Stormcock (album)

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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
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]


The album contains four extended songs which showcase Harper's talents, both as songwriter and guitarist. But, perhaps most significantly, Stormcock "...epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper — epic progressive acoustic.".[3] The album features Jimmy Page on guitar, though upon the album's release, Page was credited as "S. Flavius Mercurius" for contractual reasons.

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.[4]

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"[5]


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"".[6] 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.


35 years after its release (2006) 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.

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. The album also showcases David Bedford's orchestral arrangements (Bedford would also collaborate on some of Harper's later releases).

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



  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Link to opinion about Harpers 'best record'
  3. ^ AMG review
  4. ^ Roy Harper interview (2011)
  5. ^ NME: The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time : October 2013. Retrieved on 24 November 2013.
  6. ^ Wiki link to mistle thrush
  7. ^ Arts Guardian. Arts Guardian. Retrieved on 5 August 2011.
  8. ^ 2008 Roy Harper interview. Retrieved on 9 December 2011.
  9. ^ Mark Guarino (December 2006). "Joanna Newsom:Strings Attached". Retrieved 2015-12-04. 

External links[edit]