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July 14, 2024

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Rick Harper
RickenHarper (HiVariety Recordings)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

Those not already happily familiar with the power-poppin' pride of Middletown, Kentucky have absolutely NO excuse now to plead ignorance: On this one snappy, wonderfully packaged (not to mention long, long, long overdue!) CD lie twenty-five examples of why Rick Harper just must be this nation's best-kept musical secret.

Compiling the best from his three prior "Demo Teaser" cassette samplers, "RickenHarper" demonstrates not only what a fine songwriter/instrumentalist the man is ("One Too Many Lies," "I Bring Her Down" and "Hey Now Baby" are AT LEAST the equal of any material currently being spewed from the New York or Nashville hit factories), but just how well versed he is at the nearly-lost art of Home Recording as well (what this guy can do with a mere four tracks and a single microphone is a wonder in of itself).

The absolute magnitude of musical riches present on this one single disc can be a bit overwhelming at first - especially for those of us used to hearing a mere two or three winners per each new CD they grab - but "RickenHarper" is the kind of big, expansive, multi-faceted collection you'll be finding plenty to chew on over for months and, yes, years to come. In other words: a keeper, a killer, an all-round CLASSIC and that last word's not one I've had cause to throw around much during the past decade or so, believe you me!

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