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Rock - Released January 1, 2013 | Concord Records, Inc.

Booklet Distinctions 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
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Pop/Rock - Released February 12, 1994 | Virgin Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Virgin

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Virgin Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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
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Blues - Released March 30, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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Rock - Released July 1, 1995 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Rock - Released February 1, 1994 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released March 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Folk - Released January 1, 2014 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Blues - Released March 30, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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Two years after the delightful Call It What It Is, Ben Harper abandons his Innocent Criminals once again to team up with his old accomplice Charlie Musselwhite, who recently celebrated his 74th birthday. A veteran of Chicago blues and an harmonica virtuoso, Musselwhite has played with the greatest of the greatest, from Muddy Waters to Tom Waits, Howlin’ Wolf and the Blind Boys of Alabama. He’s authored over thirty albums since 1966 and the legendary Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band. It’s on his album Sanctuary, recorded in 2004 for Peter Gabriel’s label Real World, that he collaborated with Ben Harper for the first time, even if John Lee Hooker himself had orchestrated their first meeting a few years earlier. No Mercy in This Land is the second album to boast both their names, a follow-up to the successful Get Up! in 2013, which won a Grammy. For Harper, this is the sixteenth album, all bands and projects combined. So it would have seemed logical to make this venture a Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper album – as a mark of respect for the elders −, especially since the latter appears to be slightly uncomfortable with this encounter at the very top of blues music. But it also makes sense to leverage the popularity of the musician who has initiated so many young ears to the devil’s music. Much like in the previous opus, the point here isn’t to foray into avant-garde or reinvent blues altogether, but rather to celebrate a deep and sincere friendship with a fresh and invigorating approach to their favourite genre. Sometimes swinging (Found the One), sometimes more intimate, almost contemplative (Bad Habits, Love and Trust…), this album works in a style that doesn’t instil a sense of melancholy – with the notable exception of No Mercy in This Land (the track), When Love Is Not Enough and the intense Nothing at All. The pleasure they take playing together is once again so obvious that no one will bemoan the fact that Ben Harper hasn’t thrown together one or two songs more likely to be played on the radio, like he used to do in his younger years. © Jean-Pierre Sabouret/Qobuz
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Pop - Released March 23, 2000 | Virgin Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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
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Blues - Released March 30, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Capitol Records, LLC

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Rock - Released January 1, 1997 | Virgin Records

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
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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Virgin Records

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Rock - Released June 23, 2008 | Virgin Records