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P.J. Harvey
Kazumasa Hashimoto

Hater
Juliana Hatfield
Hatfield & the North


Ben Harper  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Roy Harper  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Harpo  (Sweden)

Harpo, 'Leo the Leopard'

Leo the Leopard  (1974,  40.42)  **/½

The World is a Circus
Teddy Love
Long Lonely Summer
Baby Boomerang
I Don't Know Why
Sayonara
Leo the Leopard
  Leoverture
Medicine-Man (Banana Shake)
Out in the Jungle
John's Café With a Blue Star
Big Little Elephant
I'm Running (in the City)
Sunset Boulevard #1
Kangaroo
Sunset Boulevard #2
Help Me Mama (I'm in Love With a Lama)
Leopilog

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Going by his 1974 debut, Leo the Leopard, Harpo (born Jan Harpo Torsten Svensson) was (and still is) a mainstream Swedish pop/rock artist, of the 'uninteresting to most outside his home-market fanbase' variety. The album sounds like many better-known British and American artists of the period, well-played, professional and almost devoid of any points of interest to the non-fan, the vaguely Japanese-esque Sayonara being about the best thing here, certainly better than side two's side-long title suite (subtitled 'A Musical for a Rock Group and Howling Monkies'), which tells you more about it than I ever could. I'm sure that actually-not-at-all-revealing sleeve pic sold a good few copies, too, but that kind of blatant bandstanding is never going to win points around these parts (or, indeed, his).

Producer Ben (Bengt) Palmers plays Mellotron strings on Teddy Love, although the strings on several other tracks (notably Long Lonely Summer) appear to be real, making this pretty much a Mellotronic dud. For that matter, it's a dud on pretty much any grounds you might like to name, so if I were you, I don't think I'd bother.

Official site

James Harries  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Derrick Harriott  (Jamaica)

Derrick Harriott, 'More Scrubbing the Dub'

More Scrubbing the Dub  (1975,  37.54)  ***/½

Queen of Sheba
Goldern Pearl
More Scrubbing the Dub
Hail Dawta
Black Bullet
Roots Train
King Solomon
Lippy
Smile Orange Reggae
Guidance
Rasta Locks
Swinging Chariot
Derrick Harriott, 'Reggae Disco Rockers'

Reggae Disco Rockers  (1975,  44.12)  **½/T½

Eighteen With a Bullet
Love is Just Around the Corner
Fly Robin Fly
Wish Upon a Star
Caught You in a Lie
Dancing the Reggae
What About Me
Reggae Train
Castles in the Air
Look at Me (I'm in Love)
Bucketful of Tears
All Day Music

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

It's a bit of a moot point whom, precisely, the actual artist is on 1975's More Scrubbing the Dub; the sleeve is headed 'Derrick Harriott presents', yet the label mentions (below the title) 'The Chariot Riders'. What is certain is that Harriott was a renowned reggae producer by this point, working with various artists, sometimes being credited or co-credited as the artist himself, so he probably had more to do with the recording of this album than the band concerned. Despite its title, it's a long way from being a 'typical' dub album, consisting mostly of reggae instrumentals, with the occasional vocal track, but very little actual dub-plate work, the title track and Roots Train being the nearest it gets to dub sides. Harold Butler plays most of the album's keyboards, including credited Mellotron, although the only place it even might be is the very background strings on Hail Dawta, making this a bit of a no-no on the Mellotron front.

Going by the title of the same year's Reggae Disco Rockers, Harriott seems to be trying to cover as many genres as possible; what we actually get is an album of soft soul/reggae, highlighting the former's influence on the latter. A handful of Harriott originals sit alongside a range of covers, not least opener Eighteen With A Bullet, then recently a hit for its composer, Pete Wingfield, although pretty much every track is given the same laid-back treatment, which you'll either like, or, er, you won't. Butler on Mellotron again, with pseudo-orchestral strings on Wish Upon A Star and Castles In The Air, with solo flute and string parts on the latter.

