The Green Man

Roy Harper

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The Green Man Review

by Dean McFarlane

Following the somewhat disappointing The Dream Society, the astounding British singer/songwriter delivers his best album since 1974's Stormcock and gets his muse back on track. Always an extraordinary guitarist, his songs are still developed out of the folk techniques of his early albums and his lyrics are still as sublimely poetic and soaring. His beautiful voice hasn't sounded so impassioned since his great trilogy of albums: Flat Baroque and Berserk, Come out Fighting Ghengis Smith, and the aforementioned masterpiece Stormcock. For this session, Harper went into the studio alone and wrote, engineered, and mixed the entire collection himself. It's evident that the isolation brought his more introspective, deeply personal elements out in the songs. Here we have the Roy Harper who explored intimate love songs and literate themes on "Another Day" from Flat Baroque and Berserk and delicate folk simplicity on the album Valentine. Gone is the railing angst of "I Hate the White Man" or the hard rock of an album like When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease. Green Man is entirely acoustic, with the exception of Johnny Fitz's Fender Rhodes cameo on "The Monster"; subsequently, Harper sounds more comfortable not fighting with a rhythm section, adding Jeff Martin's mandolin on "Sexy Woman." "Midnight Sun," "Solar Wind Sculptures," and "The Green Man" are outstanding pieces of work -- highlights that make the album yet another utterly inexhaustible album in the legacy of one of the U.K.'s most admired songwriters.

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