacts among the lumberjacks to get you facts when someone attacks your imagination.”

      • I wouldn’t know where to start with all this as some of it is plain ludicrous.
        I only know of one person who is as extreme as you in cataloging in music though I do know of another with scientific info. I can see your reason but it is ultra extreme. But that’s fine with me. I’m nowhere near as excessive but then I don’t do the same as you.
        I have the King Tut on a CDR. It’s very good.
        When it comes to Harper stuff I sat down with him for weeks and have thirty odd C90 tapes of interviews I did with him extensively researching a book on his lyrics that went into great detail on each song and the anecdotes and the life experience that went into the songs. The book resides on my shelf and is 4 volumes in length. One day it will see the light of day. The Lord’s Prayer, as one of my favourites was gone into extensively. I not only saw it recorded but have talked about it with him on many occasions. It has very little in common on any level with the Dylan songs you cited. Desolation Row is probably the nearest and that is nothing like. But that is fine with me if you don’t like it. A lot of people don’t. But you have a habit of belittling anything you personally do not like that is not a pleasant trait.
        In term’s of Floyd I did not say that Jenner was actively involved with Producing Floyd in the 70s. He was there in the Production at Abbey Road and working with Harper in the studio next door. There was a lot of cross-pollination and back and forth in the studio. Obviously the techniques and ideas flowed back and forth. The technical and musical staff were talking. I was only talking to John Leckie the other day about it. This is typical of how you take a minor thing, blow it up out of all proportion and then try to use it as a weapon. What is it with all this dick swinging? Why do you always have to try to make out you’ve done more, are better at, know more and the like and put everyone else down? It is unpleasant and childish. I was there. I saw it. Who documented it for you to read about? Some geek second hand?
        I have had a rich and varied life. I have been privileged in doing lots of things, meeting lots of people, going lots of places, working at a wide variety of jobs here and abroad, and seeing the best in Rock. Some of the things I have done you couldn’t have because those big bands weren’t playing the small clubs in your youth. The Blues guys I saw live were dead by the time you got there. Your experience was different.
        Your life sounds very interesting and varied as well, not that I’d want to swap, and I’m sure you’ve done a lot of interesting things too. Now there will be some experiences you’ve had that are better and some that I’ve had that are better. Who’s comparing? And why try and suggest you are so much better all the time. I find it annoying. You keep crowing away about how much you know and how great you are. It wears very thin. As I keep saying – So What? It’s the music that counts and that ultimately comes down to personal taste.
        I know a lot more about music and have done a lot more than most of my friends but I don’t keep pulling them up on trivia and lording it over them. They soon tell me where to go.

  4. If I didn’t have accurate lists then I couldn’t easily find stuff to make up a bootleg with. It’s that simple. I am one of thousands of guys who used to produce bootlegs. Some of my bootlegs were very good. Some just about average. Depended on my tapes. The best ones made me quite good money.

    I did see a number of Blues guys actually. A whole load when I think about it. I would never have gone to a Son House gig though as I really wasn’t too crazy about that acoustic slide stuff when I was younger. I also didn’t like piano based blues at all. If it wasn’t as loud as possible electric guitars then I wasn’t interested. The acoustic stuff came much later for me. I’m still not that keen on piano blues in general and that’s been a slow process.
    Listening to the hundreds of blues artists that I know today with recordings going back to 1920, to be honest, my favourites are from way back. Therefore, neither of us saw any of them.
    But latterly, for me without doubt, the best electric blues guitar player was Freddie King, and I did get to see him. The other was Roy Buchanan, but I never got to see him.

    It’s all very well for you to wax lyrical about your thousand hours of chat with Harper about the inner machinations and allegorical de-cloaking of The Lords Prayer – but you have entirely forgotten about absolutely everybody else who has ever listened to this.
    I explained quite clearly why it fails for me. It’s too much of a stoner ‘you had to be there’ piece and it certainly does not stand up to too much repeated listening. I’ve forever drifted off somewhere some 10 minutes in as it doesn’t hold my attention. It needed something else musically to carry its weight.
    Hence why its a demo to my ears – something awaiting fruition which never happened.
    But I’m sure his intentions were great. I just wish he’d explained himself a bit more on the record sleeve.
    What’s childish to me is that you insist in waving your freak flag screaming ‘I was there’. Yes you were there. But just by virtue of your presence does not in any way make the song musically better of easier to unwind its inherent convolution. It still remains what it is.

    You said:
    “Now if you had said Pink Floyd I could have seen that ( in reference to similarity to Dylan). Roy and Pete Jenner worked a lot with Floyd and some of the techniques are similar.”

    You went on to explain the above with this:
    “In term’s of Floyd I did not say that Jenner was actively involved with Producing Floyd in the 70s. He was there in the Production at Abbey Road and working with Harper in the studio next door. There was a lot of cross-pollination and back and forth in the studio. Obviously the techniques and ideas flowed back and forth. The technical and musical staff were talking.”

    Whatever “worked with” actually meant. I’ll take you word for it. I’m glad that’s cleared that up then.

    You finished off with this:
    “I was there. I saw it. Who documented it for you to read about? Some geek second hand?”
    Perhaps, you’re right.
    The geek who got it second hand was named Nick Mason. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
    He was the drummer in Pink Floyd. He subsequently wrote a book titled “Inside Out”, published in 2004.

    Oh no, did we really need your personal job history stuff again?
    When did I ever make any mention of this in this post?
    Let me remind you Opher. You wasted about 8 years of your life doing shit jobs until your mid-20s.
    I didn’t and ended up managing hotels on a global basis for the top 3 hotel companies in the world. You were in Hull all that time. The one town, in the same school. I certainly wasn’t.
    There is absolutely nothing to compare Opher. Not the job, not the perks, not the location and not the salaries. I really don’t know why you insist in going here. It will not serve your purpose and perhaps only piss you off with a reminder of your lack of fortitude as a young man and the wasted years and wasted opportunities that occurred during that most precious and life affirming time frame.