These are decent enough reggae albums from the time, although heavily overshadowed by The Wailers' more revolutionary approach and subsequently sounding a little dated these days, with better Mellotron use on Reggae Disco Rockers.

Brady Harris  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Brett Harris  (US)  see: Samples etc.

David Ryan Harris  (US)

David Ryan Harris, 'David Ryan Harris'

David Ryan Harris  (1997,  48.33)  ***/T

Change
If I Had a Dime
Sympathy for the Crow
King Karma
Tricks Up My Sleeve
Nothing More to Say
Sleep
Me and the Leaves
It's All the Same
Six Feet Off the Ground
Genie

Current availability:

Mellotron/Chamberlin used:

David Ryan Harris sang in Follow for Now in the '80s, who toured with the likes of Fishbone and 24-7 Spyz, before going solo later the following decade. David Ryan Harris is the first fruit of his solo career, a varied rock/pop/soul effort, veering off into jazz territory on occasion; pretty mainstream, but surprisingly good, all things considered, probably at its best on the bluesy King Karma and mildly jazzy It's All The Same.

Joey Huffman plays both tape-replay instruments, with distant Mellotron strings on opener Change and Genie, more upfront ones on It's All The Same and background Chamberlin flutes on Sleep. Despite four tape-replay tracks, I can't really recommend this on those grounds, but at least it's good at what it does.

Official site

George Harrison  (UK)

George Harrison, 'Wonderwall Music'

Wonderwall Music  (1968,  45.44)  ****/TT

Microbes
Red Lady Too
Tabla and Pakavaj
In the Park
Drilling a Home
Guru Vandana
Greasy Legs
Ski-ing
Gat Kirwani
Dream Scene
Party Seacombe
Love Scene
Crying
Cowboy Music
Fantasy Sequins
On the Bed
Glass Box
Wonderwall to Be Here
Singing Om

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

George's first solo album is the soundtrack (or a part thereof) to 'Wonderwall', apparently a rather run-of-the-mill psychedelic-era film (I've never seen it) about a guy who brightens his life up a little by drilling a hole through to his hippy neighbours to spy on their lifestyle, falling in love with Jane Birkin in the process (understandable). Slight? Undoubtedly, but George's soundtrack music's really rather good, mixing pieces of Indian music (Microbes, Tabla And Pakavaj, Glass Box etc.) with more typically late-'60s fare, with generous helpings of barroom piano, with the occasional bit of Mellotron thrown in, too. As with most soundtracks, don't expect a cohesive effort here; Dream Scene and Cowboy Music are much as you'd expect, while the frankly bizarre Crying features two violins wailing up and down the scale in an onomatopoeic manner.

Wonderwall Music is actually notable (at least on this site) for being George's only use of (presumably) his own Mark II; at least, I don't know of any other 'Tron use throughout his lengthy solo career, although this album is hardly loaded with it. Red Lady Too has flute chords doubled with 'Tron vibes behind the almost honky-tonk piano, while Drilling A Home features MkII Dixieland rhythms with some interesting varispeed tape effects. Greasy Legs has more vibes, but Wonderwall To Be Here is the album's Mellotronic highlight, with some gorgeous strings giving a very Moodies-like feel to the far too short piece. The recent CD issue adds a swarm of bonus tracks, which I believe are the rest of the soundtrack, plus other odd bits, including a track recorded with George by the Remo Four, on which I hope to comment as soon as I get to hear them.

So... do you or don't you? Well, Wonderwall Music is probably best described as a 'period piece', and it's quite a pleasant listen, but don't expect to hear much (any?) of George's guitar work on it, although Eric Clapton is apparently present somewhere along the line (maybe the psych leads on Ski-ing?). As for the Mellotron, there are only two or three particularly good tracks, and only one of those is at all overt, so I'd probably have to say no for the 'Tron, not sure for the music, but yes for a small piece of music history.

