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EMI ATAK68 (1985)


Album available as:-
(Science Friction HUCD019)

HQ is to date my most integral 'rock' record. There are less acoustically oriented tracks on this record than on any of my other records. However this is not to say that any of the songs couldn't have been recorded playing just an acoustic guitar. The combination of Chris Spedding, Bill Bruford, Dave Cochrane and myself was a band I should have kept together, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Dave Gilmour, John Paul Jones and Steve Broughton were the band that played together at a Hyde Park Free Concert and then recorded the backing track for 'The Game'.
The highlights of the record are one, Chris Spedding's guitar solo on 'The Game,' which was a first take and is a wonderful piece of spontaneous Rock and Roll. He played it on a tiny amp in the middle of the empty aircraft hanger sized Studio 1, at Abbey Road, a studio built for 100 piece orchestra and opera cast. He was dressed in a white suit with a red carnation and was in and out of the studio within 20 minutes!
And two, the great lift that the Grimesthorpe Colliery Band gave to 'When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease.' It was recorded in the same studio and there were about 50 musicians in the studio that day.
My childhood memories of the heroic stature of the footballers and cricketers of the day invoke the sounds that went along with them. Paramount among these was the traditional Northern English brass band, which was a functional social component through all four seasons, being seen and heard in many different contexts. My use of that style of music on 'Old Cricketer' is a tribute to those distant memories.
Finally, not least among the highlights is the third verse of the lyric of 'The Spirit Lives.' A poem of mine that I really enjoy. In my opinion, HQ is probably the best record that I have made to date, and stands up to close scrutiny.

- Roy Harper

Harper's critically acclaimed masterwork, HQ, is essential for every rock music collection. Backed by his short-lived group Trigger, consisting of Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson), Chris Spedding (Sharks/Jack Bruce), and Dave Cochran (Albert King), Harper is at the peak of his lyrical and musical powers here. Considered his most integral "rock" record, the tight, consistent HQ is comprised of fewer acoustically oriented tracks than most of his other releases. The album is highlighted by two lengthy cuts. The opener, "The Game," features Harper's stunning stream-of-consciousness lyrics, fantastic drumming/percussion courtesy of Bruford and Steve Broughton, and strong guitar work. The backing guitar track was laid down by Dave Gilmour and completed by Spedding, whose accomplished solo is not to be missed. In fact, HQ contains some of the best guitar work of Spedding's career. The composition also features bassist John Paul Jones' sole contribution. "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease," the final cut on the original release, shines with Dave Bedford's arrangement and the brass of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. A beautiful Anglo-Saxon tune, the song is a tribute to Harper's childhood memories of the game (cricket) and the brass band sound that always accompanied it. Harper considers HQ his best record to date. Further evidence of the album's strength can be found in the hot lead guitar and slide work in the poetic "The Spirit Lives," the occasional hard rock sound of "Referendum," and Harper's melancholy solo performance, "Forget Me Not." The 1995 re-release of HQ includes three bonus tracks: an interesting alternate version of "The Spirit Lives," an inferior live version of "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease," an a great alternate take of "Hallucinating Light." Remastered with 20-bit super mapping, the CD features original cover art from the British and the American releases.

- David Ross Smith (AMG)


Track Listing:

1. The Game, Pts. 1-5 (Harper)
2. The Spirit Lives (Harper)
3. Grown Ups Are Just Silly Children (Harper)
4. Referendum (Legend) (Harper)
5. Forget Me Not (Harper)
6. Hallucinating Light (Harper)
7. When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease (Harper)

Roy Harper - Guitar & Vocals






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