major event on the record, One of 'Those Days In England', is a collection
of reminiscences. The legend of Excalibur in the first line. The last
of the willow leaves at the top of the tree hanging on into January.
'Alfred had me made', the words written in anglo-saxon around the
Alfred Jewel. More precisely 'AElfred mec heht gewyrcan' Alfred ordered
me to be made. The Alfred Jewel is housed in the Ashmolean Museum
at Oxford (England) and I visit it regularly when I can for sustenance.
In the light of the events
of his lifetime, Alfred must not only be considered as the founder
of the British Navy, but more importantly as the founder of the English
language. Had it not been for Alfred's victory over the Danes in the
late ninth century, it would perhaps be conceivable that one fifth
of the world's population would now be speaking some kind of Danish
Please see the new sleeve notes
on the newly-released CD for further comments on the ideas involved
in the lyrical content of the song.
- Roy Harper
followed HQ with another superb rock-oriented classic, the interestingly
titled Bullinamingvase. The album will forever be remembered for its
controversial track "Watford Gap," and with lyrics which
supposedly defamed the town and service station of Watford Gap. Harper
ran into legal problems when the town voiced their extreme distaste
of the song, resulting in the record company's removal of the composition
from the album. It was replaced with the light but solid "Breakfast
With You." Both songs are included in the 1996 CD re-release,
remastered with 20-bit super mapping. But the album's strengths lie
elsewhere. The compositions are laced with beautiful passages, both
musically and lyrically, and the vibrant acoustic guitar work on tracks
like "Cherishing the Lonesome," "Naked Flame,"
and the epic "One of Those Days in England (Parts 2-10)"
are likely to never be surpassed. The powerful, energetic passion,
brilliant lyrics, and driving force of "Cherishing the Lonesome"
make for one of Harper's greatest accomplishments. "Naked Flame"
impresses equally with its clean, country-tinged guitar work. The
jewel in the crown, though, is "One of Those Days in England
(Parts 2-10)." The lyrical content, a collection of reminiscences,
is striking, being at once trenchant/biting and beautiful. The piece
is comprised of many movements, opening (with guitar) like a looming
cloud foreshadowing the storm and darkness that lie ahead. Suddenly,
after the introductory verses, the guitar picks up and the clouds
begin breaking apart, allowing the sun to shine through. The song
becomes hopeful before changing moods once again, with Roy's voice
at its peak. The song benefits from wonderful use of lap steel guitar
with strings fleshing out several movements.
Bullinamingvase also contains the radio friendly pop tune "One
of Those Days in England," the closest Harper ever came to having
a hit single. This is also the alternate title of the album. It is
interesting to note that, even though most of the lyrical content
is presented in the CD booklet, several lines/verses have been purposefully
omitted from the printing, such as much of "Watford Gap"
and the opening of "One of Those Days in England (Parts 2-10)."
Upon listening to the tunes, the reason becomes quite clear. Listen
for unaccredited vocal contributions from Paul and Linda McCartney.
- David Ross Smith (AMG)
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