"Now that we've reached the c.d. & computer age--hoorah!!!!You know what?.....we're becoming cushioned, sterile, spoilt & directionless!!Roy Harper knew this in the late 60's .If you're looking for challenge ,truth honesty, love & great,great music, this album is for you.It's a beautiful c.d.!I had the old vinyl way ,way back(1973), i've seen Roy Harper live more times than i can remember, and he will ALWAYS be one of the GREATS of the recording studio, with an acoustic guitar style like no other!!"Valentine! followed the EPIC "Lifemask" album, & contrasted beautifully.It begins with the ever so memorable "Forbidden fruit" ,a love song for a teenage girl,check out the lyrics ,as in all Harper songs-they're amazing!This became ,in most part, an acoustic-guitar exercise for Mr. Harper,altho' in parts, this album really rocks!!Songs like "Male chauvinist pig blues"....what can you say-whoever wrote songs like this??Beautiful ,wonderfully played acoustic guitar!The song "12 hours of sunset" is my favourite here,it's gotta be one of my favourite songs-ever!!"Che" -the acoustic guitar instrumental, dedicated , ofcourse to a certain Revolutionary, stills sounds awesome ,all these years later!And so it goes on--this c.d. is a wonderful addition to anyone's music collection-Roy Harper....surely one of Rock's greatest geniuses!!"Valentine" is one amazing album!!!The great thing , too, is that Roy is still in the process of musicmaking(i'm told a new album is being costructed!!For an artist/musician to attract such talents as most of the Pink Floyd group AND Led Zeppelin, there's got to be some reason,folks ,for this amazing fact!Check out & purchase Roy Harper on c.d.-this is true genius!!!"
Great collection of love songs
Elliot Knapp | Seattle, Washington United States | 12/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Valentine," released on Valentine's Day in 1974, is a collection of then new and old love songs by Roy Harper, inimitable British singer-songwriter. The album opens with fingerstyle guitar in the surreal "Forbidden Fruit." "MCP Blues" rocks the hardest on the album, and is one of the only non-acoustic songs. "I'll See You Again" is as touching a song as Roy has ever written, highlighted by orchestral flourishes. "Twelve Hours of Sunset" is a beautiful song about a plane ride across the Atlantic. It includes some phased-out guitar and gorgeous, soaring, layered vocals. "Acapulco Gold" is jazzy, a departure for Roy. "Commune," a favorite opener for Roy's live shows, is another beautiful song with more of his signature guitar licks. Included are "North Country," Roy's version of a traditional folk song made famous by Bob Dylan, and "Forever," an earlier Harper song (first heard on Roy's debut, Sophisticated Beggar) that gets production attention here to sound the best it ever has. This album is an EXCELLENT collection of songs--though it's not as cohesive as Roy's masterpiece Stormcock, it's probably more accessible to most listeners, and has more individual songs. Throughout the album are well-crafted melodies, deep, personal lyrics, and varied themes. Recommended if you like David Gray, Van Morrison, acoustic Dylan, acoustic Pink Floyd, and folk music. After this album, check out Stormcock, and Lifemask."
A masterpiece from a master
Martin G. Walker | Brooklyn, NY USA | 07/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As always with Roy Harper, when you sit down to listen to this album you have to prepare yourself to hear songs that seem to have been written forever, because they are so right and true, and yet seem impossibly original. "I'll See You Again," sounds as old as the hills, but who else could have written this song? As bitter as dark chocolate, Roy tells us the story of a relationship that couldn't work. It is a real relationship, not a "made for music" relationship. With caustic economy the singer tells us "I wanted to share, but you couldn't be there with me [...]" and a couple of lines later "[to] milk his frustration and get his submission and weep and wear black when he's gone." (There's a recent loving and respectful cover of this particular song on this new release - nylon)
Roy has always been hooked in to the political and cultural scenes and some of the material has dated a little because of that, but one can't go wrong with Harper, there are always the eternal gems to enjoy."
A mixed bag of love songs.
Joao Nunes | Portugal | 11/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Compared to Stormcock or Lifemask, Valentine is a far more accessible album. It's also a less ambitious work but that doesn't diminish it for the result is overall very satisfying. For Valentine Roy downplayed his extravagant epic side and concentrated on simple folk ballads. This gentler side had always been present in Roy's work from the very first album on little gems like Girlie or Francesca, but on Valentine it is the main theme.
As the name suggests, Valentine is a collection of love songs (the album was released on February 14, 1974), some of them Roy had been playing live for many years and even recorded before (Forever, North Country). The album starts with one of those lovely little tunes, Forbidden Fruit. This beautiful song is actually about flirting with little girls - Roy is anything but safe, you should know. The rocking Male Chauvinist Pig Blues features Jimmy Page and Keith Moon. This version is good but not as good as the live acoustic duet with Jimmy Page on Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion. The time-suspending Twelve Hours of Sunset and the pastoral Commune are the key tracks on the album and both are vintage Roy Harper. Roy's version of the traditional song North Country is gorgeous - beautiful, soothing vocal performance - and very different from Dylan's. I don't know why Roy decided to re-record Forever to close the album. The song fits well but it's basically the same arrangement as on the Sophisticated Beggar version. Then there are a couple of substandard tracks like the lazy Acapulco Gold, the instrumental Che or the shambolic Magic Woman.
This edition features 3 bonus tracks that were previously on Flashes From The Archives Of Oblivion. I have mixed feelings about these. The original version of Home (with Ian Anderson on flute) fits perfectly on this album and it would have made a great opening track. Besides, it always felt awkward on the live album. Cutting and pasting tracks from album to album is not very recommendable but, in this case, it makes perfect sense. The live tracks (Too Many Movies and Home) should have been left on the live album Flashes... They don't fit here in any way. These two live songs feature an all-star back-up band (Page, Moon, Ronnie Lane) but sound sloppy and under-rehearsed.
A few words about the cover art. The original cover features a carbon portrait of Roy erasing himself with a rubber. Interesting concept but the drawing wasn't that good (Roy looks a bit like a Cocker Spaniel... I think). So Roy spent years changing the picture, hoping to get it right - the same concept but a different picture. He seems to have finally understood that some things are better left as they are, even if it's not perfect, and the current edition goes back to the original cover. Please, leave it as it is."