Roy Harper albums – my own ratings

Roy Harper albums – my own ratings


Before I start to indulge myself in assessing the merits of Roy’s output, which I fully recognise is a potential disaster from the very beginning (and would probably change day to day – or following another listening); I first need to clarify a few points.

These are my very own subjective judgements. I fully realise that everybody else has their own preferences, all equally valid.

I’m sure your own ratings are based on a number of factors – your personal preferences for genres of songs, the time when you first discovered Roy, relating periods in your life to sentiments in the songs, the musicality of a piece – and a host of other reasons.

With me, the songs that really matter are the ones that delve into social matters. I love poetry and the ideas. I love the epic songs (not to say that I do not rate the others as well).

The other point to note is that I do not believe there has been a bad album. I just like some more than others.

I just thought it would be fun to have a go and might stimulate everyone else to disagree. It might also get some of you delving into your collection for a replay. It did with me.

So let the fun begin:


Album Rating Why
Sophisticated Beggar 8  A great album. Has a nice feel to it. Stand out tracks – Legend, Forever and China Girl.
Come out fighting Ghenghis Smith 9 As an eighteen year old in the midst of A-Levels I really related to this. The poetry and philosophy. Circle was great.
Folkjokeopus 9 Should have been a ten but for me the production let it down. McGoohan’s Blues, She’s the One and One for Al(l) are amazing.
Flat Baroque and Berserk 10 Fantastic album – I Hate the Whiteman and Another Day, Tom Tiddlers Ground and East of the Sun.
Stormcock 10 I’d give this one 11. Four superb masterpieces. Me and My Woman is incredible.
Lifemask 10 Has to be a 10 just for the brilliance of The Lord’s Prayer. But there is also All Ireland, Highway Blues and South Africa. – Brilliant
Valentine 8 Had some highlights such as Male Chauvinist Pig Blues, Commune. I’ll See You Again and Twelve Hours of Sunset but lacked a real epic song.
Flashes from the archives 9 I love Flashes – I was there at the gigs and it captures that for me. I wish he would do an up to date version of Kangaroo Blues.
HQ 10 A superb album – one of his best – The Game, The Spirit Lives, Hallucinating Light and Cricketer – sublime.
Bullinamingvase 10 One of those Days in England – another epic – plus These last Days, Naked Flame and Cherishing the Lonesome – Perfecto.
Unknown Soldier 9 Short and Sweet, The Fly Catcher and the Unknown Soldier – a great album
Born in Captivity 8 Love these acoustic versions of Work of Heart, Drawn to the Flames and No Woman is Safe
In between every line 9 I love this album – great live versions that capture the moment – I like the continuity too.
Whatever Happened to Jugula 8 Hangman, Elizabeth, Frozen Moment and Twentieth Century Man were great – but it did not quite work for me. I think I was expecting something more.
Work of Heart 8 Work of Heart almost makes it as a masterpiece but is not as strong for me as The Lord’s Prayer or Me and My Woman. Then you have Drawn to the Flames and I still care.
Descendants of Smith (Garden of Uranium) 9 Garden of Uranium, Desert Island, Pinches of Salt and Still Life – but lacks a real walloping song.
Loony on the Bus 8 Love that riff in Loony On The Bus. Then there’s Ten Years Ago, The Flycatcher and Sail Away.
Once 8 Once and Black Cloud of Islam make this for me.
Burn the World 9 A brilliant single – and we are burning the world.
Born in Captivity 2 (Unhinged) 9 Great Live album (missing Short and Sweet off the tape??)
Death or Glory 8 The Fourth World, The Tallest Tree, Miles Remains, On Summer’s Day – all great but lacking an epic.
Commercial Breaks 8 Interesting version of Ten Years Ago, Too Many Movies, The Fly Catcher and Sail Away.
Live at Les Cousins 9 A doorway into the Roy of 1969 – a little tentative but superb. A piece of history.
Heavy Crazy 10 Atmospheric live album with some great versions of old favourites.
BBC Tapes – 1-6 9-10 Fabulous insight into Roy live in the studio from the 60s through to 78.
Poems, Speeches, Thoughts and Doodles 8 Roy the poet – loved these.
Dream Society 8 These Fifty Years, Broken Wing, Songs of Love and Drugs for everybody
Green Man 8 The Green Man is superb – then the Monster.
Royal Festival Hall 8 A great live album and memento of a superb evening.
Today is Yesterday 8 A compilation of outtakes from the first album and some singles and rarities. Interesting to me.
Beyond the Door 8 Good live material
Man and Myth 8 This won a lot of awards and is a great album – Time is Temporary, the Enemy and Cloud Cuckooland
Live at the Metropolis 9 A superb live album. More controlled.
Songs of Love and Loss 9 A collection of love songs.
East of the Sun 9 A great compilation of love songs
Counter Culture 9 Another great compilation
From Occident to Orient 7 A rip-off compilation (Can’t fault the music)
Hats off 7 A rip-off compilation


The only ones dropping below an 8 are the two rip-off compilations that Roy had nothing to do with.

What an incredible catalogue of brilliance.

I wonder how you’d rate them?

I'd like to hear from you...

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