Behold the Stormcock

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roy harper

There might not be many reasons to pretend that anything happened before the 80s, but here's one of them: Roy Harper's 1971 album Stormcock, now being released for the first time in the US by KOCH distrubution and London's Cadiz music. Of course, most people in the US have no idea who Roy Harper is (and no, he's not related to Ben Harper). And when someone is described as a “folk hero” we're more likely to picture some long-haired dude using his six-string to fight off terrorists than a meek, short-haired British man on drugs.

And Roy Harper is truly a folk hero, though he's about as far from folk as prog rock is from rockabilly. And he makes Bob Dylan sound like a second-year music student with a toothache.

Stormcock is, besides one of the most bewildering album titles in album title history, only four tracks of upwards of fourteen minutes each, sprawling odysseys of oddness that are for the most part just him and a guitar. The best track, “Me and My Woman”, is about as close as you can get to stuffing an entire relationship into one song. You can't call it psychedelic because nothing seems random or improvised, but it's certainly not normal.

KOCH is releasing Stormcock as well as Flat Baroque & Berserk, a greatest hits collection called Counter Culture and a collaboration with Jimmy Page called Jugula. All of these are on Harper's own Science Friction label.

Harper himself is planning a new album and a possible '09 US tour, because the boy don't quit.