Har-Haz


Harambee (South Africa): Giving A Little Away (WEA WBC 9008, with inner, 1978)
Rock/Progressive
Margaret Modiselle (occasional vocals), Rheta Fourie (occasional vocals), Rheta-Louise Malherbe (occasional vocals, piano)
Recorded by a nucleus of three multi-instrumentalists plus a host of guest singers and musicians, this is a lively fusion of prog and mainstream rock, with three versions of ‘O Fortuna’ stitching everything together. Highpoints include the punchy tribal groove of ‘Midnight In The Jungle/O Fortuna’, the catchy township jive of the lengthy ‘Orang-Outang’ and the slightly eerie, folkish title track. GRADE: C+.

Harbour Folk (UK): Waxie’s Dargle (Polydor 583 080, 1969)
The cover photograph of the all-female band in their bizarre matching outfits – pale blue miniskirts and matching high boots and braces, plus frilly yellow blouses, since you asked – didn’t fill me with confidence. However, this didn’t turn out to be the heavily orchestrated MOR folk/pop monstrosity I expected: it’s actually a charming and gentle folk set with the group accompanied only by their own acoustic guitars plus a percussionist and woodwind player. With its sweet harmony vocals and well-judged accompaniment, this is actually one of the better major label folk sets of the late sixties, and definitely worth hearing. Oddly, the sleeve gives no personnel details for the group, and there doesn’t seem to be anything informative about them on the internet, but from their accents I’m pretty sure they were Scottish. GRADE: C+.

Harbour Light (UK): Rebirth (ECHO ECR 343, 1972)
Folk
Margaret Jackson (joint lead vocals, guitar, piano)
More of an artefact than a musical experience, this obscurity is chiefly notable for its quaint foldover sleeve, complete with amusing pictures of the band (mostly bespectacled, huge-chinned, inanely grinning geeks) on the back. Musically however, it’s too competent to please ‘real people’ collectors and too jolly and earnest to qualify as an enjoyable folk album. GRADE: D.
Harbour Light (UK): Harbour Light (ECHO ECH 350, 1973?)
Folk
Margaret Jackson (joint lead vocals, guitar, piano)
The label’s budget had obviously increased considerably, as this has a full colour factory finished sleeve (with the bespectacled geeks on the front this time). The music is no more interesting than on their debut, though. GRADE: D.

Hard To Be A God (Argentina): And Suddenly Problems Appeared (Twilight TW 1.118, CD, with digipak, 2013)
Progressive/Metal
Maite Ajubita (lead vocals)
The label promoted this as post-rock, but despite a rather minimalist feel and lots of sound effects it’s nothing of the kind. Instead, I’d classify this as progressive hard rock, with long, languid jamming instrumentals, culminating in an atmospheric ballad. For the most part it’s excellent, and if it were a little more substantial I’d probably have graded it as B–. As a footnote, this was the band’s second album, following on from an all-instrumental debut. GRADE: C+.

Hard Travellin’ (UK): Hard Travellin’ (Flams Ltd PR 1065, 1971)
Folk
Beth Skelton
Despite a lukewarm reputation among collectors, this is a thoroughly enjoyable LP that effectively alternates between traditional acoustic folk material and folk-psych whimsy in the manner of the Incredible String Band or Dr Strangely Strange. Into the former camp fall accomplished versions of ‘Geordie’, ‘Once I Had A Sweetheart’ and ‘When Morning Breaks’, all of which are reminiscent of a superior Marie Celeste. The latter category includes such excellent cuts as ‘Children Of The Summer Sun’, ‘Seven Golden Daffodils’ and the bizarre seven-minute closer ‘Bavarian Masterpiece’. GRADE: C+.

Sigrún Hardadóttir (Iceland): Shadow Lady (Júdas JUD 003, with poster, 1976)
Singer/Songwriter
Sigrún Hardadóttir (lead vocals, guitar)
This is a pleasant folky singer/songwriter affair with partly Christian lyrics (in English throughout) and full band backing on most cuts. Giving no hint of its Icelandic origins, this sounds distinctly American, with influences from Joni Mitchell in particular. Hardadóttir has a good voice and composes well, and the album has a lovely mystical red-and-orange sleeve and large poster/lyric insert, making it a worthwhile purchase for those who love the genre. Hardadóttir had previously issued a rare EP as a member of Orion. GRADE: C+.

Hardingrock (Norway): Grimen (Candlelight CANDLE196CD, CD, UK, 2007)
Folk/Metal/Progressive
Heidi Solberg Tveitan (occasional vocals, keyboards, programming, samples)
This fascinating one-off project – a collaboration between Vegård and Heidi Tveitan of Peccatum and Knut Buen, a virtuoso player of Norway’s national instrument the hardingfele – sees ancient traditional songs reinterpreted in a variety of folk/rock, progressive and metal styles. Interspersed with Buen’s richly accented recitations, it’s a remarkable collision of cultures and styles, containing some fine music – overall, this is perhaps the best album to emerge from the Peccatum and Starofash stable. GRADE: B–.
See also Peccatum, Starofash

Hardscore (Belgium): Tubes For Sections (No label, CD, 1997)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Annalivia Bekaert (lead vocals), Iris De Blaere (piano), Maï Nuyts (synthesiser, percussion, backing vocals)
Recorded with a much larger line-up than the albums that would follow, this EP clearly takes countrymen Cos as its starting point, but it’s much more self-consciously contemporary, with an electronic and percussion-driven sound. It’s more austere too, with Annalivia Bekaert’s soprano singing bringing Shub-Niggurath to mind and there are hints of the surreal humour of early Thinking Plague. It’s genuinely impressive stuff, so it’s a pity that there’s only 20 minutes of it. GRADE: B–.

