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EMI TCEMS 1259 (1987)


Album available as:-
(Science Friction HUCD021)

The 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 dialect.

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

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)

Track Listing:

1. One of Those Days in England (Harper) - 3:25
2. These Last Days (Harper) - 4:26
3. Cherishing the Lonesome (Harper) - 5:54
4. Naked Flame (Harper) - 5:06
5. Watford Gap (Harper) - 3:22
6. One of Those Days in England, Pts. 2-10 (Harper) - 19:27
7. Watford Gap (Harper) - 2:42

Roy Harper - Guitar & Vocals






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