Alright, you wanna hear the good news
“In the UK and Europe in the late-60s a mysterious multi-talented musician known as Jesse Harper was hovering on the verge of stardom with his unique ‘jug-a-jug’ wailing guitar style when he gave it all away for saffron robes.
Harper’s date with rock ‘n roll fame was to be colourful but short-lived and recalled only in urban legends in latter years, once he disappeared from public life. On the verge of being signed to Atlantic Records in the US and having turned down a record deal with EMI to pursue life as a high-ranking Krishna monk, he virtually disappeared for over 30-years.
In his absence however, the guitar style he originated lived on in the backing tracks of many of New Zealand’s popular hit songs of the 60s, through the radio programmes he recorded with Bob Gillet’s New Zealand Radio Orchestra and The Brew and the highly influential album of original songs he recorded in London in 1969.
Most of those unique compositions were re-recorded by Human Instinct within a year of the original sessions, helping propel them to cult status in the world of underground music. Tapes of Harper’s recording session found their way back to New Zealand and into the hands of his contemporaries including Harvey Mann and unauthourised copies of an album released by Kissing Spell sold widely to contemporary rock enthusiasts for several decades”
His long ‘lost’ album was recently released on hip US label Drag City, home to Bonnie Prince Billie amongst other notable types.
I had the pleasure of sitting in the sun on a massive bean bag stoke ale in hand to witness him live on Saturday… he started off playing indian styles solo and after an hour, I am guessing, he slowly moved to a more rock format finishing with a three piece and showing just why he is revered by those whom know and remember him as Jesse Harper.
It was very pleasant and well cool… the wind ruined John Bakers DJ set as turntables records and wind don’t mix… but the day was saved by the mentalists known as the Cosbys who haven’t played for a good few years… they were so fun I couldn’t stop laugnhing, clapping and smiling.