Official site

See: Bootlegs | Beatles | Paul McCartney | John Lennon | Ringo Starr

Trey Harrison  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Angie Hart  (Australia)  see: Samples etc.

Beth Hart  (US)

Beth Hart, 'Screamin' for My Supper'

Screamin' for My Supper  (1999,  60.50/65.30)  **½/T½

Just a Little Hole
Delicious Surprise
L.A. Song (Out of This Town)

Is That Too Much to Ask
By Her
Get Your Shit Together
Stay
G.O.P.
Skin
Girls Say
Sky is Falling
Mama
Favorite Things
[bonus tracks:
Take Me Away
There's No Sound]

Current availability:

Chamberlin used:

Beth Hart is an L.A.-based singer-songwriter who, going by her performance on her second album, Screamin' for My Supper, desperately wants to be 'soulful', ending up sounding like an updated Janis Joplin (who, ironically, she has played in an off-Broadway show). There's nothing actually wrong with her voice per se, but if she stopped over-emoting for all she's worth, she'd be a lot easier on the ears. Most of the material is far too R&B-ish for my liking, although there's obviously a vast market for this stuff; not in my house, however.

In addition to the four-piece band Hart has playing with her (she plays keyboards, too), several musicians are credited on a track-by-track basis, which tells us that the ubiquitous Patrick Warren plays Chamberlin on two tracks, with various strings on Delicious Surprise and L.A. Song (Out Of This Town). However, there are three other obvious Chamby tracks, so I can only assume that her 'regular' keys man, Benmont Tench (Tom Petty's Heartbreakers) plays it, as he's done for so many other artists, not least Johnny Cash and Aimee Mann, with strings on Just A Little Hole and the album's hidden track, There's No Sound and a short flute part on Skin.

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Corey Hart  (Canada)  see: Samples etc.

Roddy Hart  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Louise Hart  (Denmark)

Louise Hart, 'Louise Hart'

Louise Hart  (2002,  41.39)  **/T

Before You Come Home
I Know the Story

Romantic Movies
I Won't Break to Pieces
If This is Goodbye
I Don't Wanna Hurt You Anymore
I'll Give You Roses
Satellites and Candlelight
Lack of Love
I'm Still the Same
Okey

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Mellotron used:

Actor/singer Louise Hart's 2002 eponymous debut is a mainstream pop/rock record of the dullest kind, tiresomely upbeat in a 'please buy me!' kind of way. No, try as I might, no best tracks, despite the 'rock' guitar on I Don't Wanna Hurt You Anymore.

Tim Christensen is credited with Mellotron, with background strings on I Know The Story, which poses the question: what the hell are we hearing on opener Before You Come Home? Full-on Mellotron strings, says I, so damn the torpedoes and highlight the bugger. Terrible album, though.

Official site

Jamie Hartman  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Torsten Hartmann  (Germany)

Torsten Hartmann, 'Those Days'

Those Days  (1980,  37.24)  ***/TT½

Girl in a Cafe
The Dreams of Sandy
Lifetime and a Day
Forest Hill
When I Was a Leaf
Since You Came
Those Days
Winter Wind
When the Day is Done
Soon

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Torsten Hartmann was vocalist with obscure German proggers Sea Goat, who finally released their debut album some forty-something years after their formation (!). His solo debut, 1980's English-language Those Days, is a folk-infused singer-songwriter record, possibly at its best on Forest Hill, Hartmann accompanied on a beautifully-played Rhodes, the cello-driven instrumental title track and brief acoustic closer Soon. To be searingly honest, his voice isn't the most arresting you'll ever hear, but his muted tones suit much of the material here.

Sea Goat's Matthias Wolfgarten and Walter Bauer play Mellotron, with a low strings wash on opener Girl In A Cafe, barely any more than an E minor chord drifting in and out of the mix, more upfront strings on Lifetime And A Day and When The Day Is Done and background ones on Since You Came and Winter Wind.

See: Sea Goat

Harvestman  (US)  see: Samples etc.

