Flat Baroque and Berserk

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Flat Baroque and Berserk
Studio album by
Released June 1970
Recorded August - September 1969
Studio Les Cousins, Abbey Road Studios, London, England
Genre Folk, progressive folk, folk baroque
Length 55:06
Label Harvest SHVL 766
Chrysalis CHR 1160
Science Friction HUCD003
Producer Peter Jenner
Roy Harper chronology
Flat Baroque and Berserk
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]

Flat Baroque and Berserk is the fourth album by English folk / rock singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper, and was first released in 1970 by Harvest Records.


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.[2] 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."[3]

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.[4]

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.[3]

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,[5] 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.[6]

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.[6]

Two of the album's tracks "I Hate the White Man" ("Den hvite mann") and "Don't You Grieve" ("Kjære ikke gråt") were later covered by Norwegian singer Finn Kalvik whom Harper had met and performed with in Oslo in 1970.

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.

Track listing

All tracks credited to Roy Harper, except where indicated.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Don't You Grieve" 5:43
2. "I Hate the White Man" 8:03
3. "Feeling All the Saturday" 1:56
4. "How Does It Feel?" 6:29
5. "Goodbye" 5:42
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Another Day"   2:57
7. "Davey"   1:30
8. "East of the Sun"   3:02
9. "Tom Tiddler's Ground"   6:48
10. "Francesca"   1:19
11. "Song of the Ages" H. Ash 3:52
12. "Hell's Angels"   7:46


  • Phil McDonald, Neil Richmond - sound engineer
  • Lon Goddard - cover design
  • John McKenzie - photography


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ UK Chart Stats
  3. ^ a b "Flat Baroque And Berserk – CD". Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  4. ^ "Flat Baroque and Berserk". Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  5. ^ "Rock Cafe 2000, Stourbridge". Archived from the original on 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  6. ^ a b "Roy Harper Biography". Retrieved 2010-11-10.
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