12 June 1941, Rusholme, Manchester, England. Although introduced to music through his brothers skiffle group, Harpers adolescence was marked by a harrowing spell in the Royal Air Force. Having secured a discharge by feigning insanity, he drifted between mental institutions and jail, experiences which left an indelible mark on later compositions. Harper later began busking around Europe, and secured a residency at Londons famed Les Cousins club on returning to Britain. His debut album, Sophisticated Beggar (1966), was recorded in primitive conditions, but contained the rudiments of the artists later, highly personal, style. Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith was released as the singer began attracting the emergent underground audience, but he was unhappy with producer Shel Talmys rather fey arrangements. He was also subsequently unhappy with the cover shot, preferring the reinstated image used on the reissued album of a baby being born,...
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