With a working title of Rizla due to the album's cover art (an unravelled orange Rizla pack), Jugula, as this album is often called, was released on the Beggars Banquet label (BBL60) and reached the UK Top 20. The album contains a number of original songs written by Harper. It is recorded in a fresh and spontaneous manner, often with only the unique sound of Ovation guitars and vocals. Occasionally, the arrangements are filled with synthesizer and electric guitar.
This album in particular brought Harper to a new and wider audience, mainly due to Harper and Jimmy Page's appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1984, an album tour and a 15-minute televised interview by Mark Ellen on the Old Grey Whistle Test (16 November 1984). The interview featured Harper and Page playing their acoustic guitars on the side of Side Pike in the English Lake District, a somewhat different and unusual interview for the time. Songs played included "Hangman" and part of "The Same Old Rock".
This album was the fifth that Harper and Page had worked on, but the first entire record they made together. Page's guitar playing is quite evident throughout the album, and is a natural complement to Harper's unique guitar work. The first track, "Nineteen Forty-Eightish", a reference to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, crescendos with lead guitar by Page. Other tracks include "Hangman", a song that expresses the feelings of an innocent man condemned to die and "Frozen Moment", a song played entirely in the chord of C#.
The title for 'Jugula' came from playing Trivial Pursuit, in order to explain to everyone how they should go about answering the questions as straight and honestly as possible I'd say, "Go for the jugula". It was going to be 'Harper & Page' for a while, but that's like selling Jimmy's name, then it went to '1214' which is the year that the Magna Carta was signed... but that was a bit esoteric. So one day we were talking and "jugula" came up, so I phoned the artist and they'd designed up to the 'Whatever happened to...' bit so I said leave it there and put Jugula at the end.
The track "Hope" originated as a tune written by David Gilmour for his second solo album About Face. He asked Pete Townshend to supply lyrics, but felt that he couldn't relate to them, so Townshend used the song instead, as "White City Fighting", with Gilmour playing guitar, on his album White City: A Novel. Gilmour sent the same tune to Harper, whose lyrics had the same effect on Gilmour. Harper used the result, "Hope", which has a markedly slower tempo, on this album, with his son Nick Harper (16 years old at the time), playing the lead guitar (not Gilmour as is often mistakenly stated).