Hardscore (Belgium): Methane (Hardscore HSR 02, CD, 1998)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Maï (lead vocals)
At the lighter and more playful end of RIO, this is frequently quite delicate, with a neoclassical edge to the piano and tuned percussion. Vocalist Maï reminds me of a cross between Pascale Son and a softer Dagmar Krause, though this has none of Henry Cow’s abrasive edge or the heavier rock leanings of most modern American avant-prog bands. Dainty yet complex, with both plenty of humour and a good deal of darkness in the lyrics, this is an accomplished and worthwhile addition to the RIO pantheon. GRADE: B–.
Hardscore (Belgium): Surf, Wind And Desire (Carbon 7 C7-045, CD, with poster booklet, 1999)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Maï (principal vocals), Iris De Blaere (piano)
This is a little livelier than its predecessor, and even more whimsical, bringing to mind Hatfield & The North. The satirical and theatrical feel occasionally puts me in mind of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, and there also strong hints of the lighter end of Thinking Plague. With plenty of tuned percussion (which is beautifully recorded, as a bonus) this is another excellent set. GRADE: B–.

Hardscore (Belgium): Monkey Trial (Margen 0504/3, CD, Spain, 2001)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive/Avant-Garde
Maï (principal vocals), Iris De Blaere (piano)
Their final album presents a surreal story, complete with dialogue and sound effects, accompanied by their usual playful, intricate brand of jazz/rock. Choosing a favourite from their LPs is difficult, as they’re all much of a piece whilst each having their own unique personalities. GRADE: B–.

Anna Hardy (Japan): Lunatic Spells (Nouverne SDAN-2020, CD, with slipcase, 2020)
Progressive
Anna Hardy (lead vocals, keyboards)
No prizes for guessing that the Mizuki Da Fantasia keyboardist’s solo album is hugely dominated by keyboards – classical piano and harpsichord, Jacula-like organ, synthesisers and a fair chunk of Mellotron. More surprisingly, this is better than anything released by the parent band: almost entirely instrumental, richly arranged and admirably restrained, it’s a treat for those who love neoclassical prog without a side-order of bombast. GRADE: B–.
See also Mizuki Da Fantasia

Hare & The Moon (UK): The Hare And The Moon (Reverb Worship RW 077, CDR, with minisleeve and insert, 2009)
Folk/Psychedelic/Industrial/Avant-Garde
The opening ‘The Thin Ghost’ isn’t too promising: its atonal clanks and wails suggest precisely the kind of avant-garde folk I can’t stand. However, things quickly improve once there are actual songs, and this is an interesting, unsettling example of weird folk that draws equally from seventies greats (Green Man and Oberon immediately spring to mind), shoegaze (especially Flying Saucer Attack) and industrial music. With snatches of the ‘Wicker Man’ soundtrack mixed in, this was clearly intended as a companion piece to the film, but intruiguing as it is, the relentlessly dark and sinister mood eventually becomes a little one-dimensional. GRADE: C+.
Hare & The Moon (UK): The Grey Malkin (Reverb Worship RW 185, CDR, with minisleeve and insert, 2010)
Folk/Psychedelic
Their second album tones down the industrial and experimental influences somewhat, moving them closer to Sproatly Smith. Though there are some excellent moments, the resolutely doomy mood once again diminishes the disc’s impact. GRADE: C+.

Hare & The Moon (UK): Wood Witch (Reverb Worship RW 290, double CDR, with inserts, 2015)
Folk/Psychedelic
Hare & The Moon’s third album is a huge leap forward, concentrating on creating an unsettling atmosphere through eerie, beautiful and haunting music rather than through the constant addition of sound effects. It’s a varied set too, featuring some clever arrangement touches, including a superb blend of classical piano, synthesiser and fuzz guitar on ‘The Cruel Mother’. If the disc has a failing, it’s a bit too long, but it ends majestically enough with the orchestral ‘Morgiana’. The first 50 copies came with a bonus album There Were Faces In The Hedgerows, featuring the band’s music remixed by Melmoth The Wanderer; this is also excellent. GRADE: B–.

Hare & The Moon & Joseph Curwen (UK): The Hare And The Moon Remixes (Reverb Worship RW 318, CDR, 2015)
Industrial/Folk
Making Hare & The Moon’s industrial roots more obvious, this works their songs into a huge, cathedral-like soundscape of echoes, lo-fi electronics and random crashes and bangs. It’s undoubtedly creative and decidedly unusual, but not really my cup of tea. GRADE: C.
Hare & The Moon & Joseph Curwen (UK): The Hare And The Moon Remixes – Volume Two (Reverb Worship RW 318, CDR, 2015)
Industrial/Avant-Garde
I like the second version better, probably because Curwen takes even more liberties here – this is completely unrecognisable as Hare & The Moon, sounding more like something from the most crazed end of Krautrock. Those who relish electronic weirdness will find plenty to enjoy here. GRADE: C+.
Hare & The Moon & Futur Passé (UK/France): Hare And The Moon/Futur Passé (Reverb Worship RW 365, CDR, with DVD case and insert, UK, 2017)
Folk/Psychedelic
Catherine Burban (principal vocals, percussion, dulcimer, psaltery)
In case you’re wondering who Futur Passé are, they’re Sourdeline under an alias (no, I don’t know why either). As such, this album mixes their eerie, ancient take on traditional folk music with a few more modernistic and borderline industrial touches from Hare & The Moon’s Grey Malkin, with the results generally working very well. GRADE: B–.
See also Sourdeline

Haresuite (USA): Circle Of Friends (Haresuite 24CM01, with booklet, 1983)
Folk
Karen Helmandollar (joint lead vocals, guitar), Jane Voller (joint lead vocals, guitar), Katherine Shumate (joint lead vocals, guitar, bass, synthesiser, harmonica), Beth Goodall (joint lead vocals, bass)
The opening ‘Wings Of Our Songs’ is absolutely exquisite baroque folk/rock, and whilst the album never reaches the same heights again it offers some lovely folk with rich harmony vocals. All four members are excellent musicians and songwriters and this is about as good as eighties hippie folk ever gets. GRADE: C+.

