Stormcock (album)

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Stormcock
Stormcock.JPG
Studio album by Roy Harper
Released 1971
Recorded Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Progressive folk, folk baroque
Length 41:25
Label Harvest SHVL 789,
Chrysalis CHR 1161,
Science Friction HUCD004, HUCD047
Producer Peter Jenner
Roy Harper chronology
Flat Baroque and Berserk
(1970)
Stormcock
(1971)
Lifemask
(1973)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Stormcock is the fifth album by English folk / rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper. It was first released in 1971 by Harvest Records and is widely considered to be his best record.[2]

History[edit]

Harper was inspired by a trip to, and time spent in Big Sur, California. There he wrote "One Man Rock’n’Roll Band" a critique of the pointlessness of violence. "Hors D’Oeuvres", the album’s opening track, was inspired by the fate of Caryl Chessman who spent nearly 12 years on death row - at the time the longest ever in the United States - before being executed in a gas chamber in May 1960. "Same Old Rock" is an attack on organised religion with a guitar solo by Jimmy Page and the album's final track is a love song, "Me And My Woman", backed by David Bedford's orchestral arrangements (Bedford would also collaborate on some of Harper's later releases).[3]

The album's four extended songs showcase Harper's talents, both as a songwriter and guitarist. But, significantly, Stormcock "...epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper — epic progressive acoustic.".[4]

At the time, the album was not particularly well promoted by Harper's record label. Harper later stated:

They hated Stormcock. No singles. No way of promoting it on the radio. They said there wasn't any money to market it. Stormcock dribbled out.[5]

Nonetheless, Stormcock would remain a favourite album of Harper's fans. In October 2013 NME placed Stormcock at 377 in their list of "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"[6]

Although the album features Jimmy Page on guitar, upon its release, Page was credited as "S. Flavius Mercurius" for contractual reasons.

Influence[edit]

In 2006, 35 years after its initial release, fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr of English alternative rock band The Smiths said:

If ever there was a secret weapon of a record it would be Stormcock. I don’t know why it’s such a secret. If anyone thinks it might be a collection of lovely songs by some twee old folkie then they’d be mistaken. It's intense and beautiful and clever: [Bowie's] Hunky Dory's big, badder brother.[7][8]

Joanna Newsom cited Stormcock as an influence upon her 2006 release Ys[9] and in 2011, Robin Pecknold of Seattle, Washington-based folk band Fleet Foxes stated that he took inspiration from Stormcock when recording Fleet Foxes second album Helplessness Blues.

Title[edit]

The album's title, Stormcock, is an old English name for the mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus). The male of this species "is most vocal in the early morning" and has a "tendency to sing after, and sometimes during, wet and windy weather" which "led to the old name "stormcock"".[10] It is also, perhaps, a metaphor for Harper himself. Harper has an appreciation of birdlife and has made reference to many birds within songs on his albums.

Digital remaster[edit]

The album was digitally remastered in 2007. The package included in a 20-page case-bound booklet with new pictures, prose and poetry, and Page's name was added to the album's credits.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks credited to Roy Harper

Side one[edit]

  1. "Hors d'œuvres" – 8:37
  2. "The Same Old Rock" – 12:24

Side two[edit]

  1. "One Man Rock and Roll Band" – 7:23
  2. "Me and My Woman" – 13:01

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Link to opinion about Harpers 'best record'
  3. ^ http://www.mojo4music.com/24458/roy-harper-10-greatest-albums/ Mojo magazine's Artist Guide to Roy Harper (2016)
  4. ^ AMG review
  5. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/13/roy-harper-songs-of-love-and-loss?INTCMP=SRCH Roy Harper interview (2011)
  6. ^ NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013. Rocklistmusic.co.uk Retrieved on 24 November 2013.
  7. ^ Arts Guardian. Arts Guardian. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
  8. ^ 2008 Roy Harper interview. Popmatters.com Retrieved on 9 December 2011.
  9. ^ Mark Guarino (December 2006). "Joanna Newsom:Strings Attached". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  10. ^ Wiki link to mistle thrush

External links[edit]