Mike Harvey  (New Zealand)

Mike Harvey, 'Great Expectations'

Great Expectations  (1978,  34.22)  ***/½

Cauldron
Love Theme
Crusher
In Eastern Times
The Awakening
Great Expectations Suite
We'd Like to Know

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Kiwi soundtrack composer Mike Harvey's keyboard-led Great Expectations is 'prog' in the way that Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds is prog, which is to say, not very. None of its seven tracks really sounds like any other; opener Cauldron is kind of electro-prog, in a Jean Michel Jarre-ish way, Love Theme is as cheesy as its title sounds, Crusher sounds like a War of the Worlds outtake, although The Awakening's jazzy touches lift it out of the morass. Did I say cheesy? The Great Expectations Suite is like every piece of gloopy film music you've ever heard, although closer We'd Like To Know has something of Saga about it (although it's unlikely Harvey had heard them in '78), title, Dave Dobbyn's vocals and all.

Harvey plays what sounds like distant Mellotron choirs on We'd Like To Know, assuming the voices aren't produced by anything else; was Roland's VP-330 available at this point? Anyway, this stays here unless I find that it shouldn't. I wouldn't go out of your way to hear it, though. Three stars is being kind.

P.J. Harvey  (UK)

P.J. Harvey, 'Is This Desire?'

Is This Desire?  (1998,  40.37)  ***½/T

Angeline
The Sky Lit Up
The Wind
My Beautiful Leah
A Perfect Day Elise
Catherine
Electric Light
The Garden
Joy
The River
No Girl So Sweet
Is This Desire?

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Mellotrons used:

As is well documented, Polly Jean Harvey is a modern-day enigma, constantly changing her sound and image, always a step ahead of the pack. Sound like someone else we know? Kate Bush also falls into this category to an extent, but to her credit, Harvey sounds nothing like her, vocally or musically, unlike several other female singers I can think of. She apparently becomes irritated when critics assume that her work is autobiographical. Fair point; does anyone accuse Dylan of always writing about his own life? Actually, they probably do, which says more about them than him, I think.

1998's Is This Desire?, like the rest of her output, is effectively a singer-songwriter album, albeit heavily stylised, with the core of the album being Polly's actual songs, which are pretty good if you ignore some of the now-dated arrangements. Despite the real strings on several tracks, I'm pretty sure it's Mellotron on the heavily electronic My Beautiful Leah, with strings from either late-period Captain Beefheart collaborator Eric Drew Feldman or John Parish, sounding distinctly different to the real ones.

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Kazumasa Hashimoto  (Japan)

Kazumasa Hashimoto, 'Tokyo Sonata'

Tokyo Sonata  [OST]  (2008,  46.20)  ****/TTTT

Main Theme A
Shisso
Kokkyo
Unten [take 1]
Unten [take 2]
Nami
Main Theme B

Clair de Lune
Asa
Ryuhei no Mezame
Kaigyaku
Ansoku
Ryushi
Daini no Ansoku
Tori no Yume
Toku ni Mieru Hikari
Okina Juryoku
Suimin

Yasashii Koe
Ending
Echo, Echo
Clair de Lune

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Mellotron used:

Kazumasa Hashimoto's Tokyo Sonata is his soundtrack to the 2008 film of the same name, a modern tale of how 'normality' and harmony can be destroyed by circumstance. The soundtrack is a truly beautiful piece of work, performed on woodwind, piano and Mellotron; heartbreakingly transparent, this is not the soundtrack to your typical Hollywood all-action blockbuster. Aside from Debussy's Clair De Lune (the last track is Hashimoto's own arrangement, only found on this album), all the material is original, so no selection of current indie faves and past 'classics' to distract us here. This isn't the kind of album that has 'highlights' per se; it's designed to be listened to in its entirety, and at a mere 46 minutes, surely that isn't asking too much of the listener?