Gill Hargreaves (UK): Open Our Eyes (Profile GMOR 168, 1979)
MOR/Lounge
Gill Hargreaves (lead vocals, guitar)
Hargreaves’s solo debut is a pretty undistinguished affair, even compared to her collaborative efforts, with lots of cheesy electric organ (midway between a trendy church and an end-of-the-pier show) and an occasional children’s choir. She also issued a subsequent LP The Gift (Profile GMOR 172, 1980), which I haven’t heard and wouldn’t wish to. GRADE: E.
See also Gill, Colin & Desmond

Harlequin Mass (USA): Harlequin Mass (Mass Productions MAS 333, with insert, 1978)
Progressive
Nancy Kaye (lead vocals, bass synthesiser)
This obscure progressive band’s sole album owes a heavy debt to Renaissance, although one can discern lots of other influences too. In particular, the shorter tracks on side two (‘Loss Of A New Friend’ and ‘A New Song’) strongly recall numbers like ‘Carpet Of The Sun’ with their combination of female vocals, acoustic guitar and busy electric bass. The longer cuts are more electric and perhaps less effective, though they have their moments too, with the ten-minute closer ‘Sky Caller’ hinting towards late period Principal Edwards Magic Theatre. The CD reissue (Mellow MMP 236, Italy, 1994) adds four excellent bonus tracks from the early eighties, by which time the band had renamed itself Stubborn Puppet; these have a bit more of a new wave tinge though they’re still firmly progressive. Stubborn Puppet went on to cut a cassette-only mini-album, Autophobia, in 1984, though Nancy Kaye had left by that time. GRADE: B–.
See also Box Of Crayons, Lal Meri, Talamasca, Various ‘Beyond Rock’

Harmony (Switzerland): Attente (Cheese 600.020, 1985)
Pop/Rock
Their label is aptly named, as this is quite a cheesy record, as befitting a Christian commune effort recorded in the mid-eighties. The disc features massed male and female vocals over light rock backing, with a few symphonic touches and a very dated production style. Nonetheless, although a bit saccharine-sweet, this is quite a pleasant LP. As a footnote, the band may have been Attente and the album title Harmony; I’d also assume that this originally came with a lyric insert or booklet, as Christian LPs usually do. GRADE: C.

Harmony (UK): Harmony (Breakthrough HP 101, 1972)
Pop/Rock
Esther Brookes, Edith Stevenson, Maureen McCafferty, Celia Reid
This all-female quartet’s album of densely-arranged Christian pop/rock is quite pleasant and well put together, but I can’t imagine it ranking among anyone’s favourite LPs (except perhaps for fans of Cliff Richard, with whom they apparently played). GRADE: C.

Harnakis (Spain): Numb Eyes, The Soul Revelation (Muséa FGBG 4026.AR, CD, France, 1990)
Progressive
Lali Belza (joint lead vocals, keyboards)
This Spanish band’s sole album is elegant, well-crafted and moderately complex, with several long and carefully constructed suites. That said, it’s all so understated that it doesn’t really stick in the mind and they struggle with the English pronunciation; with Spanish lyrics and a few more memorable hooks it could have been truly special. GRADE: C+.

Harrold Juana (UK): Higher (Mystic Stones Rune 1, 1990)
Rock/Psychedelic
Sam Turner (keyboards, violin)
As their album titles make clear, Harrold Juana were part of the psychedelic underground scene of the late eighties and early nineties, and shared violinist Sam Turner with the Magic Mushroom Band and its offshoot Astralasia. However, they were very much at the straighter end of the equation: this is essentially polished melodic rock with fine musicianship and excellent recording quality. GRADE: C+.
Harrold Juana (UK): Alive And Tripping (Mystic Stones RUNE CD 010, CD, 1992)
Rock/Psychedelic
Sam Turner (keyboards, violin)
The band’s second and final album was recorded live, but duplicates only one song from Higher. Once again it’s enjoyable pop-flavoured festival music, with catchy and well-composed tunes and a laid-back, good-natured vibe. Apparently a videocassette was also released of a live performance, but I can’t imagine it turning up for sale more than twenty years later. GRADE: C+.
See also Astralasia, Magic Mushroom Band

Phil Hart (UK): Love’s Vast Ocean (No label, 2001)
Folk/Rock
Joanne Hogg (joint lead vocals), Kristyn Lennox (joint lead vocals)
This Christian songwriter and guitarist’s album is fronted by Joanne Hogg on four cuts and her erstwhile colleague Kristyn Lennox on two. It’s not dissimilar to Iona at their most song-based, or to Hogg and Lennox’s other collaborations, offering gentle, folky material that’s beautifully crafted and delicately arranged, and sometimes a little too precious for its own good. GRADE: C+.
See also Joanne Hogg, Iona

Tim Hart & Maddy Prior (UK): Folk Songs Of Old England, Volume One (Tee Pee TPRM 102, 1968)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals)
The first album by the founders of Steeleye Span gives few clues that they would later become pioneers of electric folk/rock, offering typical late sixties low budget traditional folk. Even at this early stage, Maddy Prior had the finest voice in folk, whilst Tim Hart shares the vocals and provides understated backing on acoustic guitar, banjo and dulcimer. GRADE: C+.
Tim Hart & Maddy Prior (UK): Folk Songs Of Old England, Volume Two (Tee Pee TPRM 105, 1969)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals)
Album number two is in the same vein, with Hart also adding a little violin. The album includes an eerie version of ‘Copshawholme Fair’ with dulcimer accompaniment; this would later be reworked for the first Steeleye Span LP. GRADE: C+.
Tim Hart & Maddy Prior (UK): Summer Solstice (B&C CAS 1035, 1971)
Folk
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals)
Hart and Prior’s final album as a duo sees them backed by world-class folk musicians including Gerry Conway, Pat Donaldson and Andy Irvine. More varied and adventurous than their 60s LPs, it’s still firmly rooted in traditional folk, providing an acoustic yang to Steeleye Span’s electric yin. Tim Hart is in particularly fine voice throughout, and more than any of his other releases this clearly demonstrates what a fine and sensitive folk singer he was. GRADE: C+.
Tim Hart & Friends (UK): My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record (Music For Pleasure MFP 50542, 1981)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (joint lead vocals), Melanie Harrold (occasional vocals)
Probably the last thing anyone would have expected Tim Hart to do in 1981 was issue a children’s album on a downmarket budget label. However, as he commented in the sleeve notes, he was disgusted by the low production values of most LPs aimed at kids and was determined to do something about it. The other big surprise is that it’s a credible folk/rock LP, which perhaps isn’t so amazing considering the stellar quality of the ‘Friends’ – Maddy Prior (taking a large share of the vocal leads), Melanie Harrold, Bob Johnson, John Kirkpatrick, BJ Cole, Peter Knight and Rick Kemp among others. GRADE: C+.
Tim Hart & Friends (UK): ‘Drunken Sailor’ And Other Kids’ Songs (Music For Pleasure 5635/4156351, 1983)
Folk/Rock
Maddy Prior (occasional vocals), Melanie Harrold (occasional vocals)
Recorded with a similar line-up, volume two sees Hart taking most of the lead vocals, with Prior much less in evidence. Perhaps due to the less obvious selection of songs, this is the more mature and enjoyable of the two sets. In particular, the disco arrangement of ‘What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?’ is very imaginative and creative. GRADE: C+.
See also Joanna Carlin, Ashley Hutchings, Maddy Prior, Steeleye Span, Various ‘Flash Fearless Vs The Zorg Women, Parts 5 & 6!’

