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Rock - Erschienen am 28. Januar 2013 | Stax

Booklet Auszeichnungen Sélectionné par Ecoutez Voir
This musical hookup between these two experienced roots artists who have more in common than it seems at first glance, is a natural evolution for both. Ben Harper seemed like an old soul, even when he began his career, dipping into classic R&B, gospel, and blues but spinning them through his dark, folk-funk persona. His work with the Blind Boys of Alabama showed him to be welcomed by veteran artists who clearly felt he was a kindred spirit. Harpist/guitarist Charlie Musselwhite's extensive résumé typically moved him past the often limiting structure of the Chicago blues where he first made his presence felt, to Tex-Mex, Cuban, Americana, swamp rock, country, and even jazz. The two connected on a 1997 John Lee Hooker session and have worked together intermittently since, both live and in the studio. This outing, tellingly released on the Concord/Stax imprint, strips the sound down, occasionally to just acoustic guitar and harp as on the opening of "Don't Think Twice," and the closing deep Delta blues "All That Matters Now," reworked into "It Hurts Me Too." But the duo also plug in for tough, rugged blues and blues-rock as on the heart thumping "I'm in I'm Out and I'm Gone," a twist on David Bowie's "The Jene Genie" riff that itself was nabbed from the Chicago blues catalog. Even with Musselwhite's substantial involvement, this is Harper's show as he produces, sings every song, and seems to be leading the music's direction with the harmonica player urging him on and adding to the already deep groove. They dip into harder rocking territory for the charging "I Don't Believe a Word You Say" with Musselwhite pulling out his Little Walter influences with electrified blowing. The skeletal, ghostly, repeated riff of the deadly gunslinger "I Ride at Dawn" is a stark reminder of how less is more as Harper's slide enhances the dangerous elements reflected in the song's ominous lyrics. The six-minute title track -- the disc's longest cut -- is classic Harper, marrying a funky bassline with the declaration expressed in the song's title as Musselwhite takes a few licks from Paul Butterfield to edge the track into a laid-back red zone where the singer typically thrives. But the twosome have some fun, too, in particular on the spirited, easygoing, sexed-up blues "She Got Kick," one of the few instances where harmonica is not an integral component of the mix. Ultimately, Get Up! earns its titular exclamation point as a successful combination of two talented veterans feeding off each other's dusky, creative spirit. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1995 | Virgin Records

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
Fight for Your Mind fully embraces Ben Harper's influences (Dylan, Marley, Havens, and Hendrix) into a complete sound while simultaneously broadening his thematic and musical palette. Oliver Charles' tactile drumming and Leon Mobley's percussion work give a sparkle to Harper's music that was absent on his debut. Songs like "Gold to Me" and "Excuse Me Mr." show Harper growing as a poet, approaching ideas via more subtle avenues. The single "Ground on Down" and epic jam "God Fearing Man" capture some of the explosive energy of his live performances. The latter makes allusions to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and that's exactly what Harper does -- allows his trademark Weissenborn guitar to scream out to his audience. The only misstep on this album is his sophomoric weed anthem "Burn One Down," but one might argue that a little tarnish adds character. © Ryan Randall Goble /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1995 | Virgin

