Roy Harper
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Sophisticated Beggar (1966), 6/10
Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith (1968), 6/10
Folkjokeopus (1969), 6/10
Flat Baroque And Beserk (1970), 7/10
Stormcock (1971), 7.5/10
Lifemask (1973), 5.5/10
Valentine (1974), 6/10
Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion (1974), 5/10
HQ (1975), 6.5/10
Bullinamingvase (1977), 5/10
Commercial Breaks, 5/10
The Unknown Soldier (1980), 4/10
Work Of Heart (1982), 4/10
Born In Captivity (1984), 4/10
What Ever Happened To Jugula (1985), 4/10
Descendants Of Smith (1988), 5/10
Once (1990), 4/10
Burn the World (1991), 4/10
Death Or Glory (1992), 4/10
The Dream Society (1998), 4/10
The Green Man (2000), 4/10
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Roy Harper was an eccentric English folk-rocker, a self-titled "sophisticated beggar" in the tradition of Hyde Park.

Sophisticated Beggar (Strike, 1966 - Magnum, 1989) and Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith (Columbia, 1968) were the works of a rambling madman who mixed Donovan's tenderness, Syd Barrett's lunacy and David Peel's sarcasm.

Folkjokeopus (Liberty, 1969 - Awareness, 1987 - Science Friction, 2005) was less confrontational and contain his first epic, the 18-minute McGoohan's Blues.

Flat Baroque And Beserk (Harvest, 1970 - Science Friction, 2005) opened with the one-two punch of Don't You Grieve and the eight-minute I Hate The White Man, plus the seven-minute Tom Tiddler's Ground to round up the proceedings. In between there was the delicate Another Day, but it was like a flower in the middle of war ruins.

Stormcock (Harvest, 1971 - Science Friction, 2005), possibly his masterpiece, featuring string arrangements from David Bedford, displayed an eclectic art worthy of Tim Buckley through four lengthy suites: Hors d'Oeuvres, The Same Old Rock, One Man Rock And Roll Band, Me And My Woman. It will remain one of the most daring albums ever recorded by a singer songwriter.

In the meantime, Harper had developed serious health problems. Lifemask (1973) included the 6-minute Highway Blues and the 23-minute spoken-word poem The Lord's Prayer, but it was fundamentally a transitional work.

Valentine (Harvest, 1974) included some of his best songs (Forbidden Fruit, I'll See You Again, Commune, Home) but no sprawling poem.

The live Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion (Harvest, 1974) was a tribute to his own madness and to the psychedelic era.

HQ (Harvest, 1975), featuring Bill Bruford on drums and Chris Spedding on guitar, returned him to his trademark delirious, epic-length pieces but with a hard-rock sound (the 14-minute The Game) and an intensely nostalgic view of England (the seven-minute When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease).

Bullinamingvase (1977 - Science Friction, 2005) had the 21-minute One Of Those Days In England, while opting for a fuller band sound (and guests such as Alvin Lee of Ten Years After and Ronnie Lane of the Faces).

Commercial Breaks, recorded in 1977, would only be released in 1994.

Roy Harper 1970/75 (Harvest, 1978) is an anthology.

The Unknown Soldier (Harvest, 1980) and Work Of Heart (Harvest, 1982) closed a phase in his career, but the following works were mediocre at best: Born In Captivity (Awareness, 1984), What Ever Happened To Jugula (1985), a collaboration with Jimmy Page, the double live album In Between Every Line (EMI, 1986), Descendants Of Smith (EMI, 1988), which is perhaps the best of the 1980s, Once (Awareness, 1990), Burn the World (Awareness, 1991), Death Or Glory (Awareness, 1992), plus assorted live, rare, unreleased and spoken-word compilations. After a period of "mourning", Harper released The Dream Society (Science Friction, 1998) and and The Green Man (Science Friction, 2000).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Gianluca Mantovan)

Roy Harper fu un eccentrico folk-rocker inglese, autonominatosi "sofisticato mendicante" nella tradizione di Hyde Park. Sophisticated Beggar (Strike, 1966 - Magnum, 1989) e Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith (Columbia, 1968) furono lavori di un mattoide errante che univa la tenerezza di Donovan, la lunaticita' di Syd Barrett e il sarcasmo di David Peel. Folkjokeopus (Liberty, 1969 - Awareness, 1987) fu meno paradigmatico e contenne una prima epica della durata di 18 minuti, McGoohan's Blues. Flat Baroque And Beserk (Harvest, 1970) conteneva in apertura l'uno-due Don't You Grieve e gli otto minuti di I Hate The White Man, oltre ai sette minuti di Tom Tiddler's Ground a completamento dell'opera. Nel mezzo la delicata Another Day era come un fiore fra residuati bellici. Stormcock (Harvest, 1971), forse il suo capolavoro, con archi di David Bedford, mostro' eclettismo degno di Tim Buckley in quattro lunghe suite: Hors d'Oeuvres, The Same Old Rock, One Man Rock And Roll Band, Me And My Woman. Rimarra' uno degli album piu' audaci mai pubblicati da un cantautore. Nel frattempo Harper ebbe gravi problemi di salute. Lifemask (1973) incluse i sei minuti di Highway Blues e i ventitre minuti della poesia The Lord's Prayer, ma fu in sostanza un lavoro di transizione. Valentine (Harvest, 1974) incluse alcuni dei suoi pezzi migliori (Forbidden Fruit, I'll See You Again, Commune, Home) ma nessuna poesia irregolare.

Il live Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion (Harvest, 1974) fu un tributo alla sua pazzia e all'epoca psichedelica. HQ (Harvest, 1975) ripropose i suoi pezzi caratteristici, epici e deliranti ma con suono hard-rock (The Game) e un'idea intensamente nostalgica dell'Inghilterra (When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease). Bullinamingvase (1977) aveva i ventun minuti di One Of Those Days In England.

Commercial Breaks, registrato nel 1977, sara' pubblicato solo nel 1994.

Roy Harper 1970/75 (Harvest, 1978) e' un antologia. The Unknown Soldier (Harvest, 1980) e Work Of Heart (Harvest, 1982) chiusero una fase della sua carriera, ma i lavori successivi furono a dir poco mediocri: Born In Captivity (Awareness, 1984), What Ever Happened To Jugula (1985), con Jimmy Page, il doppio live album In Between Every Line (EMI, 1986), Descendants Of Smith (EMI, 1988), forse il migliore negli anni ottanta, Once (Awareness, 1990), Burn the World (Awareness, 1991), Death Or Glory (Awareness, 1992), piu' vari live, rarita', inediti e alcune spoken-word compilation. Dopo un periodo "luttuoso", Harper pubblico' The Dream Society (Science Friction, 1998) e The Green Man (Science Friction, 2000).

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