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Stormcock: the story of Roy Harper’s acoustic masterpiece

How British folk rocker Roy Harper made one of the defining unplugged albums of the 1970s – with a little help from Jimmy Page

For his fifth album, Roy Harper immersed himself in the possibilities of the recording studio for the first time. Comprising just four songs and primarily driven by six- and 12-string acoustics, Stormcock was an often fierce masterwork that took aim at religious dogma, war, the judicial system, big business and even pesky rock critics. It also featured a certain S. Flavius Mercurius, aka Jimmy Page, on the epic brilliance of The Same Old Rock.

What do you remember about the album sessions?

Roy Harper: All of my other records until then had been made very quickly. The Sophisticated Beggar [1966] was virtually made in a day. The next one [1968’s Come Out Fighting Ghengis Smith] was done in three days and so was Folkjokeopus [1969]. The fourth album, Flat Baroque And Berserk [1970], which I did at Abbey Road, was where I was spreading my wings and finding out exactly what could be done. I saw a different light at the end of that record. So I wrote Stormcock because I felt the time was right for me to do what I really wanted.

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