The following review of Live At Les Cousins was publised in Brum Beat magazine, issue 186 (November 1996). Copyright Andy Mabbett, 1996.
Although recorded in August 1969, the tapes for this two CD set have languished, until recently, in EMI's dusty vaults.
Around the time that Harper - the first of many tagged "the English Bob Dylan" - was singing his guts out in a cellar in Soho, the original was entertaining a slightly larger audience on the Isle of Wight. The London crowd got the better deal, and probably cheaper tickets, too, if the five bob quoted on the repro'd flyer is anything to go by. They even got to hear Harper's Dylan impression on North Country.
For his fans, the album is an interesting snapshot of the developing transition from the early, if not innocent, short songs from the first brace of albums to the longer suites that would make Harper's name and see him through most of the Seventies. Fortunately, some of the between-song banter is also recorded and, as anyone who' seen him live will know, that's half the fun of his shows. The paucity of bootlegged live material from this era will ensure that the man's many admirers will devour this offering, but there is enough freshness captured on this disc, even after all these years, to tickle the ears of even the most jaded of non-believers.
**** (four stars out of five)
2011-01-01 16:54:52 UTC - GNU/Linux (i686)