Review by Mark Hughes for DPRP Mag – Opher Goodwin — Roy Harper: On Track… Every Album, Every Song book

I do enjoy reading the reviews for the book. Gives me a boost! Thank you to all who leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Means a lot!!

Opher Goodwin — Roy Harper: On Track… Every Album, Every Song [Book (157 pages)]

country: UK

year: 2021

Opher Goodwin - Roy Harper: On Track... Every Album, Every Song

info:

 sonicbondpublishing.co.uk

Mark Hughes

Another title in the rapidly growing list of books published by SonicBond, this time featuring original maverick and friend to a guitar rock god or two, Roy Harper.

As a long-standing Harper fan I know that tackling his discography is not a task for the faint-hearted. With albums going in and out of print, reissues, alternative versions and limited editions, there is a lot to get to grips with. Thankfully Goodwin handles everything with aplomb, clarifying where extra tracks on various re-releases originally stemmed from and where they fit into Harper’s recording chronology. It makes it easy to disentangle the frequently messy and confusing slew of releases from a prolific writer.

Of course, it helps that Goodwin has been friends with Harper since 1967, just after the release of Harper’s surprising debut album Sophisticated Beggar; surprising in that it eschewed the folk and blues numbers that Harper had gained a reputation for from his busking and folk club performances and comprised all-original material. Perhaps more startling was that it also featured a full band in places, not what the folk crowd that had primarily been his audience up to that point had been expecting. These were the first signs that Harper would stick to his own plans and not be pushed into doing what others necessarily wanted or expected.

What will be alien to modern bands is the fact that Harper’s first two albums, released on different labels, were both commercial failures. Yet the musical environment of the time meant that it was the music that mattered and the lack of commercial appeal was not considered a black mark against the artist. He found a longer-lasting home on Harvest Records for his third album, Flat Baroque And Berserk, the first of seven essential albums he recorded for the label over the next decade.

Goodwin’s personal memories and analysis of the songs and albums adds a lot to the book and offer insights that keep things interesting, more than some other titles in the series in being a sterile list of songs. Harper was never an artist that was likely to trouble the singles chart but he did consistently release such items. Although a lot of the songs unique to the format, particularly from the earliest years, have been compiled and re-issued, his b-sides remain some of the hardest items to locate for the collector. In that respect this book is a valuable guide to what was released, and in some cases what has not been released, both of which can be quite frustrating for the searching completist!

I would have liked to have seen a bit more on the live Roy Harper as, despite the brilliance of the studio output, it was on stage that Harper excelled. As at least a couple of the official live albums were assembled from a multitude of recorded concerts, there is potentially a lot of recorded material that remains locked in the vaults. However, considering that recording details and locations were omitted from Inbetween Every Line as all the tapes were mixed up and it wasn’t deemed necessary to sort them out, it could be a major task sorting them out if, indeed, they still exist.

Despite his long recording career, there doesn’t appear to be much studio material left languishing in the vaults and it seems increasingly unlikely that Harper will return to the studio to record a new album, despite how well his last album, 2013’s Man And Myth was received. So it is from these putative live archives that any future releases will presumably be drawn.

As such, this volume can be assumed to be as complete a record of the musical legacy of one of Britain’s finest and most idiosyncratic singer-songwriters as you are likely to find. Written in a relaxed and enjoyable style, it is an easy-to-read volume that will introduce, and re-introduce, the reader to the delights of the Harper catalogue. I certainly dug out a few of his lesser-played albums from my collection and listened to them in a new light after reading the book. And if that is not recommendation enough, I don’t know what is.

Now, back to searching for the missing items. Anyone know where I can find Goodbye Ladybird?

Do you REALLY think there was no political pressure???? 126 fines! 83 people fined! Johnson was there with them at many of those events!!

The Masons is big in politics and the police.

Javid’s brother ran the MET investigation.

They put pressure on Durham police to investigate Starmer at a work meeting (as if that is in any way comparable!!)

WE ARE BEING MANIPULATED AND DUPED !!!!!!!!

Buffy St Marie – My Country ‘Tis of thy People You’re Dyin’ – Passionate song about the genocide of the Native American Indian.

Opher's World

Buffy St Marie – My Country ‘Tis of thy People You’re Dyin’ – Passionate song about the genocide of the Native American Indian.

buffy_sainte-marie

Buffy St Marie was a full-blooded Native American Indian. Her passion shows in this articulate elegy concerning the plight of the Indians and the lies and genocide that was inflicted upon them.

An incredible piece of writing! I do not believe a stronger or more passionate song has ever been written! This is the best!! Nobody with a heart could fail to react.

“My Country ‘Tis Of Thy People You’re Dying” was written by Sainte-marie, Buffy.

Now that your big eyes have finally opened
Now that you’re wondering how must they feel
Meaning them that you’ve chased across
America’s movie screens

Now that you’re wondering how can it be real
That the ones you’ve called colorful, noble and proud
In your school propaganda, they starve…

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Native American Indians – A story of genocide and betrayal.

