Roy Harper

Born in Captivity

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Here's an admirable example of creative recycling. After learning that fans preferred his rough tapes to their finished counterparts on Work of Heart (1985), Harper duly issued them on the short-lived Awareness label. The quality and format are pretty scrappy -- being just Harper's double-tracked vocals and guitar -- but hardcore fans won't care. "Ravedown" might be the best way of describing the mood here. "Elizabeth" should be the most familiar title; it's pretty close to the track that graced Harper's album with Jimmy Page, Whatever Happened to Jugula? (1984). However, its sparkling melody shines through, even in this relatively stripped-down context. Elsewhere, songs like "No Woman Is Safe" maintained Harper's profile as a proud provocateur.

The stripped-down "Work of Heart" fits into the Harper tradition of extended ruminations at the state of the world ("We Are the People") and distaste for Christianity's premises ("No One Ever Gets out Alive"). This album's obviously a minor entry in Harper's discography, but offers some worthwhile enough insight into his creative process.

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