Roy Harper epitomised the Sixties

Roy Harper epitomised the Sixties.

Looking back to the 1950s, life was extremely drab and conforming. I think of it as being in black and white. It was only towards the end, with the advent of Rock ‘n’ Roll that things started to wake up. But Rock ‘n’ Roll was visceral. It took the intellectual rebellion of the Beat Generation to come up with a real philosophy. There we had it – Zen, dope, sex, Jazz, poetry and the road. A different way of living.

In the sixties the visceral Rock joined with the philosophy of Beat, along with a sacrament or two of psychedelic awakening, to create that unique 60s revolution.

Unfortunately the people who were leading the movement tended to be the musicians and most of them were not equipped to articulate any sound philosophy or direction. But Roy was. He epitomised what the sixties was all about.

It was the civil rights movement and anti-war movement (aimed at Vietnam) that galvanised the youth. It opened our eyes to the fact that our society was not being run for the right reasons and our politicians and businesses were not leading us down the right path. The greed, selfishness and violence were self-evident.

The youth of the day had absorbed the message from Beat poetry that there was a superior, less hypocritical, more fun, and more fulfilling way of living. It couldn’t be just paying lip-service in church, trying to make lots of money, working in a boring career and being a cog in a machine to service a wealthy elite, that, if you played all your cards right, you could join (the carrot). It could be creative, inspirational, individual and fulfilling.

So when Roy, who was steeped in Beat Generation philosophy, and had lived it while on the road, came along with songs like Circle and then the majestic McGoohan’s Blues and I Hate The Whiteman, he had distilled all the elements, made it a British version, and put in words what was in our heads. He was the genuine article.

I think Roy shamelessly rejected the whole aim of Western society with barbed poetry aimed at its warmongering ways, destruction of our natural way of life, its warped values and plastic universe. He wanted something better based on sharing, community, fun, love and fellowship. He hankered after that nomadic hunter-gatherer society with the freedom and closeness to nature that we had lost.

I don’t think that anybody else, apart, maybe, from sixties Dylan, ever got closer. Roy was full on with an intensity and fury that some found hard to take. As a musician he was excellent; as a poet he was outstanding; as a social commentator he was in a class of his own and as an example of what the sixties was all about he was unparalleled. That early Harper was an idealist, an optimist and really thought that by pointing out the gaping problems in society we could build a better world – like so many of us back then. He believed that our little band of freaks was pointing at a better way.

Perhaps it was just a pipe dream?

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Nick Harper at O’Riley’s Hull – Photos

This was Nick with a difference. The first half was a sit down recall of his early days as a child living with his father Roy and mother Mocy at 58 Fordwich Road in Kilburn complete with props and the appropriate gear.

It provided an opportunity for Nick to reminisce about the many, now famous or infamous, people who came to call, to provide anecdotes, talk about them and play some of the incredible songs they were renowned for. It was also a means for Nick to pay tribute to the great musician that is his father Roy Harper.

Thus we were regaled with the wonders of Bert Jansch Strolling Down the Highway, John Renbourn’s medieval music, Jackson C Frank’s incredible Blues Run the Game, Paul Simon’s Parsley Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Davey Graham’s groundbreaking Anji (or Angie as it is sometimes recorded) and Sandy Denny’s beautiful Who knows where the time goes.

Included in this was the song My Friend written by Roy for the departure of Jackson heading back to the States. It is the first time I have heard that performed since 1967. Fabulous. It all took me back. It was where I first met Nick – he must have been all of three!

It was an enthralling insight from which we all learnt a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

The second set was back to Nick at his angriest and most brilliant with great performances of Lies Lies Lies, the Magnificent G7 and Roy’s Highway Blues. The man’s a genius!!

The end of the set, the encore was a version of Moon River – it turns out that Danny Williams was also a denizen of 58 Fordwich Road. The place deserves a Blue Plaque!!

 

Loudhailer Electric Company at O’Rileys in Hull

The spirits of Syd Barrett and Grace Slick were seen cavorting through the light show at O’Rileys as Loudhailer Electric Company went through their repertoire of Psychedelic sounds. Geoff’s guitar was heard to make all manner of mesmerising notes.

They go from strength to strength – a tight unit blending poetic lyrics, performance and great, highly original, psychedelic music. They go from mood to mood with mesmerises sounds and storming crescendos. Fabulous.

Don’t Forget- Nick Harper at O’Riley’s Hull – 58 Fordwych Road Tour tickets – This Sunday 21st April!!