Opher's World

Native American Indians – A story of genocide and betrayal.

 

As a young boy I was brought up on Westerns. The red Indians were savages who attacked settlers and stage coaches with the intent of scalping everybody. They whooped and were quite stupid. They rode around while the cowboys shot them. We used to play cowboys and Indians in the streets. The cowboys had rifles and the Indians had bows and arrows. It was seen as a fair fight.

It was a portrayal that bore only scant resemblance to the truth.

The Native American Indians were a disparate group of tribes. They, along with the entire indigenous population of South America, have, determined through DNA analysis, descended from just seventeen breeding males. At some point these intrepid individuals made the hazardous journey across the Bering Straits into Canada. They probably originated as a band of hunter/gatherers; a group of…

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South of Easter – a story

South of Easter

Mau Rata sat himself down on the couch to explain the events that had been passed down through time by his ancestors.

‘The first tribe settled on Rapa Nui having crossed over a thousand miles of ocean from East Polynesia. Their safe arrival at land heralded as a gift from the great god Make-make. The gift was perfect – a land of plenty, of water, trees, birds and animals. There were eggs, meat and fruit aplenty. It generated much rejoicing. Life was easy.

Their first Anki insisted they give thanks to Make-make and honour their ancestors by building the Moai. The massive statues were carved from the volcanic rocks in the quarries and many trees were chopped down with which to roll them to their sites of erection. Much hard work and industry was required.

The life of ease was soon replaced by the toil of construction and transport, but Make-make was content and the ancestors were suitably honoured. Life on Rapa Nui was pleasant and the tribe prospered and grew. Many Anki came and went and always there was the pressure to produce more Moai for Make-make required appeasement and there were times when the rainfall was slight, the harvests slim and hunting more difficult.

As time passed the trees began to thin out as more and more were used to transport the huge Moai. With the thinning of the trees the soil began to wash away and the crops could not grow, the bird and animal populations decreased and hunting dried up, but there were still plenty fish in the sea.

More importantly, the water became scare. Without the trees the rain was not retained. Life became progressively harder.

The Anki saw this as the anger of Make-make and urged even greater efforts in the making of Moai. Surely if sufficient effort was put into producing Moai Make-make would be pleased, the rains would return and bring back the birds and wildlife; life would be easy again.

Feverishly they carved the rocks in the quarries and the last trees were felled in order to move them to their sites. On the day when the last tree fell, Hotu Matu’a paused with his stone axe, thought for a moment as he stared over the barren surface of their denuded island, and wondered. It was only a brief pause. Wielding the flint axe to good effect he soon brought the very last tree to earth.

The last Moai was moved to its position but there were no more trees on which to roll more Moai, so many were abandoned in the quarries and further carving was halted.

Now life was hard and cruel. There was no shade from the relentless sun. Water was scarce. There were no crops or fruit, no meat or eggs. There was no wood to build canoes or branches to make spears. Fishing became hard. People starved. There were roving bands of cannibals to hide from.

In disgust they began to topple the statues.’

Population Brainwashed by Tory Propaganda from Scum Newspapers

The relentless stream of Tory propaganda from newspapers like the Express, Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph is geared to brainwash the population. It makes a sham of democracy.

John Peachey sent me through this snippet from Andrian Chiles on Radio 5 that clearly illustrates the point.

We are living in an increasingly difficult time of state control moving towards a one-party state. The media controls the minds just as it does in Russia.

Attachments area

Opher Goodwin

Growing Old – a story

Growing Old

May was the cruellest month, the time when hope still tinged the minds, before we all gave up.

At first we had welcomed the massing clouds. How wrong we were. There was no benevolence to be found in their false promise, they did not offer respite or auger a cure – far from it.

A gale blew out the blackened sky ripping off roofs, wrenching dead trees from the ground, hurling deadly missiles. Rain fell in torrential sheets as if a waterfall. Some titan had overturned her bath upon the world. The water roared off the parched ground, rushing in torrents, rearing into monstrous waves, turning roads into raging rivers, surging through the streets, carrying all before it. Cars and people were swept away. Debris crashed into buildings and then the houses themselves began to collapse before the gigantic force of this tsunami from the heavens.

The storm passed. The clouds dispersed. The sun shone with its usual searing intensity. The water retreated. Steam began to rise.

Survivors emerged from their broken homes, eyes wide, faces frozen in horror, staring around them at the devastation. Moving like robots, not knowing what to do, they began slowly picking through the wreckage, vainly searching for relatives or neighbours. Their town had disappeared. Everywhere was ruin. What had been roads and houses were now heaps of junk. In slow motion they began moving debris, searching for the living, knowing that it was pointless. Some wailed in anguish but nobody comforted them or paid them heed. Most simply worked in methodical isolation, minds buried deep within.

That was the day hope died.

They knew no help would come. The disasters were too many. Theirs had been the deluge. For others it had been the fires, the floods or simply the heat.

