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Miracles For Beginners

Nick Harper Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: 12.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Dec 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Weatherbox
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,963 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Miracle For Beginners 3:590.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Blue Sky Thinking 3:520.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold 4:190.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Magic Feather 3:030.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Evo 3:580.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. 2 Secs 4:540.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Always 4:550.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Your Love Has Saved Me From Myself 2:490.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Communication 5:090.89  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Simple 5:000.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Nick Harper, son of folk legend Roy Harper, is a prolific and robust folk singer, now up to his sixth studio album. As well, he has recorded a live double and an instrumental guitar set.

Miracles For Beginners is trademark Nick - perfectly constructed folk tunes with impassioned, and often witty, lyricism. He is not afraid to reveal his influences too. There are clear signs of his father's high-wire acoustic flourishes, abstruse writing and sexy Lancastrian delivery. Present too are echoes of the crisp tune-smithery of long time collaborator Glen Tillbrook, most notably on ''Always''.

However, this Harper set is a little patchy, especially if compared alongside 1995's Seed and 2004's Blood Songs which updated brilliantly the folk confessional. There are stand out tracks of course - Harper always oozes fine tunes and searing deliveries - but there are fillers too.

Favourites include The Field of the Cloth of Gold', where he sets a whimsical drama to some fabulous guitar picking. Harper imagines himself back in the great days of Albion 'trying to lend some honour to the family name'. Also, the political ''Evo Morales'', is thought provoking, and the closing track ''Simple'', a lovely lyric set alongside melodies by the Deep Thought Choir. Harper implores us to keep 'all together now - we've got everything we need and more'.

There are fine moments on Miracles For Beginners, but all too often obscure introspection leaves songs hanging in mid air. Harper though must be applauded for trying be a politically inclined sort of modern troubadour. He wants to balance folk perennials like love and longing with social conscience. --Charles De Ledesma

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up from Mr Grey 6 Jun 2007
Format:Audio CD
I was very excited to hear the new album as it promised to be a more "cut-down" production, allowing Nick's superlative guitar playing and very flexible voice to come to the fore. I felt that some of the previous studio offerings were somewhat over-embellished with instrumentation. Anyone that's seen Nick play live can testify that he doesn't need anything other than the trusty Lowden, some guitar effects, and his voice (which does take some extreme punishment at times... I suppose that could be said for the Lowden too!) to captivate and mesmerise an audience.

Some of the tracks do include drums and bass (1,6,7 and 8) and keyboards (1,10). The liner notes would have you believe these instruments are played by people such as Margaret Dumont, Thelma Todd and Mae Busch, though some internet searches might lead you to think that there might be something a bit fishy going on here...

So what is it like? Well, some of the songs have had outings in recent gigs and make their transition to record really well. I can honestly say that, this time round, I do not feel that the live "vibe" to the songs has been lost at all. "Blue Sky Thinking" (the single) and "The Field of the Cloth of Gold" are just perfect examples of acoustic music, not to mention "Simple" which is wonderfully augmented by some Harpic chorals in the background. I even like the song about football (Evo) which is going some for a sport-hater like myself.

I can take or leave one or two tracks, like "Always" and "Your Love Has Saved Me from Myself" but it is always a little difficult to get to grips with new songs on the first few listens so that may change. It's interesting that these tracks are the most musically embellished, so perhaps my personal listening prejudices are showing there.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
With 'Miracles for Beginners', Nick Harper has achieved the almost-impossible: he has made his best album ever. This is a stunning, emotional, well-produced, sweeping and (dare I say it) mature piece of work that stands as a song cycle as well as it does a group of amazing songs.

Nick's voice may never have sounded better and richer, and the harmonies he creates with himself are really stuck in my head ages after the songs are over. And, though not one electric guitar is included in the mix, tracks on the album rock out quite hard! Hopefully this should answer Nick's critics who say his studio albums are never as effective as his live work, and will give him some of the popular recognition he sorely deserves.

The overwhelming theme is love, as it was in 'Blood Songs'. 'Miracles...' is more an ode to romantic and everlasting love, without being mawkish or soppy in any way. It's almost impossible to pick just a few of the 10, but standout tracks for me include 'Always' (a deceptively simple love song that states perfectly - and with typical Harpic humour - how it feels to love someone, just because), 'Blue Sky Thinking' (the single with amazing guitar work), '2 Secs' (as a previous reviewer mentioned) and 'Simple', which is both simple and anything but at the same time.

42 may be Douglas Adams' answer to life, the universe and everything, but these gorgeous 42 minutes are my answer to the best album of 2007.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent new album- buy it! 4 Jun 2007
Format:Audio CD
This is a return to form after the slightly patchy 'Treasure Island' each track stands on it's own as an original and compelling piece of music. Nick Harper is a superb live performer and the simple acoustic style suits him well. I think that this CD is every bit as good if not slightly better than his superb 'Blood Songs'. The highlights for me are the lovely 'Blue Sky Thinking' which is very easy on the ear. 'Evo' is a great track with plenty to say and some amazing guitar at the end. The best however is saved till last 'Simple' is totally mesmeric, it's like nothing I have ever heard before and now I cannot get it out of my head.

I hope that this CD gives Nick Harper the commercial success he richly deserves, if not he is keeping his select fan base amply supplied with great music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Uriel
Format:Audio CD
One of the most striking things about Nick Harper is how wonderful he is with an acoustic guitar. Miracles for Beginners marks a return to a more uncluttered sound than recent albums. Nick's playing is given the prominence in the mix that it deserves, allowing the range of his fretwork to have its full impact on the listener.

Over the past few months I've had the privilege of seeing Nick play several of these songs live. I can happily say that he's captured something of the beauty of the live performances in each recording. Listening to these, you won't find anything like the kind of discrepancy between the live and studio versions of 'In Our Time', for example.

Others have mentioned the gorgeous 'Blue Sky Thinking' and the haunting 'Simple' as standout tracks but there are others. I'd like to give '2 Secs' a particular mention for Nick's lovely, sweeping vocal delivery. I've found myself beginning to sing snippets of it even after a couple of listens.

Miracles for Beginners is a simply beautiful album. Buy it and I'm sure you'll find yourself listening to it regularly for many years to come.
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