A hidden gem from Page/Harper.
fanboyfromva | VA USA | 07/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is very odd, but maybe the best work Page contributed to in the 1980's. It is serious in the lyrical melodrama department throughout much of the disc. I really love some of the tracks here like "Hope." Yet, it ends with the comical "advertisement..." Altogether a fun postzep encounter with Page with a touch of british humour. I think some american fans will find it out-of-place on a work that has somewhat serious songs for most of the tracks. Maybe "adertisement" is enough to keep this from being 'a classic' but you really can't wrong with this disc. Harper is the best songwriter Page ever worked with. Forget Plant, Page should be touring with this guy, maybe he should've even tried to reform Zep with this guy in the '80s and '90s- it fits with a more mature (and loose) sound that Page could've worked on, had he truly started over in the 1980s. But Harper himself is always a creative breath of fresh air irregardless. I'm a fan of both after this disc."
Best 80's Harper record
Elliot Knapp | Seattle, Washington United States | 04/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For starters, I'd like to say that it seems a lot of reviewers/buyers have been attracted to Jugula because of the Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin ties. Be forewarned--Jugula is Roy Harper's show! Jimmy Page does masterfully accompany Roy on both acoustic and electric guitars (just like he did on Roy's masterpiece, Stormcock), but this is no Led Zeppelin album. It's Roy Harper *with* Jimmy Page--it's Roy's signature psych-folk/rock sound and songs, poetic lyrics, and inimitable voice, accompanied by Jimmy Page's exquisite guitar playing. The clearest standard to judge this record by is not Led Zeppelin's music, but Roy's extensive and impressive catalog, full of genre-bending folk, rock, psych and prog. That said, if Roy's relationship with Led Zeppelin is enough to pique your interest in his often-overlooked art, please proceed and prepare for the incomparable trip that is Roy Harper's music.
Like my review title indicates, Jugula is pretty solidly Roy's best 1980's release--his other 80's albums dabbled a little too much in the production and instrumentation of the times, sounding pretty dated by today's standards. Jugula, though it does contain a bit of synthesizer and a plugged-in, slightly inorganic acoustic guitar sound that doesn't completely do it for me, avoids the "80's sound" for the most part. Probably the biggest reason Jugula is better than Roy's other 80's albums is because the songwriting is much stronger.
The album opens with the Orwellian, paranoia-laden mini-epic, "Nineteen Forty-eightish." It's classic Harper/Page guitar interaction, with Roy laying down otherworldly rhythm and Jimmy fleshing it out with some mad chops. The song includes some classic Roy lines (new listeners will quickly get a taste of Roy's lyrical irreverence and sense of irony--he's not for the easily embarrassed). Earlier reviewers have commented on Roy's voice. On this topic, I'm not sure if Jugula is the best introduction to Roy's unique vocal style--he's often singing quite incisively on Jugula, adding biting sting to his potent lyrics. It's a bit easier to take if you're familiar with the superlative beauty and sublime smoothness he's capable of and demonstrates on his 70's albums. Regardless, it's interesting to hear him constantly experimenting with his vocals to make them match his songs and words.
"Bad Speech" is a great exercise in spoken word, excellently displaying Roy's poetic tendencies. Other album highlights include "Hope" (which also features the debut of Nick Harper, Roy's insanely talented guitar-slinging son), the wistful and moving "Elizabeth," the cutting and wicked guitar interplay and political message of "Hangman," and the jaw-dropping hilarity of "Advertisement." Throughout, the style ranges from acoustic folk to rock, with occasional full-band arrangements. Roy's a little more eccentric than your average 70's rocker (especially on Jugula), but if you keep your mind and ears open, you might find that he displays a depth and meaningfulness seldom matched by his contemporaries, and an utterly unique sound.
If you're a fan of Dylan, Pink Floyd, folk music, psychedelic music, or Led Zeppelin, Jugula just might be for you. I'm not sure if it's at the very top of my list for an introduction to Roy Harper's music (see Flat Baroque and Berserk or Stormcock for an intro to the psych/folk, or try HQ as an intro to his rocking side), but as it's one of his stronger records, it's certainly not a bad choice. If you're a Zeppelin fan, I hope Jimmy's contribution turns you on to a worthwhile and fascinating body of music you might not have otherwise checked out! Please note, also, that Roy Harper is an independent artist, and if you get his albums from his website--royharper-dot-com--you'll be directly supporting an artist's artist for making such uncompromising music."
Hermgirl | Hermworld, Near San Francisco, CA | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was waiting for this to come out on CD!!! When it was first put out on vinyl, it was one of those disks that stayed on my turntable for two weeks and I had to listen to it every day.
I have now just found out that a CD called HQ (which I knew on vinyl as "When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease") has also been released.
I highly recommend both of these CDs, those of you that are Jimmy Page fans, people who remember "Hats off to (Roy) Harper" by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd fans (Roy worked extensively with Floyd on "Cricketer", those who enjoy the celtic folk aspects of progressive rock, will really enjoy this music.
Well, these are going on my wishlist, and I can't wait to get them."