Harvest (Spain/Holland): Underground Community (Red Phone, CD, Spain, 2009)
Folk/Rock
Monique van der Kolk (lead vocals)
The band name and album title might make this sound like some kind of communal hippie affair, but it’s actually polished and beautiful folk/rock with lovely vocals and some superb instrumental moments. With a few blander tracks edited out and a little more stretching out by the band, this could have been a classic. GRADE: C+.
Harvest (Spain/Holland): Chasing Time (Red Phone, CD, Spain, 2012)
Folk/Rock
Monique van der Kolk (principal vocals)
Like their debut, this is a pleasant album of folky soft rock with excellent vocals and some lovely instrumental textures. But also like their debut, it lacks that something special to make it particularly distinguished or memorable. GRADE: C+.

Harvest (Spain/Holland): Northern Winds (Red Phone, CD, Spain, 2014)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Monique van der Kolk (lead vocals)
Like its predecessors, this is beautifully crafted, richly melodic and expressively played and sung. Also like its predecessors, it’s so understated that it flows by enjoyable without creating any particular impression. Three albums in, Harvest still give the impression that they have the potential for greatness; in the meantime, their music remains pretty good. GRADE: C+.

Harvesters (UK): At The Boldmere (Midland Sound Services DJDC 100, 1968?)

Folk

Sue Hartland (joint lead vocals)

If you can get past the basic mono recording, this live traditional folk album is steeped in atmosphere and contains some charming performances. That said, there’s nothing here you won’t have heard before, either in terms of material or rendition. GRADE: C+.

Harvesters (UK): The Harvesters (Westwood WRS015, 1972)

Folk

Sue Hartland (joint lead vocals)

Their second is vastly more professional, being recorded in stereo in the studio. Once again, this is similar to numerous other releases on the interconnected Folk Heritage, Midas and Westwood labels. However, it’s significantly above average, with beautifully judged, haunting renditions of standards like ‘Come By The Hills’, ‘The False Bride’ and ‘Curragh Of Kildare’. The band went on to cut two further albums at the end of the seventies, whilst unlike their first two do not fetch big money. GRADE: C+.

Jancis Harvey (UK): Distance Of Doors (Pilgrim King KLPS47, 1972)
Folk/Singer/Songwriter
Jancis Harvey (lead vocals, guitar)
This fairly prolific singer/songwriter’s debut offers several rather good original songs, a couple of beautiful adaptations of traditional hymns and, more marginally, versions of folk club standards by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon. GRADE: C+.
Jancis Harvey (UK): Words You Left Behind (Westwood WSR029, 1972)
Folk
Jancis Harvey (lead vocals, guitar)
Whereas Harvey’s first album had five original songs, her second has only two. That’s a pity, as she’s a solid songwriter but only an average interpretative singer, making this LP (with even more skeletal arrangements than her debut) somewhat forgettable. GRADE: C.
Jancis Harvey (UK): Time Was Now (Westwood WSR054, 1975)
Folk
Jancis Harvey (lead vocals, guitar, mandolin, autoharp)
Harvey’s third LP clearly indicates both her strengths and her weaknesses. As always, her voice is sweet and charming and her writing is competent, but once again she indulges her taste for obvious covers – although she makes a surprisingly strong fist of ‘Annie’s Song’, ‘Four Strong Winds’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. But ultimately, it’s the lack of variety that is the problem – taken individually the tracks are tranquil and elegant, but collectively they make one wish Harvey would alter the instrumentation, or at least throw in the occasional surprise. GRADE: C.
Jancis Harvey (UK): A Portrait Of Jancis Harvey (Westwood WSR107, 1976)
Folk
Jancis Harvey (lead vocals, guitar, autoharp)
For the fourth time in a row, Harvey issued a collection of gentle, pretty, childlike folk songs that are rather less than the sum of their parts, adding up to a somewhat one-dimensional album. The only surprise here is that, uncharacteristically, a couple of the cover versions are the standouts – beautiful readings of ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’ and ‘No Regrets’. On the downside, her increasing interest in country music (as evinced on ‘I’m Gonna Be A Country Girl Again’ and ‘City Of New Orleans’) is a far from welcome development. GRADE: C.
Jancis Harvey (UK): From The Darkness Came Light (Westwood WSR144, 1979)
Folk/Country
Jancis Harvey (lead vocals, guitar)
‘Torn Between Two Lovers’, ‘Love Is Like A Butterfly’, ‘Boulder To Birmingham’, ‘Jolene’… the song titles tell their own story. After four albums as an acoustic folkie, here Jancis Harvey goes electric country/rock on about half the material. It’s hardly one of my favourite genres, but her plaintive voice prevents the songs from becoming lugubrious, and it’s a revelation to realise how much electric band backing suits her. The self-penned acoustic folk numbers benefit from their new, more varied setting too. As a footnote, this was not her last album, as most collectors imagine – she went on to issue numerous other recordings on cassette and CD. GRADE: C+.

