|Most music fans will have heard of Roy Harper, but not all will be able to describe him. Errr… 1960s folk-rocky singer/songwriter? Yeah, that’s true, but so much more, too. His work is influential, controversial, witty, thoughtful and he continues to this day. He has worked with Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd to name just a few. You already know we are massive fans of his son, Nick.
Last night we went to The Stables, Milton Keynes (a very civilised venue with parking, comfy seats and tremendous sound clarity) to see Roy play.
I was expecting to really enjoy the gig but didn’t expect to be quite so blown away, especially as I only really know two of his albums. He may now be in his mid-60s but his voice has the strength, power, emotion and range of a man half his age. From the very first note of the very first song he had me completely charmed. He almost conjures his songs out of thin air, without any rush or effort, giving space and time to the hauntingly beautiful tunes emerging from his chiming, echoey guitar. Ooh, and that fabulous voice! *sigh*
He’s no motor-mouth but he freely admits he finds it difficult not to talk between songs. As he describes the next song, his soft voice digresses into politics, his hatred of organised religions (I had to applaud when he said this), and stories about what inspired him to write the songs in the first place. If he didn’t talk so much he could proably sing twice as many songs, but that’s not the point – with Roy you get the whole man, not just his music.
Seeing Roy play it was easy to understand what Nick has inherited: and innate need to sing and play, the ability to play the guitar as easily as breathing, the pattern of chord sequences, the vocal phrasing, sense of humour, crazy facial expressions – everything really! I would so love to see them play together. Occasionally they do – I shall be looking out for that!
I’m enchanted by Roy Harper. As Led Zeppelin once sang, ‘hat’s off’ to him. Find out more about Roy at his website here.