Roy Harper with Nick Harper – Royal Festival Hall 2011

So great to see and hear them playing together. Sheer genius.

Today’s Music to keep me IiiInnnnNssssAaaAnNNNnEE – Roy Harper – Black Cloud of Islam

Islam needs to address its misogyny. The roots lie in tribal Arab societies and, just as with fundamentalist Judaism and Christianity, carry the prejudices of that woman-hating culture. It’s time that religion moved into the 21st century.

Roy’s song is not available on Youtube but here is a good cover of the controversial song. This is not a song of hate. It’s a wake-up call!! Oppressed women need supporting.

Roy Harper – the 80th Birthday poem

I wrote this a while back for Roy’s 80th birthday!

Roy Harper – the 80th Birthday poem

We’ve walked many roads

Seen mysteries

And said our piece

We’ve reflected on love

And dreamed

In the music of time

We’ve sought better lives

Voiced objections

And made our stand

We’ve perfected creations

Given all we could

And held nothing back

For, in the end,

Isn’t it in the striving

That we live

                Have lived

                                And still live

                Happy 80th Birthday

Opher 8.6.2021

I wrote this for Roy to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Roy Harper – On Track – Every Album Every Song

Roy Harper must be one of Britain s most undervalued rock musicians and songwriters. For over fifty years he has produced a series of innovative albums of consistently outstanding quality. He puts poetry and social commentary to music in a way that extends the boundaries of rock music. His 22 studio albums 16 live albums, made up of 250 songs, have created a unique body of work. Roy is a musician s musician. He is lauded by the likes of Dave Gilmour, Ian Anderson, Jimmy Page, Pete Townsend, Joanna Newsom, Fleet Foxes and Kate Bush. Who else could boast that he has had Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford and Steve Broughton in his backing band? Notable albums include Stormcock, HQ and Bullinamingvase. Opher Goodwin, Roy s friend and a fan, guides the reader through every album and song, providing insight into the recording of the songs as well the times in which they were recorded. As his loyal and often fanatical fans will attest, Roy has produced a series of epic songs and he remains a raging, uncompromising individual.



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?

Today’s Music to keep me SssSsAaaaNnnnEEe in Isolation – Roy Harper – Work Of Heart

While not being one of Roy’s very Best albums this is still brilliant. I don’t think he ever made a really bad one. Even his worst have great redeeming songs and features.

It’s great to get out one of the ones that I play less than the others and rediscover the gems!!

I think I might have a Roy Harper day and immerse myself. Higher and Higher drawn to the flames. I hope the spirit metaphysic doesn’t put the light out!