Roy Harper

The BBC Tapes, Vol. 5: 1975-1978

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Much like the previous volume, this one highlights various sessions, this time from 1975-1978. The first one is another hard-hitting set from Trigger that only reaffirms the group's success on The BBC Tapes, Vol. 4: In Concert 1975. The second session from February 1977 includes four songs from Harper's subsequent hard rock outfit, Chips. Chips was just a slight notch below its predecessor, but did give songs from the underappreciated Bullinamingvase album bracing live treatment, including "Cherishing the Lonesome" and "These Last Days." Perhaps that outfit's best effort was turning the previously string-laden ballad "Another Day" into a folk-rock masterpiece. But without a doubt, the session with Andy Roberts from 1978 is the highlight of this disc, as it contains the best-ever version of "The Same Old Rock." Roberts replaces Jimmy Page (who played on the album version) and one-ups him by adding a decidedly Spanish-flavored solo that outclasses Page's bluesier one. Few examples of acoustic music blend haunting instrumentation, epic length and subject, and intricate interplay as this does, and -- the other sessions' merits notwithstanding -- it alone is easily worth the price of the disc.