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Friday, 15 February 2013



Relentless Harper.

Ben Harper isn't just one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our generation...he's also the most profound and prolific. The man with more bands and side projects than Rolling Stone and Beatle frontmen combined is truly on the great form that began his classic career. It only seems like yesteryear his latest solo set ('Give 'Till It's Gone') proved to be just as great as his best individual work (see 'Both Sides Of The Gun', 'Diamonds On The Inside', 'Fight For Your Mind' and 'The Will To Live'). Now the man who has many great live albums and soundtrack contributions to his credit adds another collaboration to his list of groups. An honor roll that features 'The Innocent Criminals', 'The Blind Boys Of Alabama', 'Relentless7' and the group 'Fistful Of Mercy' and some incredible, inspired records.

The man who even released a greatest hits, ballad retrospective ('By My Side') with the single 'Crazy, Amazing' last year is showing no slowing signs. Teaming up with blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, Harper gives us yet another side-project and yet another album at the forefront with the stand up anthems on 'Get Up!' The beautiful blues, slow burner 'Don't Look Twice' begins this dynamic double act, before things heat up with a bang on 'I'm In, I'm Out And I'm Gone', a straight whiskey strong joint with little chaser. It all goes down smoothly and soulfully.

Exploring and traversing new blues landscapes, Ben's slides and glides with Charlie who rides shotgun on harmonica providing the perfect backdrop for Harper to lay new musical groundwork. The chorus pleading of the down but not out nature of 'We Can't End This Way' gives our singer his new classic. While you can be certain to have faith in the wonderful writing of the single 'I Don't Believe A Word You Say'. The excellent word-smith who know how to turn a lyrical phrase is still on top of his wonderful wordplay.

As Ben hauntingly hums "I sit here in a daze/Wishing I could change my ways/And let's not pretend it isn't what it is/Its time we both go on and live", 'You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)' is another sensational single example of this, lamenting the unfair war of love and loss of friendship. It all ties together like this new perfect partnership for the generation gaps ages. The artistic mix of this couple mirrors the black and white album artwork, splashed with color. The traditional texture of the music transcends. It's classic music for the new ages. 'I Ride At Dawn' swings straight out of the saloon of a classic Western. The albums darkest and best could have earned it's spurs on the 'Django Unchained' soundtrack.

'Blood Side Out' paints more dark and decadent themes ("Got a wine soaked heart/And whisky soaked lips/Don't know how to get to you/But I know how to get my kicks") for the lyrical genius who once sang "you wrote me a four page letter, front and back/wrote in your favorite colors, blood and black". The title track 'Get Up' see's the pair get down even further as Charlie mussels in with some epic scores, that help bring out the harp like beauty of Ben's slides across the strings. More guitar punch comes with the 'She Got Kick' boot-cut, boot strapped classic on an album that harks back to 'The Will To Live' days. The 'Paris, Sunrise' evocation of the instrumental beginnings of 'All That Matters Now' is all you need to end this epic album perfectly. As Ben Harper forms another great group with Charlie Musselwhite, he's gives rhyme to the reasoning that here lies another collaborative project that the versatile singer should expand on. Like all his other groups we hope and wait for another album. The question now however is whatever next? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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