Roy Harper achieved some acclaim with releases like his debut, Sophisticated Beggar, and Flat Baroque and Berserk, but 1971's Stormcock was his first effort that was a fully realized success. Even though all four long songs on the record were arguably superior in subsequent live versions, this is one of only a handful of Harper's albums that has no weak cuts. "Hors d'Oeuvres" had been previewed two years earlier in a faster incarnation, but this version is pleasingly lethargic in a way much like Pink Floyd's "Fearless." "The Same Old Rock" is an extended musical poem about the narrow-mindedness of organized religion and features several movements, including one of Jimmy Page's best solos, even though the notes list Page as S. Flavius Mercurius. After the strangely melodic "One Man Rock and Roll Band," the album ends with the grand "Me and My Woman." This version, while slower than the definitive live take from Flashes From the Archives of Oblivion, features lush orchestration by David Bedford. All four lyrics could stand on their own, showing Harper's vision to be much more profound than the typical stoned poet. His musicianship on acoustic guitar is revelatory, at once thoughtful and hard-edged. Stormcock, in fact, epitomized a hybrid genre that had no exclusive purveyors save Harper -- epic progressive acoustic. In this style, Harper amalgamated the best elements of associates Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and folk artists like Bert Jansch into a winning stew of thought-provoking acoustic music. Harper dabbled in this style with mostly good results for the rest of his career, but never again would one of his albums exclusively have these type of songs on it. Stormcock represents a truly original vision comprised of oft-heard parts rarely assembled and therefore is on par with other heavyweights from the class of 1971 such as Led Zeppelin IV or Meddle.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Downing