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Led Zeppelin wrote a song about him, Pink Floyd recorded with him, Kate Bush raved about him; but Roy Harper never got the sales to match the respect. Praise from a younger generation of musicians lies behind the hippy troubadour’s return, at the age of 72, with his first album in 13 years.
Man and Myth was produced by Jonathan Wilson, a Californian psych-folk revivalist who has kept the cult of Roy alive in the US along with the likes of Joanna Newsom. The revived Harper has responded with a set of songs that reconnects in an authentic and enjoyable way with his 1970s work.
Acoustic guitar melodies meander along gracefully, building into moments of great agitation; raw emotional honesty coexists with mythmaking lyrics romanticising Harper as the eternal outsider. An English Neil Young comes to mind on “Cloud Cuckooland”, a mystical screed against modern life set to gnarly guitar riffs provided by another famous admirer, Pete Townshend.
Man and Myth