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Published: 2013/03/16
by Ron Hart

Ben Harper And Charlie Musselwhite
Get Up!

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Ben Harper is at his best when he is banging out the blues. So it should come as no surprise that this landmark collaboration with legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite is one of the finest works to emerge from his 20-plus year tenure in music. The pair first got together in 1997 to jam with John Lee Hooker on the late blues master’s classic track “Burnin’ Hell” for a 1998 compilation album called The Best of Friends. Seeing the instant chemistry that brewed between the two men, Hooker pressed them to explore the partnership further. And 15 years later, Get Up! does just that, fueling the Delta fire in both men to deliver something quite special. Cuts like “I’m In, I’m Out and I’m Gone”, “I Don’t Believe A Word You Say” and “Blood Side Out” evoke the amplified blues fury of Musselwhite’s days playing alongside the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf as Harper eggs him on with an impassioned performance punctuated by some of his fiercest singing and guitar playing to date. Get Up! is a high watermark in the careers of both of men and it would be a wonder to see them come together again in the near future.

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