Roy Harper was a law unto himself -establishing himself as a flower warrior who took the responsibility of gauging the rising tide of the revolution with his fingerstyle poetry. Roy bled the system and washed the streets with shades of red that changed colour with every season. A leader in philosophy and a brilliant songwriter and poet in music, Roy gave England a heritage above the cricket and football with loyal acoustic assistance from pre Zep Jimmy Page. After a teenskiffle with his brother's band De Boys, the real root of Harper came out fighting in 1964 performing alongside John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page & Ronnie Lane. Roy also performed frequently at the Soho Folk Club 'Les Cousins' where the hippies warmed to his epic "Circle", later presented at the 1968 summer free concert in Hyde Park. It was at 'Les Cousins' where he was hijacked for his 1966 poetic debut Sophisticated Beggar which pre-discharged "Take Me into Your Eyes" / "Pretty Baby". More aptly Return of the Sophisticated Beggar was Roy's rustic busker contribution that breathed through the esoteric shimmers of "China Girl", "Gold Fish", "Legend" and "Big Fat Silver Aeroplane".
The album assisted by ex Tintern Abbey guitarist Paul Brett is a reflection of Roy's past through the trickling "Blackpool" or his electroconvulsive military discharged "Committed". During the sprouting of his "Midspring Dithering" single Roy noosed the subculture with his extensive "Come out Fighting Genghis Smith" and esoteric 11min "Circle" under the scrooge production of Shal Talmy. By 1969 the fruit of his epics were utilised on Folkjokeopus, (album honed individualism) which included the 17-min "McGooghan's Blues" ode to actor Patrick McGoohan - TV series The Prisoner. Adorned with Celtic charisma Harper's poetic stance created a mentor for the rising 'Flowerpower Generation' which included the likes of Floyd's Gilmour; Purple's Glover & Toni Visconti? By 1970 Roy signed to 'Harvest' and released his astounding Flat, Baroque, And Berserk reflecting the eye of a tiger, profoundly exercised on the startling "I Hate the White Man" and charming "Tom Tiddler's Ground" with Visconti on recorder.
Flat, Baroque, And Berserk also milks the soul on the dreamy "Another Day" a breath of incense and Moroccan sperm. Ex Nice Keith Emerson featured un-credited on the surging "Hell's Angel" backed by Zep drummer John Bonham with Roy giving stick to the wah wah attached to his acoustic guitar. Roy also gave seed to the stirring "Too Many Movies" and cloudy "Another Day".
After the 1970 'Bath Festival' Zeppelin paid tribute to Roy on their "Hats off to Roy Harper", a Bukka White steal that appeared on Led Zeppelin 111. The existential 1971 Stormcock with its 13min "Me and My Woman" is really the ultra sonic flow of all that have found and lost love or still looking for it. The intrinsic depth of the album was enhanced by the guitar work of Jimmy Page under pseudonym 'S. Flavius Mercurius and largely thanks to Steve Broughton and the hanging gallery of David Bedford's floral endowments. The psychedelic album also conceived the introspective "Hors O' Douvres" and improvised excursions of "One Man Rock And Roll Man" that found exuberance when performed live.
The following year Gollum crippled Roy's circulation to the point of virtual collapse but Roy recovered and made his acting debut playing Mike Preston alongside Carol White in John Mackenzie's film Made. The soundtrack for this film appeared as Lifemask, followed by Harper's unaccredited appearance in Zeppelin's movie The Song Remains The Same. Roy truly believed that his 1973 Lifemask was his last will and testament, engraved through the mummified "Bank of the Dead"/ "Little Lady". Roy's tribute "South Africa" veered away from the animosity of the times steering towards a love-laced innuendo. The aggressive "Highway Blues" and politico "All Ireland" carry an olive branch for those with hippy hopefulness.
Harper's romantic Valentine, the ultimate Hippy love legacy was released on Valentine's Day, in 1974 and featured contributions from Page celebrated at London's 'Rainbow Theatre' with Page, Bedford, ex Jeff Beck Group Max Middleton keyboards, Ronnie Lane bass & Keith Moon drums. The tranquil Valentine with Page in acoustic halcyon spun back to the relish of poetry with its resurrection qualities that cut and heal with soothing visions. Roy's fly fishing stealth brandished forward on the ambient attired "Twelve Hours of Sunset" while aspirations of Flowerpower are epitomized on the Nordic "Commune", a song that leaves you naked in a field of daisies. Page precision crystallises the acoustic "Che", which harkens to Al Stewart's "Ivich" and "Room of Roots" where Jimmy boy also lent a hand. "North Country" has sketches of Dylan but far more fragrant. Shortly afterwards the live Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion displayed the poetic sincerity of the Harper eloquence like no other before him. During Roy's US encounters between 1975 & 78 he assisted Floyd by taking the vox on Wish You Were Here's "Have a Cigar", largely due to Waters losing his voice on "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". Roy also co wrote "Short and Sweet" which featured on Gilmour's solo. Roy's 1974 HQ featured the brass Grimethorp Colliery Band plus the supergroup Trigger comprising ex Vulcans Chris Spedding, Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, ex Sharks Dave Cochran bass, ex Yes Bill Bruford, with Floyd's Gilmour returning the debt. This hallucinating album (awarded 'Record of the Year' in Portugal 1975) illuminates the John Snow & Jeff Boycott innuendo "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease". 'Almost prophetic, the ballad could well be advocated to the colonial Ian Smith of Rhodesia'.
Roy was the trapping of Lord Buckley, set free by the spirit of Nelson's plea ("South Africa"). Between 1975 & 78 Roy slept on the beaches of California in true hippie fashion, while brothers of the same mould bathed in neon splendour. By 1977 Roy launched the orchestral Bullinamingvase assisted by a band called Chips, notwithstanding Greenslade keyboardist Dave Lawson and Grimms/ Plainsong guitarist Tony Roberts-the lengthy "One of Those Days in England". The controversial "Watford Gap" ('Watford Gap, a plate of grease & crap') was later removed. Also to guest on the album was ex Ten Years After Alvin Lee / BJ Cole / Percy Jones and Paul & Linda McCartney. After a bleak attempt at the Unknown Soldier (last 'Harvest' album) Roberts joined Floyd for The Wall and Roy returned passion on the well-charged Once. Kate Bush featured on "The Unknown Soldier" while Roy played on her 1980 "Breathing" Roy's 1984 Born In Captivity, initially Work Of Heart was ranked by the 'Sunday Times' as 'Album Of the year'. At this stage Roy was travelling with Page as The Macgregor's which conceived Whatever Happen To Jugula ? Roy put out his fluid (1988) Descendents Of Smith. Roy's son Nick kept the torch into the millennium although Roy's candle still burns brightly.