Tina Harvey (UK): Tina Harvey (UK UKAL 1002, 1973)
Pop/Rock
Consisting entirely of cover versions, this is a nice mainstream pop/rock album with some soul edges. Occasionally, Harvey could at a push be compared to a vastly more commercial Janis Joplin, although she has a much softer voice and there’s a definite cabaret/Saturday night TV show vibe about this. Nonetheless, despite some dull nostalgic stuff on side two, this is mostly very listenable, with the long opening cover of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ being especially good. GRADE: C+.

Harvey’s People (UK): Loving And Living (Galliard GAL 4001, 1969)
Folk
Eileen Greaves (joint lead vocals), Sheila Sculler (joint lead vocals)
Performing a dozen songs by one Sister Estelle – apparently a musically-inclined Carmelite nun, physiotherapist and schoolteacher – Harvey’s People combine simple acoustic backing with an occasional hippie feel and rather churchy female vocals. The result is a very sweet and sometimes beautiful LP that may be an acquired taste for many listeners. Band member Eileen Greaves was a prolific performer of Christian music in the late sixties and seventies, recording with the Sowers and Kevin Mayhew Singers among others. Some of these albums are straightforward collections of hymns and standards, and well outside my area of interest. GRADE: C.
See also Kevin Mayhew Singers, Sacred Heart Choir

Chris Harwood (UK): Nice To Meet Miss Christine (Birth RAB1, 1971)
Jazz/Rock
Chris Harwood (lead vocals, percussion)
Recorded when Harwood was just 17, this superb album mixes various strands of early seventies rock – it’s rather jazzy, a bit soulful, rooted in folk but influenced by funk, and sometimes tends towards blues. Harwood has an excellent voice and is backed by a crack team of musicians who bring a polished, sinuous sheen both to her own material and the cover versions. The highpoints are probably ‘Crying To Be Heard’, ‘Question Of Time’ and her unusual reading of ‘Wooden Ships’, but the album is impressive throughout and has a very distinctive sound. It’s often compared to Linda Hoyle’s LP, but aside from their somewhat similar voices, the albums’ differences are stark: Harwood played precisely to her strengths, whilst Hoyle seemed to be throwing disparate material at the wall, hoping something would stick. Notwithstanding, Nice To Meet Miss Christine sank without trace and so did Harwood, despite her prodigious talent. As a footnote, the Finders Keepers reissue of the album adds additional tracks from the original recording session but annoyingly jumbles up the running order; the deleted Japanese minisleeve CD (Air Mail Archive AIRAC-1236, 2006) has both the correct running order and the bonus tracks at the end. GRADE: B–.

Mekaal Hasan Band (Pakistan): Andholan (No label WACD002, CD, with digipak, 2014)
Progressive
Sharmistha Chatterjee (lead vocals)
Mixing influences from prog, metal, jazz-fusion and ethnic music, this fascinating Pakistani album offers eight cross-cultural excursions averaging around five minutes apiece. Lively, inventive and constantly surprising, this is fascinating stuff that deserves a wide audience – and certainly doesn’t deserve being demoted to the status of ‘world music’. GRADE: B–.

Hashish (Sweden): A Product Of (Colline Noire CN004, CD, with digipak, Germany, 2016)
Psychedelic/Dance
Lisa Isaksson (lead vocals, harp)
This is what I expected A Space Water Loop by Isaksson’s other project Life On Earth! to sound like: tripped-out, trancy electronic psych grooves strongly recalling Astralasia. There are also lots of seventies references here, including Neu!, Kraftwerk, Gong’s You and any number of jazz-fusion projects. The results are interesting, intrifuing and in parts surprisingly rocking. GRADE: B–.

See also Laike, Life On Earth!, Lisa & Piu, Lüüp, Me & My Kites, Promise & The Monster, Vårt Solsystem

Annie Haslam (UK): Annie In Wonderland (Warner Brothers K56453, 1977)
Folk/Rock/Progressive
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
Haslam’s solo debut occasionally bears a resemblance to Renaissance (although, oddly, later-period Renaissance, circa Azure D’Or). It covers a variety of styles, from soft rock to jazz to folk and ballads, inevitably with a progressive edge in parts. As with the Renaissance LPs of the time, Haslam writes nothing; her then-husband Roy Wood and Renaissance colleague Jon Camp pen the original material and play most of the instruments, whilst there are covers of everyone from Dvorák to Eden Ahbez and Rodgers & Hammerstein. The result is unsurprisingly not terribly cohesive, but this is an enjoyable album and probably her best solo work. GRADE: C+.
Louis Clark & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra With The Royal Choral Society Featuring Annie Haslam (UK): Still Life

