Thursday, October 04, 2007


I was interested to read over at Jude Rogers' blog that the critically-lauded harpist and (for me) strangely wailing banshee Joanna Newsom was 'supported' at her concert at the Royal Albert Hall recently by none other than Mr Roy Harper, genius poet and singer of these Isles.

Surely it should have been the other way round? i.e...trendy strange waif backs up bona fide Britfolk/rock legend at big town comeback gig??

There is no justice in the world. Obviously.

I LOVE Roy Harper.

This is the man who gave us, to name but a few...'Another Day' (think the This Mortal Coil cover is superb? And it is! Well hear his original, The Most Played Song On My iPod 2005-2007: FACT!), 'One Of Those Days In England', 'The Same Old Rock' and 'Cherishing The Lonesome', sang lead on The Floyd's 'Have A Cigar', had a whole Led Zep song dedicated to him, made Johnny Marr's favourite lost album of all time, sired a genius-in-his-own-right songwriter and guitarist AND recorded these - two of the loveliest songs for the ending of summer and the onset of autumn that you will ever hear.

That's the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band on 'Cricketer' - and they never fail to bring tears to my bloodshot eyes.

If you are hearing these songs for the first time ever, I genuinely, genuinely envy you...

Roy Harper - 'When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease' (1975)
Roy Harper - 'The Flycatcher' (1980)

[Originally from this and this; but both now available on this]

[Footnote - 'Cricketer': 'Legendary British DJ John Peel made an agreement with his producer John Walters that in the event of Peel's death, Walters would play the song. Unfortunately, Walters died in 2001, making the agreement redundant. Nevertheless, the song was still played in tribute to Peel on several radio stations after his death in 2004' - Wikipedia]

[And! Nick Harper's lovely 'Riversong' is playing over at Barefoot In The Head. Ain't I good to yooz?]


  1. that's lovely - not anything like how i thought roy harper would sound. i had him down as some crazed rocker somehow.
    thanks for yet another beautiful introduction

  2. Would you beleive I borrowed a Roy Harper 'Best of' from a library a couple of years back and 'Cricketer' wasn't on it? I almost posted the lovely 'One of Those Days in England' when we had thst heatwave back in April. Seems a long time ago now...

  3. So synonymous with 'Have A Cigar' that every live version performed in the 70's with Waters on vocals instead sounds thoroughly ridiculous by comparison.

    That's not an exaggeration.

    Splendid bugger that Roy...

  4. I'm saving 'Cricketer' for my last blog post on 'Kicks' you've got a wait before you hear it again.
    I seem to remember Roy as the guy who recorded 'Watford Gap', with the touching refrain, 'Watford Gap, Watford Gap, plate of grease and a load of crap' about posting that one, Master Davy?

  5. A Harper 'Best Of' without 'Cricketer'? How mad is that? But then that does happen doesn't it. I'm forever coming across budget 'Greatest Hits' that aren't. And curses! They were always the ones your auntie got you for Christmas!!

    Yes! And Waters trying to sing the Gilmour bits in 'Comfortably Numb' is even worse Jude.

    Da nada & hugs Ally.

    And Steve, I ain't got 'Watford Gap'(but back in the days when it was The Blue Boar I did stop there for a plate of grease myself a few times. Nice).

  6. Incidentally, for all your British motorway service station nostalgia needs may I recommend this.

  7. Ahh, I love how your blog is one of the few that keeps me up way past my bedtime..."When the Cricketer..." is a new discovery for me. I was initially "mmmm, ok" about it, until the brass kicked in and stopped me in my tracks. The Dirty Three could do a heart-rending cover, don't you think?

  8. Chris - staying up way past your bedtime is FUN and I am pleased to be playing a part in encouraging it. Thank you.

    Yes, I am sure 'The Dirty Three' would make an excellent job with 'Cricketer'...if only I knew who they were...

  9. Realllllly?
    Aussie guitar, drum & violin trio. They'll break your heart.

    Warren Ellis, the violinist plays with Nick Cave as a Bad Seed.

    Love the blog, by the way. A biweekly pleasure. You have been linked one mine, good sir.


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