Here you go. As requested: another little snippet from the book. I wrote it as a homage to the brilliant music of someone who I rate not only as a friend but the greatest songwriter and most outspoken singer this country has produced. I really enjoyed writing it and would like to thank everyone for the brilliant reviews. This is the first part of the introduction for that brilliant first album; an album like no other.
Sophisticated Beggar (1966)
Strike label 1966
Peter Richards: producer
Roy Harper: guitars, vocals and writing of all songs.
Paul Brett: guitar
Bert Jansch: guitar
John Rebourn: guitar
Richie Blackmore: electric guitar
Lon Goddard: guitar and the drawing for the cover.
Unknown: drums and organ
The title says it all. Roy saw himself as being outside of mainstream society. He was using his intelligence and creativity to scrounge a living.
He was, and still is, the sophisticated beggar.
Pierre Tubbs produced this album for Strike records. Roy claimed that it was a true garage album because it was recorded in a makeshift studio, converted from a potting shed in Leatherhead. As far as studios go it was a primitive set up and the album was recorded on a basic reVox tape machine.
The story is that a bunch of shady underworld characters were laundering money and they set up Strike Records in order to hide their activities.
Out of Strike Records came this remarkable album which is quite unlike anything his contemporaries had produced.
Nobody seems to remember who exactly played on what. There were no professional notes made. The tape was left to roll and the numbers were mainly one single takes with a minimum of overdubs. Options were limited. The equipment wasn’t up to much. Only one or two of the tracks were worked on and added to – notably the track that was selected as the single and the other chosen as its B-side.
It is surprising and unusual for the time that Roy did not want to include any of the folk blues songs that he had been busking with, not even among the outtakes. All the songs are Roy Harper originals.