(Spartan Music LCTV1, with inner, 1985)
Classical/MOR
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
Backed by a small rock band, Louis Clark & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society, Haslam performs a selection of classical favourites with new lyrics by Renaissance collaborator Betty Thatcher. The album is as bathetic as that description makes it sound, but it’s certainly very well done and her singing is as ever superb. GRADE: C+.
Annie Haslam (UK): Annie Haslam (Epic EK 45223, CD, USA, 1989)
Pop/Rock
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
Album number three is notable only for showcasing Haslam’s first forays into songwriting (she co-writes three cuts). Otherwise this is anonymous AOR with mildly symphonic edges and thin synthesiser and drum machine-dominated arrangements that have dated badly, making it sound very low-budget (especially the dreadful opening cover of ‘Moonlight Shadow’, which resembles an unfinished demo). GRADE: D+.
Annie Haslam’s Renaissance (USA/UK): Blessing In Disguise (One Way, CD, USA, 1995)
Rock/Progressive
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
1995 saw both Haslam and former colleague Michael Dunford issue new albums under the Renaissance moniker; whilst both ventures recalled some elements of the former band, neither was particularly adventurous. This consists entirely of short songs, mostly co-written by Haslam and producer Tony Visconti, and offers a lush folkish soft rock sound with a few minor neoprogressive edges. Overall it’s a very pleasant set, and a big step up from the 1989 album. GRADE: C+.
Annie Haslam (UK): Live Under Brazilian Skies (White Dove WD 000-01, CD, USA, 1997)
Folk/Rock
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
For this unusual concert, Haslam was apparently backed only by multi-instrumentalist David Biglin, but clearly backing tapes were also used. On paper, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but this is a lovely album, thanks to some sensitive performances. There’s also a well-chosen cross-section of material, from Renaissance (reaching back to ‘Spare Some Love’ from Prologue) and Haslam’s solo career, as well as a couple of new numbers. GRADE: B–.
Annie Haslam (UK): The Dawn Of Ananda (White Dove WD 002-02, CD, USA, 2000)
MOR
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
I don’t find this concept album about guardian angels spiritually uplifting in the way that Haslam intended – the lyrics, and even more so the sleevenotes, actually make me snigger. Musically it’s a bit more palatable, but the slow, portentous songs, coupled with Haslam’s clearly enunciated delivery, all too often put me in mind of West End musicals. On the plus side, I do like the slightly livelier ‘Summon The Angels’, which made its debut on her live album three years earlier. GRADE: C.
Annie Haslam (UK): It Snows In Heaven Too (White Dove WD 000-03, CD, USA, 2000)
MOR
Annie Haslam (lead vocals)
Whilst I don’t enjoy Christmas albums or relish Annie Haslam doing showtune-style ballads, I perversely like this LP which combines both approaches. Mostly backed only by keyboards, Haslam creates a mellow, haunting atmosphere, making this perfect chillout music. There was also a second volume Snowball issued as a signed, numbered limited edition in 2009, which I haven’t heard. GRADE: C+.
See also Akio Dobashi, Renaissance

Gemma Hasson (UK): Introducing Ireland’s Gemma Hasson (Dolphin DOLM 5009, Ireland, 1974)
Folk
Gemma Hasson (lead vocals, guitar)
This Northern Irish singer has a pleasant and mellow voice and offers varied acoustic settings for her traditional interpretations, covers and (occasionally) original songs. However, although consistently enjoyable this doesn’t have that indefinable X-factor that would have lifted it from ‘nice’ to ‘special’. GRADE: C+.
Gemma Hasson (UK): Looking For The Morning (EMI LEAF 7008, Ireland, 1975)
Folk/Rock
Gemma Hasson (lead vocals, guitar)
Whilst broadly in the same vein as her first, this is a significant step up thanks to Leo O’ Kelly’s sympathetic production and Paul Barrett’s far more expansive arrangements, this time round taking in keyboards, drums, strings and horns. At its best, this hints towards Shades of Mac Murrough, though the instrumental settings also move her towards soft rock, meaning some folk purists could prefer her more unadorned debut. GRADE: C+.
Gemma Hasson (UK): I’ve Never Been To Me… (EMI LEAF 7021, Ireland, 1978)
Country/Rock
Gemma Hasson (lead vocals)
Hasson’s third and final album sees her abandoning folk entirely for a mixture of country/rock and soft rock, sometimes bordering MOR. The change, and the move to full electric band arrangements, suits her voice well, and the album is diverse too, including a surprisingly effective diversion into rock on ‘Dynamite Rock And Roll Band’, which sounds like an outtake from Elkie Brooks’s Rich Man’s Woman.

GRADE: C+.

Aki Hata (Japan): L’Île Aux Trente Circueils (Amzphere Works AMZ 96001, CD, with obi, 1996)
Pop/Rock/Progressive
Why the French title, I have no idea, but this is a charming mixture of naïve pop/rock and symphonic progressive, not dissimilar to a more lightweight and playful Teru’s Symphonia. The beautiful artwork is an added bonus too. GRADE: C+.
See also Tsukihiko

Hatfield & The North (UK): Hatfield And The North (Virgin V2008, 1973)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Amanda Parsons (occasional vocals), Barbara Gaskin (occasional vocals), Ann Rosenthal (occasional vocals)
Housed in a truly beautiful gatefold sleeve, this classic album offers some wonderfully eclectic, humorous progressive jazz/rock. There’s not a hint of pretension in sight, but the album is packed with wonderfully catchy songs, diverse and clever arrangements, and constant shifts of mood and tempo that constantly take the listener by surprise. GRADE: B.

Hatfield & The North (UK/France): Live 1990 (Code 90 NINETY6, CD, UK, 1993)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Sophia Domancich (keyboards)
This recording of the band’s reunion for Central TV’s ‘Bedrock’, with Sophia Domancich replacing Dave Stewart on keyboards, mixes old and new material to brilliant effect. Despite a rather thin recording, the musicianship is astounding throughout and Richard Sinclair’s voice remains as warm, engaging and distinctive as it was in the seventies. The result is a remarkable comeback, making one regret that it was a one-off. GRADE: B+.

Hatfield & The North (UK/France): Hatfield And The North (Classic Rock Legends CRL0802PAL, DVD, with booklet, 2001, recorded 1990)
Jazz/Rock/Progressive
Sophia Domancich (keyboards)
The DVD version of the band’s ‘Bedrock’ gig confirms their outstanding musicianship, but (despite Richard Sinclair’s astonishingly garish stage outfit) is somewhat short on visual excitement. Notably, Phil Miller proves an odd performer, spending the entire gig sitting down and gurning strangely whenever he solos. GRADE: B.

