Flat Baroque and Berserk
|Flat Baroque and Berserk|
|Studio album by Roy Harper|
|Recorded||August - September 1969, Les Cousins, Abbey Road Studios, London, England|
|Genre||Folk, progressive folk, folk baroque|
|Label||Harvest SHVL 766
Chrysalis CHR 1160
Science Friction HUCD003
|Roy Harper chronology|
Flat Baroque and Berserk was the first of Harper's recordings to enter the charts, reaching number 20 in the UK album chart in January 1970. Produced by Peter Jenner and recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Flat Baroque... was the first of eight albums recorded for EMI's Harvest label. Harper has said of the album, "for the first time in my recording career, proper care and attention was paid to the presentation of the song."
The album contains some of Harper's best-known songs. "I Hate the White Man", in particular, is noted for its uncompromising lyrics, and Allmusic described the song as
certainly one of his most notable (and notorious) compositions, a spew of lilting verbiage that's hard to peg. It could be irony, it could be ironic self-hatred, it could be muddled reflections on the chaos that is the modern world, or it could be a combination of all of them.
Harper described the song as
a testament to my lifelong devotion to espousing equal rights for all humans. I have long since wondered about the wisdom of stating that you have more than the capacity to hate your own race for it's (sic) misdemeanors, but as a polemic it has been both an effective tool and somewhere of a place to stand.
The album also features "Another Day", a song of regret for lost love. The lyrics are written from the point of view of a man looking back with regret upon a missed chance that might have led him to a love he has searched for. The song was covered as a duet by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel in her 1979 television special, and later by This Mortal Coil on their 1984 album It'll End in Tears. The cover by Bush led to collaboration with Harper in 1980; he singing backing vocals on her song "Breathing" and she duetting on the track "You" on Harper's album The Unknown Soldier.
The album closes with one of Harper's most rock-based tracks, "Hell's Angels", on which backing is provided by progressive rock band The Nice and features the unusual combination of acoustic guitar played through a wah-wah pedal.
Tracks on compilation albums
One of the album tracks, "Song of the Ages" appeared on the 1970 Harvest Records sampler album, Picnic – A Breath of Fresh Air. However, the inclusion of the previously unreleased Pink Floyd song, "Embryo", considered unfinished by the band and used without their permission, saw the album's withdrawal from sale.
A similarly entitled retrospective compilation album, A Breath of Fresh Air – A Harvest Records Anthology 1969–1974, was released in 2007. This 3 disc compilation contained only three tracks in common with its precursor. Harper's "Song of the Ages" was dropped in favour of "Francesca" and "Don't You Grieve", and two other Harper tracks were also included; "South Africa" from his 1973 release Lifemask and "Twelve Hours Of Sunset" from his following 1974 album Valentine.
All tracks credited to Roy Harper except where indicated
- "Don't You Grieve" – 5:43
- "I Hate the White Man" – 8:03
- "Feeling All the Saturday" – 1:56
- "How Does It Feel?" – 6:29
- "Goodbye" – 5:42
- "Another Day" – 2:57
- "Davey" – 1:30
- "East of the Sun" – 3:02
- "Tom Tiddler's Ground" – 6:48
- "Francesca" – 1:19
- "Song of the Ages" (H. Ash) – 3:52
- "Hell's Angels" – 7:46
- Phil McDonald – sound engineer
- Neil Richmond – sound engineer
- David Bedford – additional musician
- Brian Davison – additional musician
- Keith Emerson – additional musician
- Lee Jackson – additional musician
- Tony Visconti – additional musician