Hashimoto plays what appear to be real Mellotron flutes on a large chunk of the album. Certain notes sound the same (wobbly, dull, even flat) every time they're played, which could indicate first-generation samples, but then, chances are they would using the real thing, if it was badly adjusted. Anyway, it's the main sound used on all the highlighted tracks above (plus cellos on Okina Juryoku and Ending), highlights including the Main Theme, Unten [Take 2] and Okina Juryoku. Listen, this is one of the best 'Mellotron albums' I've heard in a while; do yourself a favour and get to hear it. Great composition and shedloads of 'Tron work; what's not to like?

Official site

See: Samples etc.

Annie Haslam  (UK)  see: Samples etc.

Hater  (US)

Hater, 'Hater'

Hater  (1993,  31.06)  **½/T

Mona Bone Jakon
Who Do I Kill?
Tot Finder
Lion and Lamb
Roadside
Down Undershoe
Circles
Putrid
Blistered
Sad McBain

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Mellotron used:

Hater were a Soundgarden side-project, formed by bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron, along with Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain, all three going on to play in the rather better Wellwater Conspiracy. Hater's unformed riffs give the Seattle game away; my chief problem with the whole 'grunge' explosion is that, for something supposedly in the hard rock area, decent riffs are at a premium, although I suppose its thrashy post-punk chord sequences define it. Doesn't make me like it any more, though... Despite the album's brevity, it still manages to outstay its welcome, sounding exactly like what it is: a side-project made by the rhythm section of a better-known band. Sorry, but this is pretty unexciting stuff, badly sung and only competently played, and what the hell's with the country-punk Blistered?

Glenn Slater plays Mellotron on one track, with a rather badly played string part on Lion And Lamb, which really isn't going to put this at the top of your 'Mellotron wants list', or probably even on it all, to be honest. Think: bassist and drummer record side-project. Mind you, the Wellwater Conspiracy are great; maybe they'd got their heads round the whole business by then. Oh, and for anyone else who's spotted the title, opener Mona Bone Jakon is the Cat Stevens track, apparently with Shepherd's additional lyrics.

Official site

See: Soundgarden | Monster Magnet | Wellwater Conspiracy

Juliana Hatfield  (US)

Juliana Hatfield, 'Only Everything'

Only Everything  (1995,  51.23)  **½/T

What a Life
Fleur de Lys
Universal Heart-Beat
Dumb Fun
Live on Tomorrow
Dying Proof
Bottles and Flowers
Outsider
OK OK
Congratulations
Hang Down From Heaven
My Darling
Simplicity is Beautiful
You Blues

Current availability:

Mellotron used:

Juliana Hatfield (ex-Blake Babies) has attracted quite a bit of stick during her career for coming from a fairly well-off family. Well, kiss my arse; so what? If I tried to compile a list of 'rock stars from comfortable homes', I'd be here all year, and it's only February. Going by her second solo album proper, 1995's Only Everything, I would criticise her for her bland, mainstream 'alternative' rock (alternative to what, precisely?), but that's another matter. Maybe if the album had been trimmed down to 30-something minutes it might be better, but 50 minutes of her sub-Pixies/Nirvana style gets a bit much after a while. That isn't to say that the whole album's a dullsville waste of time; Congratulations features an interesting high-up-the-neck riff (a Hatfield trademark, apparently), while Hang Down From Heaven's acoustic verses break the pattern nicely, but there are too many also-rans here, doing the album no favours at all.

Hatfield herself plays Mellotron on My Darling, with a nice enough flute part that almost certainly comes from a real 'Tron, and not a very well maintained one, by the sound of it. That's your lot, though, and it's a lot of substandard post-grunge to listen to for one barely passable track.