    However, in reference to your claims that what I had previously said was “plain ludicrous” – oh, why have you taken it upon yourself to paraphrase me. I really should charge you with all this free “how to write properly” coaching. You’re onto a winner here, Opher and you know it. You’re sucking me dry for all you can get. But you never can put an accurate price on the cost of an education.

    You went on to also say:
    “The song poem was written one evening on an acid trip with a photo of Geronimo that James Edgar had coloured. It captured the thoughts of a man whose nomadic way of life had ended. Lifeboat poem was grafted on at the beginning and Speed Freak – written for the film Made – grafted on at the end”

    FFS Opher! Can we just stop there, right at the point of said word “trip”.
    Does nothing about that wave any flags of concern for you?
    Is everything in Opher’s World completely hunky dory with the genesis of thought employed with the creation of this piece.
    Let me repeat that bit once more, just for my own delectation… “written one evening on an acid trip”.
    Opher….I rest my case.

    • No. None of my early years wasted doing shit jobs. They were the best years of all. Crazy people and times, complete freedom and no obligations. I had a whale of a time and did all sorts. I wouldn’t swap those years for anything. That was as real as anything. I loved it.
      So you equate written on an acid trip with crap? I don’t. I also don’t assume that he didn’t then spend months honing it.
      That’s like saying Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands is crap because of the way it was written. Some stuff comes out quick and is there. Other stuff takes time. Acid unlocks a lot of processes and has produced some excellent creativity. For fucks sake – how many of the best Dylan tracks were written at great speed while he was out of his brains?
      You’ve made your point that you don’t like it. Fine. Lots of people would agree. But there are a number who feel, just like me, that it was the best thing he ever produced.

      • I’m sure that the crazy people were ever so grateful that you preferred to spend your life with them rather than some pursuit of somewhat more advantageous and proactive substance. Yeah, right on!

        Yes Opher, thanks for the info about Acid and its beneficial properties with the creative process.
        That’s why I have previously suggested to you that perhaps it might be a good idea if you subscribed to the use of DMT when you write science fiction stuff.
        However, I think your above statement is somewhat naive.
        I do think that the vast majority of stuff written on an acid trip is crap.
        It’s really more a case of where the genesis of an idea first formed under the influence is brought to fruition at a later stage. Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ being a prime example.

        That’s an extremely subjective take on Dylan’s ‘best works’ being written whilst he was out of it.
        I think it would best to suggest that some particular songs stand up to scrutiny in the cold light of day better than some others or whether or not they translate into live performance. The live performance environment is a great leveler in determining whether a piece stands up or not. Dylan is a very good self-critic and hasn’t had much difficulty purging his own excesses.
        Perhaps a better example of his stream of consciousness writing under hallucinogens maybe ‘Tarantula’, which is not the easiest of reads by any means. I don’t think he’s particularly proud of it.

      • I think Tarantula was written more on Speed that acid.
        The point I was making was that you cannot generalise. The fact that something was written quickly or on acid is no indication of its value. The worth is in the product!

      • I doubt if any of the Dylanologists would agree with you.
        That definitely wasn’t just a bit of speed – there was a lot more going on which indicates something else like DMA or a mixture.

        I’m not too sure about your point about stuff being written quickly. I made no such point. But you had.
        You quite clearly said “the song poem was written one evening on an acid trip”.
        Therefore, what is the reader supposed to make of such information?
        Weren’t you indicating here that the words contained within the piece were written under the influence of acid? (Obviously the musical content followed this.)
        I took your words at face value because you were adamant that you knew what you were talking about.
        That seemingly was my mistake, I should not have digested your words at face value. Which therefore, automatically gives the reader some form of instant dilemma.
        It is therefore apparent that your attempted explanation was about as well conceived and self-explanatory than that of Harper’s piece – with or without acid.
        This above point is actually a very good example as to why I have never considered you to be anything near that of an erudite writer. You lack the principle skill of being able to fully explain yourself, or any given situation anywhere near the accuracy that the reader requires. Although that in itself is a generalisation, too, as this is certainly not true as a continuous issue, however, when lapses of concentration such as the above are present, therefore, contention of interpretation arises for the reader.

        If you look back to your post about Sad Eyed Lady, it was yourself that alluded to such generalisation. Therefore, you’re basically questioning your very own statement here.

        Why do you think I gave Carroll’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’ as an example? He had got the original idea on an acid trip (allegedly). But he certainly did not write any of the book under such influence.
        Whether or not he took 5 hours or 5 years to write the book is irrelevant.

        Dylan has been known to have written (post-1966) songs in around 15 minutes. At least that’s what he said whilst in conversation with Leonard Cohen during a recorded joint interview in the late 1980s. Cohen replied that some songs had taken him 5 years to write. Cohen was also no stranger to indulging in acid and speed and a long list of other pharmaceuticals.

      • From my understanding Roy did write the Geronimo section while inspired by the James Edgar painting on an acid trip. I imagine he made notes or he might simply have had the ideas in his head to write down later. I didn’t quiz him about the details of the process. I was more interested in the content of the poem. He would almost certainly have reworked it and honed it over a period of time at a later date.
        I have seen Roy’s reworkings of poems and lyrics from his notebooks. They can be extensive.
        The time scale was an inference stemming from what you had previously written. I thought you were referring both to the acid and the time taken to write the piece. My mistake.

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