Be there or be square!!
Nick Harper at O'Riley's Hull - 58 Fordwych Road Tour Tickets | ORILEYS LIVE MUSIC VENUE Hull  | Sun 21st April 2019 Lineup

Nick Harper at O’Riley’s Hull – 58 Fordwych Road Tour tickets

ORILEYS LIVE MUSIC VENUE in Hull

Sunday 21st April 2019

7:30pm til 11:00pm

Minimum Age: 16

Delighted to announce Nick Harper at O’Rileys Hull, Easter Sunday 21st April, with a brand new show centred around the house were Nick grew up.

Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

There is so much in this song.

How the media is full of hypocritical reactions to every tragedy – like the Falklands war. The allusion to the Holocaust and the melting down of Jewish bodies to make soap. The way people are driven to hard drugs and suicide. The celebrity Press that distracts us from real issues and feeds us with pictures of the royals. The wealthy establishment that is still raking it in while the rest of us have austerity. The way we are used like beasts of burden.

Elvis is a master of poetic images.

Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

They talk to the sister the father and the mother
With a microphone in one hand and a checkbook in the other
And the camera noses in on the tears on her face
The tears on her face
The tears on her face
You can put them back together with your paper and paste
But you can’t put them back together
You can’t put them back together

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down to pills and soap

Four and twenty crowbars jammy your desire
Out of the frying pan, into the fire
The king is in the counting house, some folk have all the luck
And all we get is pictures of Lord and Lady Muck
They come from lovely people, with their hardline and hypocrisy
There are ashtrays of emotion for the fag ends of the aristocracy

What would you say, What would you do
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap.

Give me the needle
Give me the rope

The sugar-coated pill is getting bitterer still
You think your country needs you, but you know it never will
So pack up yer troubles in a stolen handbag
Don’t dilly dally boys, rally round the flag
Give us our daily bread in individual slices
And something in the daily rag to cancel any crisis

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap

Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We are going
To melt them down
For
Pills
And
Soap

Loudhailer Electric Company at Kardomah94!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOU!!!!!

What a great set with so many really strong new songs!! Psychedelic Rock with poetry and verve!! They really nailed it.

What with that light show it was like the 60s all over again!

The songwriting is epic – Morpheus, Dragons and Nigh Herons!! I can’t wait for the second album!

Working as a four piece works well. Lou’s bass lines are divine and Jeff’s guitar is sublime. There was so much fluency to Jeff’s playing. It took me right back to those early days of West Coast Acid Rock with the likes of Country Joe and the Fish and Jefferson Airplane. He was even adding some real bluesy stuff. Superb. Rich is great on egg (and rhythm guitar) and his bass playing was also amazing.  Lou’s vocals are so strong and she’s a great frontwoman! And Rich gets in with a bit of his poetry too! Rich Walker holds it all together with his drumming. The songwriting is right up there with the best! The result is unique, original and superb!!

Roll over Grace Slick, Barry Melton, Robbie Kreiger and Paul Katner – there’s a new wave of Acid!!

Last night they really enjoyed themselves. It was Lou’s birthday and all the family were there to celebrate so they gave them something to make them glow!! A great night!!

Loudhailer Electric Company are poised to break out into a far wider audience!! They are simply too good to stay on the local scene. I can’t wait for my Opher Sofa at the front at Wembley!!

Here’s a few pics to show you what you missed:

Work in Progress – at Kardomah 94

It’s always a pleasure to see Work in Progress deliver their lively set of polished Americana.

Dangerous Dexter on fiddle is great!

The band features strong lead vocals with a beautiful female second vocal – that in my opinion should feature even more. In fact it would be great for her to take a central role on a couple of songs. That would be nice.

The mixture of great mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bass works very well and really suits the music.

I particularly liked the Johhny Cash (Hurt is an amazing song) and Steve Earle though Roll me Like a Wagon Wheel is my favourite.

Broken – Bob Dylan – an appropriate song for our times!

With the right wing striding arrogantly centre stage with simplistic answers to complex problems. With fascists masquerading as voices of the people. With the environment being hammered and creatures dying by the million, habitats destroyed and species becoming extinct every minute. With people sleeping in the street, sewage running through the streets, while others contemplate another yacht. With wars raging, religious fanaticism and guns ruling the streets. With blood in the mosques, synagogues and churches. With blood in the concert halls, cafes and schools. With right-wing extremism, religious extremism and left-wing extremism. With greed and selfishness ruling the world with the mantra of expansion.

