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:
|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?