Official site

Hatfield & the North  (UK)

Hatfield & the North, 'Hatfield & the North'

Hatfield & the North  (1973,  46.20/54.11)  ***½/T

The Stubbs Effect
Big Jobs (Poo Poo Extract)
Going Up to People and Tinkling
Calyx
Son of 'There's No Place Like Homerton'
Aigrette
Rifferama
Fol de Rol
Shaving is Boring
Licks for the Ladies
Bossa Nochance
Big Jobs No.2 (By Poo and the Wee Wees)
Lobster in Cleavage Probe
Gigantic Land Crabs in Earth Takeover Bid
The Other Stubbs Effect
[CD adds:
Let's Eat (Real Soon)
Fitter Stoke Has a Bath]
Hatfield & the North, 'The Rotters Club'

The Rotters Club  (1975,  50.19/63.26)  ***½/½

Share it
Lounging There Trying
(Big) John Wayne Socks
  Psychology on the Jaw
Chaos at the Greasy Spoon
The Yes No Interlude
Fitter Stoke Has a Bath
Didn't Matter Anyway
Underdub
Mumps
  Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (quiet)
  Lumps
  Prenut
  Your Majesty is Like a Cream Donut (loud)

[CD adds:
(Big) John Wayne Socks Psychology
  on the Jaw
Chaos at the Greasy Spoon
Halfway Between Heaven and Earth
Oh, Len's Nature!
Lything and Gracing]

Current availability:

Mellotrons used:

Hatfield and the North (named after a road sign on the A1 on the way out of London - still there, last I saw) were part of the rather nebulous 'Canterbury' scene, progressive rock characterised by a jazzy bent, not to mention somewhat substance-inspired song titles. The Hatfields are a particularly bad example of this, obviously finding something howlingly funny about the titles you see above, although the music suggests nothing of the sort. In fact, the Your Majesty Is Like A Cream Donut bit is borrowed directly from Monty Python, so if I was feeling generous I could write the whole thing off to boyish enthusiasm. Or something. However, it's impossible to slag the band's musical dexterity; fuck, could they play! If you're impressed by obscenely outrageous displays of musicianship (and I know some of you are - and where you live), you'll be blown away by these albums.

Hatfield and the North is at its best when the singing stops, so it's a good job it's largely instrumental. The tracks run into each other to the point where you have to watch the CD display to know when you're on the next one, making me suspect that the track divisions are pretty arbitrary, and mainly there to give the band free rein on their penchant for idiotic titles. Dave Stewart (good Dave Stewart, of Egg, Arzachel etc., as against evil Dave Stewart of the bloody Eurythmics) plays his heart out here, with the sort of instrumental callisthenics that could get him a job as trick keyboardist at the circus; really quite spectacular, with considerable melodic invention. Pity it's all rather dodgy jazz-rock, really, as the band had talent to spare, but obviously considered this was a good area in which to utilise it. Anyway, aside from the usual piano, organ and synths stuff, Stewart plays some typically abstruse Mellotron strings on the rocking Shaving Is Boring, just before it lurches into the 'Caravan section', with that irritating organ sound favoured by bands from Canterbury. Maybe it was something you could only buy there. Let's hope so. The CD bonus tracks are from a single released later in '74, by the way. Yes, they released a single.

The Rotters Club shifts further into 'irritating jazz territory', with too many vocal sections for comfort, though the instrumental sections are still ridiculously dextrous, as you'd expect. The only 'Tron this time round is a few chords at the beginning of Didn't Matter Anyway, with literally a handful of string chords that fade in, then out again. I can't give an album less than half a 'T', but this barely deserves even that; I'm not sure I've heard another album containing so little Mellotron, without (of course), containing none. Why bother? Incidentally, due to the restrictions of my HTML table formatting, Mumps is actually the whole of side two, although its four parts are listed in the second column above, and the bonus tracks are from a posthumous album, Afters.

Anyway, if ferociously-played jazz-rock's your bag, you'll love the Hatfields. Conversely, if it's not... There are a few good tunes (remember them?) here and there on these albums, but they tend to be a bit few and far between. There's so little Mellotron, particularly on The Rotters Club, that they were barely even worth reviewing, to be honest. One (or two) for musos everywhere.

See: Egg | Pip Pyle


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