See also Gilgamesh, National Health, Spirogyra, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Laurent Thibault

Haunting Green (Italy): The Haunting Green (No label, CD, with gatefold minisleeve and booklet, 2014)
Metal/Progressive
Chantal Fresco (joint lead vocals, drums)
This 28½-minute EP offers odd experimental doomdeath – all growled vocals, pummelling riffs and spacy, ambient explorations. It’s all intruiguingly odd and very effective, even if not particularly original: doom is a genre where just about every possible permutation has by now been explored. It also feels slightly tentative, like a cautious first step into the world, leaving it in that damn-good-but-not-quite-there limbo between C+ and B–. GRADE: C+.
Haunting Green (Italy): Natural Extinctions (Hypnotic Dirge HDR-069, CD, with digipak, Canada, 2019)
Metal/Progressive
Chantal Fresco (joint lead vocals, drums)
It all comes together for Haunting Green here – this is powerful, formless stuff mixing crazed riffing with long atmospheric passages to great effect. In terms of comparisons, this often hints towards Kayo Dot or to a lesser extent predecessor band Maudlin Of The Well, and whilst Haunting Green don’t share those bands’ virtuosic eclecticism, their own brand of more amateurish experimentation is equally interesting in its own way. GRADE: B–.

Hauteville (France): Hauteville (Brennus BR 8042.AR, CD, 1998)
Rock
Lydie Gosselin (backing vocals)
As this was issued on Muséa’s hard rock subsidiary, I expected it to be metal, but in fact it’s straightforward AOR. With both hard rock and symphonic leanings, it’s pleasant enough listening, though the lack of great hooks (and the heavily accented singing) mean that it never rises above the merely competent.

GRADE: C+.
Hauteville (France): Relief Data Incomplete (Lion Music LMC175, CD, Finland, 2006)
Rock
Lydie Gosselin (lead vocals)
Their second and final album, eight years down the line, is perhaps a touch more exploratory, but when all is said and done this is still nothing more than mainstream rock and AOR. It’s not particularly good mainstream rock and AOR, either, with barely a memorable moment among the thirteen songs. GRADE: C.

Hautwexel (West Germany): Hautwexel (Tatanas 7, with insert and booklet, 1987)
New Wave/Jazz/Avant-Garde
Nessi Tausendschön (occasional vocals)
This is typical German political rock, blending new wave and jazz/rock with progressive elements and some experimental edges. Here and there, they also add funk touches, hinting at Gang Of Four et al. Credited as a guest, Tausendschön sings lead on two of the seven tracks (‘Regenbogen’ and ‘Marina’); the remainder often have spoken rather than sung vocals. GRADE: C.

Hautwexel (West Germany): 8500 (Tatanas N-FC9, with booklet, 1988)
Rock/Progressive
Nessi Tausendschön (joint lead vocals)
This is somewhat more interesting than their debut, offering a more seventies-influenced sound hinting towards Amon Düül II and other Krautrock acts. The material is still fairly straight, despite the presence of a couple of long songs on side two, and once again this has the typical polit-rock trait of making the music rather secondary to the lyrics. GRADE: C+.

Hawk (South Africa): Africa She Too Can Cry (Parlophone PCSJ(D) 12087, 1972)
Rock
Audrey Motaung (backing vocals)
This pioneering multiracial South African band offer an interesting mixture of styles, with lots of African lyrical and musical references. However, the emphasis is definitely on the rock side of the equation, and they deliver a fair degree of variety, with their music ranging from the folkish to the psychedelic to borderline progressive rock. GRADE: C+.
Jo’burg Hawk (South Africa): Jo’burg Hawk (Charisma CAS 1064, UK, 1973)
Progressive
Audrey Motaung (percussion, backing vocals)
The band’s first UK release, issued under a variant name, isn’t entirely new: side one compiles songs from Africa She Too Can Cry, whilst side two features a re-recording of the ‘African Day’ suite from their self-titled debut (originally recorded with an all-male line-up). Nonetheless, this is probably their definitive release, with the suite working extremely well and the short songs on the first side providing excellent counterpoint. Oddly, the South African CD reissue of Africa She Too Can Cry (Fresh Music FRESHCD137, 2005?) is actually this album plus some bonus material from singles and Live And Well. GRADE: C+.

Jo’burg Hawk (South Africa): Live And Well (Parlophone PSCJ 12090, 1974)

Progressive

Audrey Motaung (occasional vocals)

Their fourth and final album (a studio set, despite the title and cover photograph of a band member on stage) is probably their best. It offers some lively rock, with the African elements slightly more pronounced than usual, including a fine 15-minute suite. Oddly, the CD reissue (Fresh Music FRESHCD 175, 2010) includes most of the original LP tracks missing from the Africa She Too Can Cry CD. GRADE: C+.

Emily Hay, Michael Whitmore & Brad Dutz (USA): Otherparts (Fullscale FSR 001, CD, 1993)
Jazz/Folk/World Music
Emily Hay (lead vocals, flute)
I expected this to be avant-garde, given Emily Hay’s membership of Motor Totemist Guild and U Totem, but in fact it’s a collection of odd, sparse, minimalist but melodic songs and instrumentals. To call it superior background music might be damning it with faint praise, but whilst effective and sometimes eerie this is not an album that clamours for attention. GRADE: C+.
Emily Hay & Marcos Fernandes (USA): We Are (Public Eyesore PECD 98, CD, 2005)
World Music/Jazz/Folk/Avant-Garde
Emily Hay (lead vocals, piano, flute, piccolo, electronics)
Following 12 years on, this is a logical successor to Otherparts, but it’s also very much weirder, reflecting Hay’s career in avant-prog. Again the music is sparse and folky, though this time the ethnic elements are more strongly emphasised, electronics and touches of musique concrete add trippy counterpart, and Hay goes off the deep end with scatting and glossolalia, sounding like Urszula Dudziak reincarnated as a folk hippie or Cleo Laine exploring the developing world in the grip of some particularly powerful peyote. GRADE: C+.

Emily Hay (USA): Like Minds (pfMentum CD022, CD, 2005)
Folk/World Music/Jazz/Avant-Garde
Emily Hay (lead vocals, flute, piccolo)
According to the liner notes, ‘all tracks are improvisations with no overdubs or second takes’, and the results are as varied as you might expect. Most of it works well, offering Hay’s usual mix of ethnic folk and avant-gardism, but a few numbers consist of the random crashes and strums typical of free-jazz. GRADE: C+.