Auszeichnungen Qobuz' Schallplattensammlung
Fight for Your Mind fully embraces Ben Harper's influences (Dylan, Marley, Havens, and Hendrix) into a complete sound while simultaneously broadening his thematic and musical palette. Oliver Charles' tactile drumming and Leon Mobley's percussion work give a sparkle to Harper's music that was absent on his debut. Songs like "Gold to Me" and "Excuse Me Mr." show Harper growing as a poet, approaching ideas via more subtle avenues. The single "Ground on Down" and epic jam "God Fearing Man" capture some of the explosive energy of his live performances. The latter makes allusions to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and that's exactly what Harper does -- allows his trademark Weissenborn guitar to scream out to his audience. The only misstep on this album is his sophomoric weed anthem "Burn One Down," but one might argue that a little tarnish adds character. © Ryan Randall Goble /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 23. Oktober 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Achtundzwanzig Jahre Karriere, das kann einen Menschen verändern. Das ist oft auch genug Zeit, um zu einer Art Einfachheit und Ruhe zurückzufinden. Im Fall von Ben Harper näherte sich die Musik in den vergangenen zehn Jahren immer mehr seinen Wurzeln aus waschechtem Folk und Blues. Etwas weniger Ungekünsteltes zu schaffen als Winter Is For Lovers ist schier unmöglich. Der Sänger singt zwar nicht mehr, der Gitarrist aber, der spielt sehr wohl. Einzig und allein seine Lap-Steel-Gitarre ist zu hören und er nimmt uns mit hinaus in die weite Welt, wie die Titel der fünfzehn hier präsentierten Stücke es vermuten lassen.Ein Stück, ein Ort, also eine Idee. Ben Harper legt sich auf ein Ambiente fest, entwickelt es, wiederholt es, variiert es, ausnahmslos. So funktioniert jeder Titel. Es gibt welche, die mit Pausen eine ganze Show abziehen, wie etwa The Joshua Tree oder Lebanon, und andere, die dagegen Arpeggios und Akkordabfolgen massenhaft Platz einräumen, wie zum Beispiel Inland Empire oder London. Einen gemeinsamen Punkt haben sie alle: diesen schlichten und intimen Sound, sodass wir uns ausschließlich auf das Instrument und auf Ben Harpers Hände konzentrieren. Und auf den über die Saiten gleitenden Bottleneck, auf die damit einhergehenden Ungenauigkeiten... Mit Americana aus den unendlichen Weiten à la Ry Cooder einerseits und andererseits Hommagen an die Pioniere des Genres wie etwa Leo Kottke bringt uns Winter Is For Lovers in die allergrößte Nähe des Künstlers, schafft es aber gleichzeitig, uns in andere Sphären zu katapultieren. © Brice Miclet/Qobuz
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Rock - Erschienen am 8. Februar 1994 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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The full range of Ben Harper's influences would not come to bear until later albums, but his debut, Welcome to the Cruel World, lays a strong foundation. "Like a King" and "Take That Attitude to Your Grave" burn with a political conviction rarely heard during the 1990s. "Forever" has a tenderness which demonstrates Harper's emotional range. Lackluster hippie jams that cultivated his early following may have served a purpose but feel fluffy by comparison when compared to the meatier tracks. Ben closes the album with a song that frequently closes his concerts, "I'll Rise." This song, built around Maya Angelou's 1979 poem "And Still I Rise," reminds one of art's ability to pierce through society, self, and the soul. © Ryan Randall Goble /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 12. Juli 1995 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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Blues - Erschienen am 30. März 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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Zwei Jahre nach dem sehr erfreulichen Album Call It What It Is lässt Ben Harper ein weiteres Mal seine Band Innocent Criminals an der Seite stehen, um mit seinem alten Komplizen Charlie Musselwhite zusammenzuarbeiten, welcher neulich seinen 74. Geburtstag feierte. Musselwhite, Veteran des Chicago Blues und Virtuose an der Harmonika, spielte mit den ganz Großen zusammen, von Muddy Waters und Tom Waits bis hin zu Howlin’ Wolf und den Blind Boys of Alabama. Seit der mythischen Platte Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band aus dem Jahre 1966 erschienen gute dreißig weitere Alben unter seinem Namen. Auf dem Werk Sanctuary, welches er 2004 für Peter Gabriels Label Real World aufnahm, arbeitete er zum ersten Mal mit Ben Harper zusammen, auch wenn John Lee Hooker höchstpersönlich ihre Begegnung bereits einige Jahre zuvor organisiert hatte. No Mercy in This Land ist das zweite Album, das unter ihrer beider Namen erscheint, nach Get Up!, welches im Jahre 2013 Erfolge feiern konnte, einen Grammy inklusive. Für Harper stellt es sein 16. Album dar, wenn man alle Alben seiner verschiedenen Projekte und Bands zusammenzählt. Logischerweise ist dies also ein Album von Charlie Musselwhite und Ben Harper, schließlich gebührt man den Älteren Respekt. Genauso logisch ist es jedoch, auf die Beliebtheit des letzteren Musikers zu setzen, welcher zahlreiche junge Ohren in die Musik des Teufels eingeführt hat.    Und wie bereits auf dem Vorgänger-Album schert man sich auch auf dieser Platte nicht um Avantgarde oder um eine Neuerfindung des Blues, sondern möchte vielmehr mit einer erfrischenden Angehensweise eine tiefe und ehrliche Freundschaft feiern. Mal lebendig (Found the One), mal intim und beinahe schon besinnlich (Bad Habits, Love and Trust…), bewegt sich das Album in ein Register, weit weg von der Melancholie, No Mercy in This Land, When Love Is Not Enough (der sehr intensive Track Nothing at All) mal ausgenommen. Die Freude, miteinander zu spielen, wird ein weiteres Mal mehr als deutlich, so sehr, dass niemand es bedauern wird, dass Ben Harper es scheinbar nicht mehr darauf anlegt, ein oder zwei Songs unterzubringen, die radiotauglich wären, wie er es in seinen jungen Jahren nur allzu gerne tat. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Rock - Erschienen am 11. März 2003 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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Ben Harper is a musical preacher of sorts, never one to be shy in speaking his mind about social conformity. If his first two albums -- Welcome to the Cruel World and Fight for Your Mind -- didn't clue you in, Diamonds on the Inside will definitely do so. Diamonds on the Inside marks Harper's fifth studio effort and this time he's emotionally in touch with what makes his heart burst. This is a passionate album, no doubt. His signature Weissenborn guitar joins him once more and Harper's classic groovy funk is heavy; however, Harper adds worldbeat to his musical plank. From the Marley-esque vibe of "With My Own Two Hands" to the African soundscapes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on "Picture of Jesus," Harper's purist presentation is smooth. "When It's Good" gives a little country blues twang, while "Touch From You Lust" is a sexy haze of writhing riffs. "Temporary Remedy" follows the funk Lenny Kravitz-style, and Harper's a bit campy. It's a noticeable change from his typically serious stature and a nice shift in personality, too. Diamonds on the Inside is another stunning effort from one of rock's underground heroes. Harper has consistently worked with what appeals to him musically for nearly a decade, ignoring what fits the mainstream. Diamonds on the Inside is Harper's sixth chapter of truth and just one listen to the electric blaze of "Everything" will convince you. © MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 17. Juni 1997 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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On his third album, Will to Live, Ben Harper strengthens his populist folk with a grittier groove, which even borders on funk, that makes his music more immediate. Harper still has a tendency to preach, yet his melodies are catchier than before, and he has a better sense of rhythm, helping his bluesy songs catch hold. © Leo Stanley /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 21. März 2006 | Virgin Records