Perhaps everything is broken!

Better set about repairing it!!!

 

Everything Is Broken – Bob Dylan

Broken lines, broken strings

Broken threads, broken springs

Broken idols, broken heads

People sleeping in broken beds

Ain’t no use jiving

Ain’t no use joking

Everything is broken

 

Broken bottles, broken plates

Broken switches, broken gates

Broken dishes, broken parts

Streets are filled with broken hearts

 

Broken words never meant to be spoken

Everything is broken

Seem like every time you stop and turn around

Something else just hit the ground

 

Broken cutters, broken saws

Broken buckles, broken laws

Broken bodies, broken bones

Broken voices on broken phones

Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’

Everything is broken

 

Every time you leave and go off someplace

Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs

Broken treaties, broken vows

Broken pipes, broken tools

People bending broken rules

Hound dog howling, bullfrog croaking

Everything is broken

 

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon – Phil Ochs

How I miss Phil and the biting protest of his tongue. His was a voice that wrangled against the wrongs of his day.

And the speeches of the president
Are the ravings of a clown

If only he had not taken his own life and was still around to comment on the present day political scene. This song is ripe for an update – Here’s to the state of Donald Trump??

In 1965 he wrote this powerful song about the Mississippi and its regime of hate and terror. This was at the time when the KKK were terrorising the black population with the support of the white politicians and police. This was the time where white civil rights protestors were threatened, beaten and murdered and their bodies buried in the swamps (see The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner).

“Here’s To The State Of Mississippi”

Here’s to the state of Mississippi
For underneath her borders, the devil draws no lines
If you drag her muddy river, nameless bodies you will find
Whoa, the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes
The calendar is lyin’ when it reads the present time
Whoa, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the people of Mississippi
Who say the folks up north, they just don’t understand
And they tremble in their shadows at the thunder of the Klan
The sweating of their souls can’t wash the blood from off their hands
They smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Mississippi
Where they’re teaching all the children that they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
There’s nobody learning such a foreign word as fair
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the cops of Mississippi
They’re chewing their tobacco as they lock the prison door
Their bellies bounce inside them when they knock you to the floor
No they don’t like taking prisoners in their private little war
Behind their broken badges there are murderers and more
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And, here’s to the judges of Mississippi
Who wear the robe of honor as they crawl into the court
They’re guarding all the bastions of their phony legal fort
Oh, justice is a stranger when the prisoners report
When the black man stands accused the trial is always short
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the government of Mississippi
In the swamp of their bureaucracy they’re always bogging down
And criminals are posing as the mayors of the towns
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sounds
And the speeches of the governor are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the laws of Mississippi
Congressmen will gather in a circus of delay
While the Constitution is drowning in an ocean of decay
Unwed mothers should be sterilized, I’ve even heard them say
Yes, corruption can be classic in the Mississippi way
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the churches of Mississippi
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust
And the Sunday morning sermons pander to their lust
The fallen face of Jesus is choking in the dust
Heaven only knows in which God they can trust
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

 

In the 70s, with the lying and scandal of Watergate Phil updated the song to Here’s to the state of Richard Nixon – an inspired adaptation. Just think how he would have adapted it for Donald Trump!!

Here’s to the state of Richard Nixon
Where underneath his borders
The Devil draws no lines
If you drag his muddy rivers
Nameless bodies you will find
And the fat trees of the forest
Have hid a thousand crimes
And the calendar is lying
When it reads the present time

(Chorus)
Oh here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon: find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Richard Nixon
Where they’re teaching all the children
That they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred
Are present everywhere
And every single classroom
Is a factory of despair
There’s nobody learning
Such a foreign word as “fair.”

(Chorus)
And here’s to the laws of Richard Nixon
Where the wars are fought in secret
Pearl Harbor every day
He punishes with income tax
That he don’t have to pay
And he’s tapping his own brother
Just to hear what he would say
But corruption can be classic
In the Richard Nixon way

(Chorus)
And here’s to the churches of Richard Nixon (and Billy Graham)
Where the cross once made of silver
Now is caked with rust
And the Sunday morning sermons
Pander to their lust
And the fallen face of Jesus
Is choking in the dust
And Heaven only knows
In which God they can trust

(Chorus)
And here’s to the government of Richard Nixon
In the swamp of their bureaucracy
They’re always bogging down
And criminals are posing
As advisors to the crown
And they hope that no one sees the sights
And no one hears the sounds
And the speeches of the president
Are the ravings of a clown