Roy Harper - ‘Songs Of Love And Loss’(October 07, 2011)
Few musicians reach ‘icon’ status in their genre, fewer still truly deserve the accolade, one who does is Roy Harper. Never compliant to any models of musical conformity, always true to his principles, Harper is a true innovator who consistently works in his own way and constantly roams his own unique road through folk music. And now, as part of “... a long time ambition”, Harper has selected “a dynamic mix ... together in just their own context” and released ‘Songs Of Love And Loss’ - an iconic two-disc, 23-track anthology of songs filled with love and lament.
This personal omnibus encompasses a significant portion of Harper’s huge raft of music with heart poured into every word. Importantly, this selection includes songs from his early and later albums. The first volume ranges from the inscrutable, early guitar-backed poetry of ‘Black Clouds’, ‘All You Need Is’ and ‘Little Lady’ to the gentle melodic delights of ‘Girlie’, ‘Francesca’ and ‘North Country’. Volume two includes further classics - the delicate character of ‘Another Day’, plus the haunting essence of ‘South Africa’ and ‘Hallucinating Light’. There is the touching intensity of ‘Sleeping at the Wheel’ and the enthralling power of ‘The Flycatcher’ perfectly matching Harper’s vocals with Dave Gilmour’s guitar.
This compilation stretches back across his album catalogue from ‘Sophisticated Beggars’ of the mid-sixties to the early-nineties ‘Death or Glory?’. Together, these fragile yet potent receptacles of Harper’s spellbinding reflections of life-experience and raw feeling stand testimony to his unique style and approach
Everyone has favourite Harper tracks often because they evoke magical memories. For many, his songs are the soundtrack to their lives. For me it’s the lyrical muse encapsulated in ‘East of the Sun’ and the reflective sadness of ‘I’ll See You Again’ with David Bedford’s haunting orchestral backing. And I’m pleased to say that the glorious ‘Naked Flame’ is also included - pure unadulterated Roy Harper.
This is one album you must add to your collection.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll