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 Richard Harris

British singer/actor

 

A Tramp Shining (1968)

The Yard Went on Forever (1968)

Love Album (1970)

My Boy (1971)

Slides (1972)

I In the Membership of My Days (1974)

The Webb Sessions (1995)

 

 

 

 

RICHARD HARRIS

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A Tramp Shining 1968 - 7.5

Didn't We/ Paper Chase/ Name of My Sorrow/ Lovers Such as I/ In the Final Hours/ MacArthur Park/ Dancing Girl/ If You Must Leave My Life/ A Tramp Shining.

The first of two collaborations with legendary American songwriter Jimmy Webb - both of which had a surreal feel to them with some classic songs and the incomparable MacArthur Park which has been lauded and ridiculed in equal measure but which is still one of my favourite songs of all time. In Harris' slightly discordant voice, Webb strangely found the perfect foil for his songs with their lush melodies and heart-felt lyrics. The title track is also a stand-out typical Webb offering.

 

The Yard Went On Forever 1968 - 9

The Yard Went On Forever/ Watermark/ Interim/ Gayla/ The Hymns From Grand Terrace/ The Hive/ Lucky Me/ That's The Way It Was

Simply one of my favourite albums of all time. Webb's music has more complexity to it here and there is a thematic feel that holds the whole thing together. The title track is a strange affair written almost in the style of MacArthur Park. Elsewhere there is great beauty in the pieces which weave melodies in a complex fashion as in The Hymns from the Grand Terrace and the whole thing rounds off with one of Webb's most plaintiff songs in That's the Way It was.

 

Richard Harris Love Album 1970 - 7.5

Lovers Such as I/The First Hymn From Grand Terrace/If You Leave Must My Life/One of the Nicer Things/A Tramp Shining/Didn't We. What a Lot of Flowers/MacArthur Park/Fill the World With Love.

This has a special place in my heart as the first Richard Harris album I bought. In it's own way it is a classic gem, again produced and arranged by Jimmy Webb. Certainly a short album and taking tracks from the above two albums to make it a strange kind of compilation. Mixed in with the Webb songs is the Leslie Bricusse songs "What a Lot of Flowers" and "Fill the World With Love."

 

My Boy 1971 - 8

Beth/Sidewalk Song/Proposal/Ballad to an Unborn Child/This is Our Child/Like Father Like Son/Requiem/This is Where I Came In/Why Do You Leave Me?/All the Broken Children/My Boy/This is The Way

This album is one of my guilty secrets. For a hellraiser, Harris did more than his fair share of navel gazing and My Boy takes us through his relationship - falling in love, the birth of a son, the broken relationship, the divorce, the disillusionment. A beautiful summation of love and failure and much of it is seen through the words and music of Jimmy Webb who provides four of the songs here. It is an album that has to be listened to in order and in its entirety. There is starkness but considerable beauty. And how many people know that Harris recorded the original version of the Phil Coulter/Bill Martin title track a long time ahead of Elvis Presley's version

 

Slides  1972 - 8

I Don't Have to Tell You/Gin Buddy/Blue Canadian Rocky Dream/Sunny-Jo/Best Way to See America/Once Upon a Dusty Road/Roy/How I Spent My Summer/I'm Comin' Home/November Song/Slides

If there was ever a reason for travelling this album is it. Harris takes off on a journey and returns with regrets. I hate to admit it but this Tony Romeo written album reduces me to tears virtually every time - talk about a weakness. November Song is full of beautiful imagery and the title song - mainly spoken is hugely haunting. A teacher is under threat for his teaching methods and the fact that he connects with his children. So he shows them slides of his journey , the places he visited and the people he met. This album is haunting in the extreme. At times Harris' voice breaks and often he doesn't reach the high notes - but really who cares. A beautiful hidden gem.

 

The Webb Sessions 1968-1969 Raven Records 1995 - 8

This CD features the albums "A Tramp Shining" and "The Yard Went on Forever" which to me have long been cult albums. They show songwriter Webb at his most melodic and the strange marriage between his songs and the voice of Irish actor Harris works wonderfully. To me no other singer has been able to interpret Webb's work like Harris. This culminated in the brilliant episodic "MacArthur Park." But here are melodies galore, lyrics that are obtuse and obscure and wonderful arrangements. This was Webb at his best. Get rid of your preconceptions and give it a listen. You might just agree.