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MOJO - 2004
Roy Harper The Passions Of Great Fortune * * * *
The King of contrarydom puts his money where his mouth has been: 37 years of lyrical mischief explained.
Anyone familiar with the essays of French minimalist eccentric Erik Satie will recognise at once a kindred spirit in Roy Harper. The swings between profundity and absurdity, the beauty of simple melody against an often curiously unsettling quality in delivery are common to each. Yet Satie, insofar as one can say, never went to China in search of a competitive printing deal for the most sumptuously presented self-published epitaph in musical history. Packed with wonderful atmospheric photos of Roy, his family, friends, (Floyd, Zeppelin et al) and various artfully naked musses, his every recorded lyric is accompanied by poignant, strident or tangentially amusing commentary – be it one line or a thousand words. Never dull, if your own Roy’s records this is essential stuff; if you don’t, it will intrigue to the point of investment. “My work has generated a certain amount of confusion,” notes Roy, on page 118. “I hope this book can help to clear this up a little.”