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After seven albums and 12 years in the game, it can stop being said that Ben Harper is hard to categorize, because at this point, the fact that he always incorporates diverse elements -- from folk to hard rock to funk -- into his music and makes something very much his own is a given. He's practically created a genre. So maybe that's why it's so surprising that Both Sides of the Gun, a two-disc album, has little of that very thing that makes him so unique. Instead, he chooses to show off the range of his musical interests, and ends up with something closer to a compilation than a Ben Harper album. The softer, acoustically based disc is full of pretty love songs and sweetly strummed guitars, and though Harper has done this before and kept his own style intact (in "Two Hands of a Prayer" and "When She Believes," for example), here he comes off sounding a bit boring. He hasn't forgotten himself completely: both "Never Leave Lonely Alone" and "Crying Won't Help You Now" are good songs, sounding strongly of him while also experimenting with other styles (Latin/French and gospel, respectively), but almost all the other tracks could have been pulled off any run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter album from the past ten years. Things improve slightly on the other, louder, disc ("Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating" is all electric blues, complete with a distorted slide guitar solo, and "Serve Your Soul" is the most Harper-ish of everything, blending folk guitar, pure rock, raw blues, and socially conscious lyrics into one eight-minute masterpiece), but there's still that sampler-record feeling there. "Engraved Invitation" and "Get It Like You Like It" are heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones, "Both Sides of the Gun" alludes to Curtis Mayfield and James Brown, and "Better Way" is practically a tribute (at least musically) to Prince's "7." Harper has always borrowed from other artists, but he's also always added enough of himself to make it not quite so...blatant. It's not that he isn't able to perform such a diverse selection: there are plenty of excellent cuts and most of the album is quite good. Harper is a fantastically talented musician, and he has really developed his voice since Diamonds on the Inside and is unafraid to do things with it, going from a croon to a scream and always sounding great. But why he's copying other people's styles instead of building on his own is both odd and disappointing, because he's always been able to experiment before while also preserving his individuality. If in Both Sides of the Gun Harper is trying to show his audience what a wide variety of music he can cover, he certainly accomplishes that. But if he's trying to create an album that is really about him, he doesn't quite deliver. Ben Harper is in there, don't worry, but he can be a little hard to find. © Marisa Brown /TiVo
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Folk - Erschienen am 5. Mai 2014 | Prestige Folklore

