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Roy Harper - Born In Captivity CD (album) cover

BORN IN CAPTIVITY

Roy Harper

 

Prog Folk

3.63 | 10 ratings

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SteveG
4 stars The track listing erroneously listed in the PA discography, Roy's fault no doubt since tacking over the masters of his music and setting up production for physical product and distribution in the nineties, Born In Captivity is the following songs only: 01. Stan (5:03) 02. Drawn To The Flames (4:44) 03. Come To Bed Eyes (4:21) 04. No Woman Is Safe (4:42) 05. I Am A Child (3:59) 06. Elizabeth (4:48) 07. Work Of Heart (19:21)

These were originally remarkably recorded demos for that were used by Roy to make his over produced 1982 album Work of Heart. That album came off badly, but Roy was enthused by the universal response he had gotten playing this material in solo acoustic concerts in the UK and Europe and was determined to put them out as an album as well in 1984. The small label that distributed Born In Captivity went belly up as soon as the album was mastered, but this hidden gem can still be obtained from Harper's website on CD and download on a special compilation with the Work Of Heart Album.

What makes these demos so good, aside from their excellent sound quality, is Roy's new fascination with amplified Acoustic guitars like Ovation Legend which opened up a whole new sound palette to Harper who is a bit of an unsung genius when it comes to guitar tones. His majestic playing was amped up and inspired Roy to record difficult multi part multi tracked guitar figures and leads. He farther multi tracked his own vocals both while singing and scat harmonising to produce colors that perhaps an organ could fill later. The result is magnificent.

All of the songs are good but the track that truly stands out is the near twenty minute epic Work Of Heart in which Harper neatly lies out his chief concerns both socially and personally about his distrust of religion, his inner need to find a soulmate and his despair over the lack of communication between people in the same societies and their feelings of alienation. This would all be too heavy if it wasn't for musics insistent hooks, quick tempo and melody changes and Harper's amazing singing and playing skills.

If you like acoustic based Harper albums like Stormcock and Lifemask, then Born In Captivity should be in your collection.

SteveG | 4/5 |

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