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In the second of two instalments, music legend and Manchester City fan Roy Harper talks exclusively to Vital Man City.
To read the first instalment, click here.
Among younger people, I worship Joanna Newsom. I think that what she has is one of the most special things I’ve ever seen on a stage. Absolutely wonderful. If you’re so disposed, she forces you to fall in love with her. A female mystic with a relevant voice.
There are a lot of good young singers about, but I find that a lot of the mainstream to be derivative. I tend to like singers who write their own songs; nearly always more revealing.
A lot of people inspire me, even young children. Left field and off the screen, Jennifer Hudson did a brilliant job with the US national anthem before the Superbowl the other night… then I found out it was pre-recorded.
There are lots I’ve left out of this, like Ann Frank, Bill Hicks, Ray Mears, Humphrey Bogart and Groucho Marks, and obvious ones like Einstein and David Attenborough, but you could go on forever.
Roy singing live in 1990 at the Dominion Theatre London.
I had a season ticket at Maine Road for three years in the 70s, but I just couldn’t get to enough games in the end.
Among the City men over the last few years, I think that Richard Dunne has been exceptional; I just wish he’d get his form back. I think that Shawn Wright-Phillips has all the ingredients to become a team leader over the next few years, if not club Captain, and I’ll look forward to that. I see him as the number one motivator in the team, and he may even develop into a more defensive midfielder in his thirties.
Johnny Marr has often given me a big plug. A few years ago now he discovered my record ‘Stormcock’, and he became a great fan of it. I got great coverage again in the music press at the time because he had a new record out.
I did a ‘Folk Festival’ at the Royal Festival Hall a few years back where he was playing with a friend of mine Bert Jansch, who’s a great innovative guitarist from Edinburgh I’ve known for 43 years! Johnny and I had a long City chat that night. I’d never met him before, but he’s a great guitarist. Really really good at what he does. Moves it along really well. He could slot into any band anywhere. Really accomplished.
Most of my old Manchester mates like Tommy Yates have drifted now. Actually, Tommy’s drifted off the planet.
Sing Us A Song Roy
I wrote a song for Stan Mathews called ‘Stan’. It’s on a demo album type thing I made at home in the early 80s which was finally released in the 90s as ‘Born In Captivity’. It’s a good record for all of that actually.
The first verse goes; All over town the dreamers are landing, Starting a brand new day, Somewhere downstairs a kettle is boiling, Whistling hard.. slowly blowing away, Down here on Earth its Saturday morning, Waiting for the start of play, On the happy hunting grounds of Winter, At three o’clock this afternoon, Over the moon. (Fav cliché of managers and players at the time).
It goes on from there into more specific things, but you get the general idea. It’s about what happens at three o’clock Saturday afternoon, in mind and body. In my lyric book, ‘The Passions Of Great Fortune’, the last note underneath this song reads, ‘I’m Man City by birth.. and by calling. It’s the only faith I have. A blind faith in uninterrupted grand farce.’
As a footnote here, I have to say that the first time I met Rick Wakeman he tried to sell me a TV that had fallen off the back of a lorry..!
Roy finishes off my adding…
PS. Yes, The guitar in the Australian TV clip is an Ovation Adamus 1. I’ve still got it. Sentimental value.
It’s the guitar I used for all live stuff during the late 70s to the early 90s. It’s a good guitar, but I don’t play it any more. Been thinking about putting it up on ebay, but just haven’t got round to it.
PPS Sam Barkas, who was City captain during the 30’s stayed in ‘digs’ at my Grandfather’s house in Gatley for a number of years. I have a picture of him playing bowls with my mother in the garden.
Vital Man City says…
Many thanks go out to the one and only Roy Harper for taking time out from his busy schedule. I know he’s in the middle of compiling his new album and so time must be precious. Again, thank you.