Music Reviews
Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite

Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite

Get Up!

Stax Records

Ben Harper met legendary bluesman Charlie Musselwhite when they collaborated on “Burning Hell” on the John Lee Hooker album The Best of Friends in 1998, and they swore to work together again. Well, it’s taken over ten years, but Get Up! is definitely worth the wait. The mixture of Harper’s songwriting, slide guitar, and gruff vocals mesh perfectly with the lonesome harmonica of Musselwhite and sounds as if the two have been playing together for years.

The record spans the acoustic blues of “Don’t Look Twice” to the rousing, gospel-driven “We Can’t End This Way” or the Zeppelin-equse “I Don’t Believe A Word You Say,” and on each cut the driving harmonica answers the gritty blues of Harper. Backed up by Harper’s band (Jason Mozersky on guitar, Jesse Ingalls on bass, and Jordan Richardson on drums), this is a wonderful mixture of Ben Harper’s eclectic and passionate writing with the low-down Chicago blues of Musselwhite. In fact, the only knock on the album is that Charlie Musselwhite doesn’t sing or write any songs, but anytime you get to hear his take on the “Mississippi Saxophone,” it’s a treat, so we won’t complain too much. The heartfelt “You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)” is a slow, acoustic blues tune that give Harper’s vocals a workout, and “She Got Kick” sounds like a Stax throwback, all uptempo and sassy.

It might have taken a bit for Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite to get back to the studio, but Get Up! is proof that good things come to those who wait. Let’s hope the sequel comes a bit quicker!

Ben Harper: http://benharper.com


Recently on Ink 19...

Creation Rebel

Creation Rebel

Features

High Above Harlesden 1978 - 2023 from On-U Sound collects 60 dub and reggae tracks from Creation Rebel, an astounding set of musicians.

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones

Screen Reviews

One of the last of the classic wuxia swordplay films stands as a fitting coda to the grand period of the genre. Phil Bailey reviews a new Blu-ray release of the 1975 film The Valiant Ones.

Best of Five

Best of Five

Screen Reviews

Not everyone can be excited by blocks spinning on a screen, but if you are, Ian Koss recommends you pay attention to Best of Five.

CAKE

CAKE

Event Reviews

Jeremy Glazier shoots a CAKE headline show at McGrath Amphitheater.