The world was beaten.

They buried what dead they could find and salvaged anything that might be of use. The sun had already baked the ground into hexagonal bricks.

They huddled together in whatever buildings were left intact. Nobody talked. There was little to eat. From force of habit they collected water in all containers they could find. They knew the pools would soon dry up. Water was the most precious commodity. The birds and vegetation had already succumbed to the relentless drought that scorched the ground. No livestock had survived, no crops could be grown. Water was worth more than diamonds, yet it had been water that had finally done them in.

Everybody knew that it was over. The future lay before them as an endless torture. Maybe the dead were the lucky ones?

Gradually, the realisation coalesced. They could not stay. There was no future to be had among these ruins. People began muttering together, arguments broke out as the despair and hunger exerted itself.

Nature had turned against them. There was now no welcome cloud to be seen. Stragglers began collecting their scant possessions and trudging off towards London.

How sad to live long enough to witness the end.

Levelling up!!

What does that mean?? Another Johnson meaningless slogan – like oven-ready, get Brexit done, global Britain, world-beating – all meaningless words dreamed up to form images in simple peoples’ heads.

They won over loads of working-class northerners with their empty promises of glorious futures with Brexit – ALL LIES!!. They now want to continue to beguile the gullible with this absurd notion of LEVELLING UP!!

What does that mean? Are they planning to finance the impoverished north (starved of funds) and bring it up to the level of the south? No way.

Are they planning to level up the poor with the wealthy? No way.

They have no real intention of actually levelling up – far from it. The wealthy have never had it so good. The south is doing great.

What they care about are votes. Votes mean power. Power means wealth.

If they can buy silly people off with words that’s great!

If they can distract from the mess they have been making, the Russian connection, Partygate, Tax loopholes, Brexit mess-ups, second salaries, illegal lobbying, sex scandals, pornography in the commons, cash for peerages, backhanders and illegal donations, wallpaper and holidays, sleaze, corruption, incessant lies……………..

LEVELLING UP – PIGS MIGHT FLY.

The British Empire

The British Empire

From the shores of this small island,

Reaching out with armies to embrace the whole world,

From the Falklands, through the USA, Canada, the Caribbean,

Africa, India, China, Indonesia, and the Philippines

to Australia and New Zealand,

Great Britain ruled.

The greatest Empire the world has ever seen.

The tentacles of that empire

Probed, exploited, subjugated and menaced.

Its power was extent.

It sent forth its mighty navy.

It invaded, deposed and laid claim.

It deployed its superiority and arrogance

Through its technology and attitude.

A sense of privilege and worth,

It conquered,

Divided and ruled.

With armies of bureaucrats it controlled.

It plundered the world

Bringing back the spoils

To build its stately homes,

To finance its servants and lavish lifestyle,

With fashion, banquets and balls.

To finance its great armies

And maintain its domination.

Yet little, if any, of this vast plunder

Was wasted on the populace of Great Britain.

The public were sentenced to poverty,

Gruelling labour in field and factory,

A life of penury with great penalty

And heartless application

Should they rebel,

Or question their position.

For we were the cannon fodder,

Worthless, expendable,

Without a vote,

No power and no hope.

Brainwashed in schools

To worship mighty God,

King and country

And wave our union jacks on Empire day.

The Empire was a product of the elite,

For the benefit of the elite.

While we, the people, were exploited

As heartlessly as any slaves.

The British Empire

Swaddled the world in pink.

It should have been red –

Red with the blood

The blood of ordinary folk,

Of battlefields,

Of the whipped slaves in the sugar plantations!

Or at least blue with aristocratic blood,

The blue blood of arrogant rulers,

Of those who populated the Public Schools

And assumed superiority.

But it was pink.

The delicate feminine colour

Of charm and romance.

A disguise

For a sinister vehicle of oppression,

Within and without.

All Empires crumble.

But the same privileged elite

Maintain their position,

Deploy their power

And still reign supreme.

Opher – 29.12.2020

Thus it is everywhere to this day. Just because the Empires are less obvious does not mean they do not exist or are not as ruthless. Privilege maintains privilege. Equality is a myth.

I am a Barcode

I am a Barcode

I’ve become a barcode,

A commodity.

I sit upon a shelf

And dream of being free.

My dreams are sold

As merchandise

Alongside aftershave

And forbidden rice.

I’m a product of

The twenty first century.

All is bought

Nothing’s for free.

Everything has a price

But no worth.

Equipped with a price tag

From the moment of its birth.

I’ve become a barcode,

A commodity.

I sit upon a shelf

And dream of being free.

Opher – 6.12.2020

The whole planet is up for sale, every tree, fish and insect has a price.

Pay enough and you can have a pet whale!

Every forest is there for profit, every chimp and rhino.

Every idea has value.

Everything we do is bought and sold.

There are businessmen wanting to bribe politicians to sell the future.

My barcode is evident in everything I do. I have no other purpose.