Emily Hay, Brad Dutz & Wayne Peet (USA): Emily Hay, Brad Dutz And Wayne Peet (pfMentum CD043, CD, 2007)
Folk/World Music/Jazz/Avant-Garde
Emily Hay (lead vocals, flute, effects)
This collaboration with keyboardist Peet and percussionist Dutz is possibly the best of Hay’s solo albums. Mainly instrumental, it’s all improvised and frequently quite weird, but Peet’s elegant organ work adds a rock and prog edge missing from her other excursions.

GRADE: C+.
Brad Dutz, Emily Hay & Motoko Honda (USA): Polarity Taskmasters (No label 8W023, CDR, 2010)
Folk/World Music/Jazz/Avant-Garde
Emily Hay (lead vocals, flute, effects), Motoko Honda (piano, effects)
This is another accomplished album, with Motoko Honda’s elegant piano playing adding a classical dimension to Hay’s usual synthesis of folk, jazz and world music. As with most improvised albums, some parts work better than others, but mostly this is very satisfying stuff. GRADE: C+.
See also Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, IAM Umbrella, Jeff Kaiser Ockodectet, Motor Totemist Guild, Adam Rudolph & Go:Organic Orchestra, U Totem

Lou Hayles (UK): Don’t Hide Away (Myrrh MYR 1055, with inner, 1977)
Singer/Songwriter
Lou Hayles (lead vocals, keyboards)
The former Meet Jesus Music’s solio debut is a world away from that band’s oddball eclecticism. Instead, Hayles unleashes her inner singer/songwriter with a lovely, heartfelt set of orchestrated Christian ballads – perhaps a bit sedate but undeniably charming and extremely well executed. GRADE: C+.
Lou Lewis (UK): Healing Stream (Window WIN 123, 1985)
Singer/Songwriter
Lou Hayles (lead vocals, piano)
Hayles’s second and final solo album, issued under her married name, is in the same vein as her first, but a little more varied: ‘Feet On The Rock’ is an uptempo gospel-flavoured number, ‘Eagles Song’ has some eighties touches including synthesisers and Linn drums, and the closing ‘Suddenly (Joy Springs Up)’ is theatrical and mildly proggy. Overall this confirms her to have been an excellent singer/songwriter, with a few slight hints of early Kate Bush, but an album like this would have been terminally uncool in 1985 even without the Christian lyrics. GRADE: C+.
See also Meet Jesus Music

Haymarket Square (USA): Magic Lantern (Chaparral CRM 201, 1968)
Psychedelic
Gloria Lambert (joint lead vocals)
One of the ‘holy grails’ of rare psychedelia, this consistently sells for huge money – despite the fact that copies regularly appear for sale on lists and that few collectors actually seem to like it much. The latter comment is perhaps a touch unfair: it’s punchy basement acid-rock, with a clear mono sound, powerful singing and lead guitar, and prominent, ostentatious drumming. Overall, they sound as much influenced by Cream as by Jefferson Airplane – and therein lies the album’s biggest drawback: the songs are simply far, far too long, with all but one being in the seven-to-ten-minute range. Were there more variety within or between the songs, this might be less of an issue, but it makes the album a little one-dimensional when played from start to finish, though quite a treat for hard psych fans when served up in chunks.

GRADE: C+.

Haystack (New Zealand): As We Appear (Tree TRLP-6, with insert, 1977)
Folk/Rock
Merilyn Harter (lead vocals)
The ridiculous sleeve notes proclaim that ‘Haystack are probably the most unusual and original group to emerge on the recording scene for some time’. In fact, they offer a quaint mixture of folk/rock, pop and singer/songwriter influences with a rather MOR edge. However, if that description makes the LP sound unappealing, the songwriting here is absolutely world class, with notable rock elements as well and good use of synthesiser and flute creating a dreamy mood. With this level of composing talent, the band was hugely unlucky not to break through to the big time, and it’s a shame that this album remains so obscure. GRADE: B–.

Hazchem (UK): Strange Attractor (World Wide SPM WWR-CD-0011, CD, Germany, 1990)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic
Sushi Krishnamurthi (lead vocals)
This is basically High Tide under another name, offering a similar brand of jamming psychedelic rock, albeit with a jazzier edge. At its worst, the disc can be tuneless and meandering, but for the most part it’s effectively dynamic and spacy, and it was certainly very different from almost everything else that was coming out in 1990. GRADE: B–.
Hazchem (UK): Star Map Excursion (World Wide SPM WWR-CD-0011, CD, Germany, 1991)
Jazz/Rock/Psychedelic
Sushi Krishnamurthi (lead vocals)
Like its predecessor, this is an excellent album of Eastern-influenced jamming, with lots of complexity and invention. My own copy is a CDR with a printed World Wide label, but I’m assuming silver disc copies exist as well. GRADE: B–.

See also High Tide

Haze (UK): Haze (No label 00174, 1974)
Folk/Rock
Daphne Shellan (occasional vocals), Sheila Marshall (occasional vocals), Gillian Burrows (occasional vocals), Anne Battle (occasional vocals), Rebecca Wheeler (occasional vocals), Gale Arnold (occasional vocals), Patricia Duncan (occasional vocals), Janet Dobinson (occasional vocals), Toni Greenwood (occasional vocals), Debbie Colling (occasional vocals), Pauline Matt (occasional vocals), Noreen Hargreaves (occasional vocals), Katie Ormond (occasional vocals), Susan Hulls (guitar)
Nothing to do with the eighties progressive rock band of the same name, this is a secondary school project alternating songs and recitations of poems. Unlike most similar ventures, Haze are rooted in rock as much as folk and the backing is electric throughout, with hesitant, mainly female, vocals fronting tentative covers of Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel numbers, as well as what appears to be a suite of anti-war material occupying the first half of side two. Like Langley Schools Music Project, which this otherwise fails to resemble, this is interesting for some note-perfect vocals in which the young singers appear not to understand the content of the lyrics: ‘Candle In The Wind’ is a case in point. A couple of short jams, ‘Instant’ and ‘Free Coffee’, up the rock quotient considerably, making for a varied and rather charming set. GRADE: C+.