Hat Off To Jimmy Page (Fire Power FP-005)
(75:46) Battersea Park, London, England – July 29th, 1984: Short & Sweet, Referendum, Highway Blues, True Story, The Game. Bonus track – January 21st, 1984: studio jam
Perhaps it was the reaction to his participation in the ARMS tour in 1983, because that seemed to spark a renewed interest in Jimmy Page in writing, recording, and touring again. The mid eighties were a fertile time for Page, working with The Firm, Roy Harper, and producing his own solo album.
This appearance is among several of Page’s association with Roy Harper, including, rehearsals at Boilerhouse Studios in Lytham (with Steve Broughton, Tony Franklin and Nik Green), May 20th at Kenley Fayre, Norwich, May 21st at St. Ives Hotel, St. Annes, June 21st at the Stonehenge Free Festival, July 28th at the Cambridge Folk Festival, July 29th at Battersea Park in London, and November 24th at Rock Garden, Convent Garden in London.
Hat Off To Jimmy Page claims the forty minute Roy Harper / Jimmy Page tape is from the July 29th Battersea show. However, it is a professionally recorded, mixed, and released tape by EMI in 1986 found on the 2LP live album In Between The Line. It is obviously copied from vinyl (surface noise is audible at certain points). The live album was re-released in 1996, but is currently out of print and very hard to find.
The album is vague about the sources for the tracks, listing them as “too many locations to enumerate.” The musicians on each track is unclear, but Page’s contribution can clearly be heard on “Short & Sweet,” “Referendum” and “Highway Blues.” Even “True Stories” has hints of Page’s style.
Fire Power didn’t include the three other songs from the album the twenty minute “One Of Those Days In England (Parts 2-10)” which started the album, the fifteen minute “One Man Rock And Roll Band” and “Hangman,” the one song from Whatever Happened To Jugula? to be included in the live set.
For those not familiar with Harper’s music, this has a good cross-section of some of his more interesting music written in the seventies. “Short & Sweet” has echoes the British folk including Davey Graham and Bert Jansch.
Before “Highway Blues” Harper mentioned that “this is a song about being on the road. It’s much harder for any of us to get a lift these days. The powers that be are even less willing than they used to be.” It’s a good song although has only faint traces of the blues in the arrangement.
The longest and most interesting song is the thirteen-minute “The Game.” Harper refers to is as “another gentle little ditty about being on the street. It’s about being a biological byproduct of a chemical reaction taking place on the surface of this planet. I’d like to dedicate this to the double helix.”
The rest of the disc is an amateur recording from a rehearsal. It was recorded on January 21st, 1984 in Nomis Studio. Coming right after the ARMS tour, this sounds like one of the first rehearsals for The Firm.
The half hour tape can be broken down into sections. The first six minutes they are working out a tune in the key of A, but then go into to takes of “Statesboro Blues” for almost eight minutes. A slow blues in the key of D is followed by a fast boogie in the same key. There are another eight minute jam in E and a Zeppelin like jam. There are some vocals (maybe Paul Rodgers), and includes attempts at “Fortune Hunter” (a tune Page borrowed from Chris Squire), “Midnight Moonlight,” and others.
Jimmy Page is obviously the draw and appeal for this release. This, and Tarantura’s Valentine’s Day 1974 show (also with Page) are the only two silver pressed boots featuring Roy Harper shows on them. It was released in the early nineties with very basic artwork, printed on one side. It’s good since these tapes are very rare and difficult to find.
The song True Story from the Harper show features some of Pages best guitar work post Zep. If you can envision the Loch Ness Monster sticking it’s dinosaur neck out of the Loch and emmitting strange sounds you would be close to realizing what his playing sounds like on this song. True statement. sc