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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Virgin Records

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

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Rock - Released July 1, 1995 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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

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Rock - Released March 1, 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
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Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Virgin Records

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

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Folk/Americana - Released May 6, 2014 | Prestige Folklore

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

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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 January 1, 2006 | Virgin Records

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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, 2005 | Virgin Records

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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, 2012 | Virgin Records

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Jazz - Released May 6, 2014 | Prestige Folklore

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Rock - Released January 1, 2009 | Virgin Records

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Blues - Released March 30, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

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, for which they 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 January 1, 2005 | Virgin Records