Thursday, May 6, 2010

Classic Album Review: Roy Harper's Stormcock, a unique masterpiece of unrivalled grace and beauty

You may ask why I am bothering to review a 1971 album by an artist who only serious folk rock fans would have heard of? I could write a blog just to answer this simple question.

This album is indisputably one of the greatest (folk) rock albums of all time by the artist who has for years been referred to as "Classic Rock's Best Kept Secret"! Of course this does not by any means suggest that Roy Harper is an obscure musician. He has uncredited playing role in some of Led Zeppelin albums and Jimmy Page admired Roy Harper for not selling to commercial temptations and wrote the Led Zeppelin song "Hats off to Roy Harper". And of course Pink Floyd famously asked him to do the lead vocals for the song "Have a Cigar" in their phenomenal Wish You Were Here album.

Stormcock however is a once in a generation gem and Roy Harper's best ever work. It was Roy Harper's fifth album and originally released in 1971. The best way to describe this album is to simply state that every serious music fan from Bob Dylan's folk rock to Led Zeppelin's harder sound to Pink Floyd's psychedelic genius would fall in love with this album, only if they'd get the chance to listen to it.

Roy Harper manages to melt his intelligent and meaningful lyrics into his beautiful voice and great but simple acoustic guitar melodies. The album's chaotic structure (the two longest songs have different sections) makes it simply perfect. Jimmy Page plays in one of the songs with Roy Harper and the lyrics deal with a variety of topics such as hypocrisy of religion as well as love and war!

The jewel in the crown is nevertheless the epic love song "Me and my Woman". I must confess I have listened to this song at least a million times and and am yet to find the right words to describe its beauty and grace.

The album was digitally remastered and released in 2007. Whilst almost all digitally remastered albums from the 60s and 70s truly kill the original intended feel of the work, this remastered version is in fact very good and I have even purchased it!

If you are a serious music fan, you must listen to this album. It's grace and beauty will spellbound you for the rest of your life. Stormcock is a unique never to be repeated masterpiece and is undoubtedly one of the greatest albums of all time.