This 2CD collection has long been awaited. The accompanying booklet is introduced by Roy Harper, explaining the background of the original concept to the arrival of the finished musical compilation. His music has always been sincere and passionate. His lyrics, guitar playing, compositions have included profound observations of the world and life intertwined with personal love songs. Love and lament are often cemented, as Roy says in his writing and singing. He says he was surprised to find that 40% of his recordings were 'love songs'.
This release contains 23 hand-picked and played compositions from Roy Harper covering 1966 to 1992. Reworked and digitally engineered, many or most will be familiar in their original form to his admirers. Starting with 'Black Clouds',an observation of the changing sky reflected in life, through the wonderful 'All you Need Is', lost friend in 'East of the Sun', the everpresent 'Francesca' forever lost apart from memory into the softly sung 'North Country'. There are so many moments of sheer love and heartache in these numbers that are so well explained in Roy's accompanying song notes. Other highlights are the poignant 'South Africa', the affection between brothers on 'Davey' and the final 'Forever',( containing lines "Don't you think we're forever", "Don't ever leave me girl-oh no".) Relevant to us all. The tracks are beautifully 'resculptured' (Mr Harper's words) and delivered with the mastery of an artist with his hallmark vocal craft and guitar playing.
Some numbers have been presented in DVD form on 'Beyond the Door' and 'Legends' in obviously different form but with informative and humourous introductions (e.g. 'Commune', 'Another Day', 'Hallucinating Light',) and are highly recommended.
There is not a dull track on this compilation of CDs. The booklet contains full lyrics as well as discographical details. Longstanding colleagues David Bedford, Jimmy Page, Henry McCullough, Chris Spedding, Ronny Lane are contributors, no doubt due to their affectionate appreciation of this one man rock and roll band.
This is, apparently, the start of Roy Harper's ambition to re-issue his material. This would be an appropriate movement to collect his works. This is marvellous and a great collection of songs from a great man. Thoroughly enjoyable and unmissable. Spread the word.
P.S. This dropped through my letter box whilst Roy was being interviewed on BBC Breakfast by Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams. I never dreamt 40 years ago he would do this. He was his usual perplexing self, explaining the older migrant age pre digital and pre Dansette. Not a man to interview easily. They looked perplexed. Great. What a man.