Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rocking the boat and unrolling the note (Roy Harper)

A work colleague asked me recently, when looking at my CD collection, what my current favourite was.

I couldn't think of any one fav at the time, maybe because I was trying to think of something current.

But then, when I thought about it afterwards, I realised that I have been playing two CDs pretty much every day since I got back from holiday.

Not only that but I've been listening to them on and off since I first heard them in the late 70s.

I'm talking about Roy Harper's Stormcock and Keith Jarrett's The Koln Concert.

I have old cassette tape copies of each one and I found CD versions of them in the UK and France on my recent holiday.

Each album has four tracks on it that link to each other thematically and musically. None of which will ever be played on the radio so they won't ever feature on Gregarious' blog of the seventies. The instrumentation is pretty sparse on each one. Jarrett is playing solo on his piano. Harper is largely singing and playing acoustic guitar. Curiously, it is the only album in their respective catalogues that does it for me too. I have tried but these two are special because they each reveal a degree of individual brilliance and passion and connectiveness that is missing in their other albums for me.

My cassette of Stormcock was recorded by me from a mate's album in the late 70s. He had a lot of Genesis and Harper albums that he wanted me to tape for him (no idea why) and of all the albums he gave me to record only Stormcock shone through with it's brilliance.

Roger Marbeck gave me a cassette recording of the Koln Concert. I never would have listened to it otherwise. Solo piano and a double album?? No way! I think it was part of a large number of cassettes he didn't want anymore. There was some good stuff in the pile but Jarrett's concert was the one that stuck.

With both albums it doesn't matter how many times I hear them, I always hear something new. I think this will continue to be the case.

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