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Born in Captivity—5 
 
Released: 1984

1) Stan  2) Drawn to the Flames  3) Come To Bed Eyes  4) No Woman Is Safe  5) I Am A Child  6) Elizabeth  7) Work of Heart

 

During gigs following the release for “Work of Heart,” Roy sold 880 copies of the album “Born in Captivity.”  The record was nothing more than demos and outtakes of “Work of Heart” that were recorded in Harper’s home studio before it was seized by the bank.  Obviously, they have a more down-home feel, and are not overproduced with 80s cheese.  Fan reaction was so strong that when Harper was able to get his feet back on the ground, he decided to package this album together with “Work of Heart” on a two record set.

 

Born in Captivity” features four songs that were previously released on “Work of Heart.”  Each sound better here, but they still do not represent Harper’s best as a songwriter.  Drawn to the Flames” is much more successful generating atmosphere than it was previously.  It isn’t an amazing song, but this version is more accessible.  No Woman Is Safe” is really just the demo of “Jack of Hearts.”  It is virtually the same, meaning a decent and well-played latter day Harper tune.  I Am A Child” sucks less in this rendering, but still sucks.  The synthesizer-less “Work of Heart” is better in places, but not as good in others.  The one heard here though is over two minutes shorter; so give the nod to this version.

 

Elizabeth” is a very good, but slightly boring song that would appear the next year as an album track on “Whatever Happened to Jugula?”  It is moody and features the best melody on either album.  Stan” is Roy’s ode to football.  It isn’t on par with “When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease,” but it is easily better than every song previously released on this record.  It has a nice, moody feel and a good rhythm.  Come To Bed Eyes” is also better than every other song on “Work Of Heart.”  It is a grand Harper ballad and could have really helped out on the original record. 

 

Overall, this is way better than “Work of Heart.”  It is far from Roy’s best, but is not the embarrassment of his previous album.  It proves that Harper was not washed up and that “Work of Heart” was just an unimpressive attempt to sound contemporary.

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