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Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Ben Harper began his career with the solo acoustic debut Welcome to the Cruel World. Childhood Home takes Harper back to his roots -- literally: he recorded it in collaboration with his mother, Ellen Harper. There isn't an electric instrument on this ten-song set, which features six new tunes by him and four by her. There are a trio of other players who help out on piano, guitar, and upright bass. Ellen's parents (both musicians) founded the Folk Music Center and Museum in Claremont, California, over 50 years ago; she still works there. As a single mom she worked while Harper played around with various instruments. The music here centers on songs of home and the myriad experiences that revolve around it, some of them quite painful. Ben's country-folk song "A House Is a Home" (which recalls the melody of "Love Is a Rose") looks at the hearth as the centerpiece of personal history. Ellen's "City of Dreams" reflects on the city where she grew up that has disappeared; the victim of suburban sprawl. Ben's "Born to Love You" is a waltz sung as a duet, accompanied by quietly shuffling drums and piano. Here, "home" is the beloved: I love you/I live you…." On her "Farmer's Daughter," a minor-key country-blues, Ellen plays banjo and Ben lays out Weissenborn slide and flatpicked acoustic fills. Their layered backing vocals are haunting. Her "Altar of Love" is a country-gospel waltz. Its poetry is simple, direct, yet expert; she distills the heart-wrenching experience of marrying, motherhood, and sacrifice in a fable that contains a tragic circular twist of fate. Her deeply moving "Break Your Heart," with its subtle R&B tinge, is the finest song here. Ben's "Memories of Gold" reveals the growth in his own writing. Here, country, soul, and folk-blues all commingle in a cut-time waltz. His world-weary vocals offer wisdom gained through lived experience. The ghostly, holistic gospel in his closer, "How Could We Not Believe," is a hymn of beauty and resolve, with the pair's voices blending perfectly amid strummed autoharp, dulcimer, and guitars. Childhood Home is, in essence, timeless. It brims with quiet conviction about the blood and spiritual ties that bind, an indestructible place in the heart, and offers proof that folk music can indeed be "soul" music. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 22. Oktober 2012 | Virgin Records

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Es gibt nicht viele Künstler, die es sich erlauben können, ein komplettes Album nur mit einem Bestandteil ihres Sounds zu füllen, ohne dass das Schaffen in grenzenloser Monotonie versinkt. Ben Harper ist eine dieser Ausnahmeerscheinungen. So präsentieren sich auf seiner ersten Retrospektive zwölf durchgehend balladeske Drei- und Vierminüter. Selbige warten dennoch mit mehr Facettenreichtum auf, als manches Debütalbum einer aufstrebenden Crossover-Combo, die zwanghaft versucht, Blues, Folk, Rock und erdigen Soul in ein gehaltvolles Ganzes zu quetschen. Mit handverlesenen Weichholz-Perlen à la "Forever", "Diamonds On The Inside" oder "Morning Yearning" liefert der zweifache Grammy-Preisträger den perfekten Soundtrack für stundenlange Bahnfahrten. Aber keine Angst: Es besteht keinerlei Gefahr, den angepeilten Zielbahnhof aufgrund einsetzender Ermüdung zu verpassen. Ben Harper schafft es wie kaum ein anderer, Elemente aus Soul, Blues, Gospel und Rock zu einem sich permanent neu erfindenden Ganzen zu mixen. Mit der Slide-Gitarre im Arm und reichlich Bottleneck-Sounds im Gepäck verblüfft der Amerikaner hinter jedem gespielten Akkord mit Neuem und Unerwartetem. Selbst bei einer triefenden Nummer wie "Beloved One" lauscht man gespannt vor den Boxen, um auch ja sicher zu gehen, dass sich keine Stimmphrasierung und kein akzentuierter Piano-Anschlag des Sängers ungehört in den Äther verabschiedet. Neben Altbekanntem wartet das Album aber auch mit zwei besonderen Leckerbissen auf. Da ist zum einen eine bisher unveröffentlichte Studio-Version von "Not Fire Not Ice". Die erbringt den Beweis, warum der Kalifornier bei Fans und Kritikern gleichermaßen als einer der eindringlichsten und gefühlvollsten Songwriter unserer Zeit gilt. Zum anderen gibt es mit dem abschließenden "Crazy Amazing" auch noch einen komplett neuen Song zu hören, der sich mit jazzigem Besenspiel, Harpers rauchzartem Organ und sphärischem Bottleneck-Background perfekt in das Gesamtpaket einfügt. Wunderbar. Und jetzt auf schnellen Füßen zum nächstgelegenen DB-Schalter: Einmal Langstrecke, bitte. © Laut
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Pop - Erschienen am 11. März 2003 | Virgin Records

