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Ben Harper isn't one of my favourite artists but he comes under the category of artists that I have appreciation for and like a couple of their albums and admire them as an artist. I came across him when searching for other artists on YouTube and finding him performing with the artists. His music is a melting pot of blues, rock, soul, funk and even some gospel in there somewhere.
This album is a collaboration between Ben Harper and well known Harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite. The album was released on the renowned "Stax" label and is a collection of Blues Rock featuring both artists. "Get Up" was released on 29th January 2013 and has been a critical success as it picked up the Best Blues Album award at the Grammys. The duo first collaborated on a John Lee Hooker record in 1997 and then went onto work together intermittently until they got together to record this album as a collaborative project.
1.) Don't Look Twice
The album gets off to a slower feel with this acoustic blues track which has a sound which reminds me a little of the acoustic work on Eric Clapton's "Reptile" album. The guitar and harmonica blend well together and Ben Harper's emotive vocals are well judged. The track develops with some punchy drums and it gets better as the volume increases and becomes more of a Blues Rock tune. The expressive vocals from Harper are a very good part of the track. Good stuff.
2.) I'm In I'm Out And I'm Gone
This is one of the catchiest tracks on the album, It has a John Lee Hooker like sound which is very impressively done. The simple yet superbly effective blues melody gets the feet moving and the vocals and guitars and harmonica really impress with a musicality that works extremely well. This track is really well performed and is right up there with the best tracks on the album. A great effort from both Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite.
3.) We Can't End This Way
This is a catchy track which has a country blues feel, the catchy clapping sounds combine well with the harmonica and guitar to create a decent sound. The backing vocals add to the overall appeal of the song and as it develops into it's flow it's an impressively done track which features strong vocals and decent melodies. It's not up there with the best tracks on the album but certainly deserves it's place on the album as it has it's quality.
4.) I Don't Believe A Word You Say
This is one of the heavier moments on the album, It's a nice slice of Blues Rock with some vibrant guitar and harmonica and aggressive vocals from Ben Harper. The drums are a great part of the track and they help raise the overall quality of the track. It's up there with the best tracks on the album and has some very catchy moments which will certainly appeal to the listener. Good stuff indeed. One of the catchiest tracks on the album and topped off by a fine guitar solo.
5.) You Found Another lover (I lost another friend)
This is another track with an Eric Clapton like slow blues sound. The guitar and harmonica again blend really well and Ben Harper's gentle falsetto is very well judged as he emotes about the pain of a relationship ending. The music is simple yet achingly effective and this track is a perfect example of when simple can be just as good as the big style ballads. This is one of the best tracks on the album and shows the talent of both.
6.) I ride at dawn
This track opens with a fairly long intro with a progressive guitar strumming and bass hook. Harper's vocals come in with an emotive feel and as the song develops it improves into a well rounded track which showcases the relaxed musical feel with the quality vocals from Harper. I like the way the two blend together to create a decent sound for the lyrics to emote well. It's a very decent track which shows the quality from both.
7.) Blood side out
This is the shortest track on the album and after a slow intro it comes into it's own with a fast pace and some very vibrant melodies and hooks. The vocals are loud and well judged and the track moves along well and is a real toe tapper. It's one of the catchiest tracks on the album and features some excellent guitar work towards the end that is on the edge. Good stuff all round.
8.) Get Up
This is the excellent title track which features a very catchy underlying bass hook which is the key to the quality of the track overall. The harmonica from Charlie Musselwhite is well performed and Ben Harper's guitar work is bluesy and subtle at times. The punchy drums add a decent touch and the two collaborate really well together on this one. This is comfortably the longest song on the album at over six minutes and it's an excellent effort which shows the musicianship of the band and of course Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. One of the bluesiest tracks on the album for sure.
9.) She got kick
This track has an old style blues melody which is almost Jazz like in places, The track moves along at a catchy pace and the vocals are well performed and add to the overall feel of the song. The guitar and harmonica are well judged and there's an excellent organ part which is really catchy. This is one of the catchiest tracks on the album and is a real toe tapper. Some decent musicianship on show and the track brings an old style sound into the modern day with the expected twists that something like that brings.
10.) All that matters now
This is a lovely seductive blues tune which features a gentle musical feel and some subtle guitar and harmonica which blend together well to set the mood before the music develops and the vocals come in. The vocals are dripping in blues emotion and the subtleties of the music really build the seductive atmosphere. This makes for a very sweet blues, soul track which has a lot to like about it. It comes across very well indeed. It's a good track to end on.
When you listen to the album it's not surprising that it won a Grammy for best Blues Album. It's an excellent collaboration that showcases the talents of both Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite really well. There may be twenty six years between the two but they are right on it in terms of musicality. This album makes me want to check out more of Charlie Musselwhite's Discography. "Get Up" is not quite a five star album but it is certainly worth the four stars I am giving it. Two or three really excellent tracks.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Don?t Look Twice
2 I?m In I?m Out And I?m Gone
3 We Can?t End This Way
4 I Don?t Believe A Word You Say
5 You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)
6 I Ride At Dawn
7 Blood Side Out
8 Get Up!
9 She Got Kick
10 All That Matters Now
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 I'm In I'm Out And I'm Gone: The Making of Get Up!
2 Don't Look Twice - The Machine Shop Session
3 All That Matters Now - The Machine Shop Session
4 You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend) - The Machine Shop Session