Ben Harper is a musical preacher of sorts, never one to be shy in speaking his mind about social conformity. If his first two albums -- Welcome to the Cruel World and Fight for Your Mind -- didn't clue you in, Diamonds on the Inside will definitely do so. Diamonds on the Inside marks Harper's fifth studio effort and this time he's emotionally in touch with what makes his heart burst. This is a passionate album, no doubt. His signature Weissenborn guitar joins him once more and Harper's classic groovy funk is heavy; however, Harper adds worldbeat to his musical plank. From the Marley-esque vibe of "With My Own Two Hands" to the African soundscapes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on "Picture of Jesus," Harper's purist presentation is smooth. "When It's Good" gives a little country blues twang, while "Touch From You Lust" is a sexy haze of writhing riffs. "Temporary Remedy" follows the funk Lenny Kravitz-style, and Harper's a bit campy. It's a noticeable change from his typically serious stature and a nice shift in personality, too. Diamonds on the Inside is another stunning effort from one of rock's underground heroes. Harper has consistently worked with what appeals to him musically for nearly a decade, ignoring what fits the mainstream. Diamonds on the Inside is Harper's sixth chapter of truth and just one listen to the electric blaze of "Everything" will convince you. © MacKenzie Wilson /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2004 | Virgin Records

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CD8,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 21. März 2006 | Virgin Records

Booklet
After seven albums and 12 years in the game, it can stop being said that Ben Harper is hard to categorize, because at this point, the fact that he always incorporates diverse elements -- from folk to hard rock to funk -- into his music and makes something very much his own is a given. He's practically created a genre. So maybe that's why it's so surprising that Both Sides of the Gun, a two-disc album, has little of that very thing that makes him so unique. Instead, he chooses to show off the range of his musical interests, and ends up with something closer to a compilation than a Ben Harper album. The softer, acoustically based disc is full of pretty love songs and sweetly strummed guitars, and though Harper has done this before and kept his own style intact (in "Two Hands of a Prayer" and "When She Believes," for example), here he comes off sounding a bit boring. He hasn't forgotten himself completely: both "Never Leave Lonely Alone" and "Crying Won't Help You Now" are good songs, sounding strongly of him while also experimenting with other styles (Latin/French and gospel, respectively), but almost all the other tracks could have been pulled off any run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter album from the past ten years. Things improve slightly on the other, louder, disc ("Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating" is all electric blues, complete with a distorted slide guitar solo, and "Serve Your Soul" is the most Harper-ish of everything, blending folk guitar, pure rock, raw blues, and socially conscious lyrics into one eight-minute masterpiece), but there's still that sampler-record feeling there. "Engraved Invitation" and "Get It Like You Like It" are heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones, "Both Sides of the Gun" alludes to Curtis Mayfield and James Brown, and "Better Way" is practically a tribute (at least musically) to Prince's "7." Harper has always borrowed from other artists, but he's also always added enough of himself to make it not quite so...blatant. It's not that he isn't able to perform such a diverse selection: there are plenty of excellent cuts and most of the album is quite good. Harper is a fantastically talented musician, and he has really developed his voice since Diamonds on the Inside and is unafraid to do things with it, going from a croon to a scream and always sounding great. But why he's copying other people's styles instead of building on his own is both odd and disappointing, because he's always been able to experiment before while also preserving his individuality. If in Both Sides of the Gun Harper is trying to show his audience what a wide variety of music he can cover, he certainly accomplishes that. But if he's trying to create an album that is really about him, he doesn't quite deliver. Ben Harper is in there, don't worry, but he can be a little hard to find. © Marisa Brown /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2005 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2008 | Virgin Records

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Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 21. Juli 2020 | Anti - Epitaph

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Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2000 | Virgin Records

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Pop - Erschienen am 18. Dezember 2020 | Mad Bunny Records

Der Interpret

Ben Harper im Magazin