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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential.
If you're a blues fan, or a Ben Harper fan, then just stop reading now and make the purchase. This album is that good. There's not much else to know. So buy it, then read the rest of this review:

I've been a Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite fan for a long time, and if I ever had a slight bone to pick with Musselwhite it's that his voice can get a little...
Published on January 29, 2013 by Z. Mehrbach

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not enough Charlie
purchased because it was on sale. Like Charlie Musslewhite so I thought I'd give it a try. Charlie keeping flying solo
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer


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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential., January 29, 2013
By 
Z. Mehrbach "Zach" (Chicago/New Hampshire) - See all my reviews
If you're a blues fan, or a Ben Harper fan, then just stop reading now and make the purchase. This album is that good. There's not much else to know. So buy it, then read the rest of this review:

I've been a Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite fan for a long time, and if I ever had a slight bone to pick with Musselwhite it's that his voice can get a little grating after listening to an album all the way through. I would never say that about Ben Harper though. So I was pleasantly surprised when I gave this a listen and its Harper singing all the way through.

The great thing here is that if you want hard hitting contemporary blues that still channels an electric type muddy waters, you get it. If you want Ben Harper's soulful singing that can be found on "Welcome to this Cruel World" or "Fight for your Mind," you get that too. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I can't imagine it could get much better than this. In fact I'd be shocked if another blues/rock album came out this year that I like much more. I haven't been this happy with a blues album since Gregg Allman's "Low Country Blues." And I freaking love that album.

Although I love this whole thing there are definitely some highlights:

"I'm in, I'm Out, and I'm Gone," Just Brilliant. Seriously. Musselwhite's electric sounding harp, channeled with an uncharacteristic Ben Harper singing half as if he's preaching and half as storyteller. This is hard hitting, and it seems as if they may have channeled a little Wolf on this bad boy. This is the song that let me know that this album was destined for greatness.

"I Ride At Dawn," A more contemplative tone that was unexpected, but is excellent. This channels similarities to "Power of the Gospel" and Ben's slower songs which feature his voice.

"Get up!," A rhythm section driven song with Musselwhite's harp hitting it hard all the way through. A very political message and it comes through well. Harper has always had something to say, and in this case I can't agree more.

Everything else on the album is just about as special as these tunes, but there's no use in going through them all, as this is one you'll want to make a complete purchase. Ben Harper's album's are always of some sort of quality, and this has climbed to near the top of his discography. I hope that this isn't the only collaboration between these two. 5+ stars....for serious.

UPDATE:

I stumbled across this great NPR interview with Musselwhite and Harper today: (link won't show so you have to google/search for it)

Search for: "Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite get muddy"

Worth the listen and sheds some light on Musselwhite's influence on the album, which is a huge part of why this album is so great.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindred Spirits, February 2, 2013
By 
r.j. zurek (Cape Coral, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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In 1970, John Lee Hooker recorded the heralded "Hooker and Heat" with Canned Heat, featuring the masterful harp of Alan Wilson on the track "Burning Hell". The musicians engage in a little studio banter right before the number begins, and John Lee says fondly of Wilson "I don't know how the kid follow me, but he do!". Fast forward about three decades and John Lee re-cut the song with master harmonica man Charlie Musselwhite and "the kid" on this outing, Ben Harper on lap steel. Hooker was impressed and suggested that Charlie and Ben work together again. When Musselwhite released "Sanctuary" in 2004, Harper played on the title track and "Homeless Child", one of his own compositions. With "Get Up!", we have a full collaboration from these talented men.

Harper handles the lead vocals on all songs, and his voice has only gotten stronger over the years. Musselwhite is a veteran working with lap steel, recording with the great Freddie Roulette as far back as 1969- the year Ben Harper was born. For his part, Harper plays the highly sought after Weissenborn lap steel. His tight band includes guitarist Jason Mazersky, drummer Jordan Richardson and bassist/keyboardist Jesse Ingalls. Harper produced the disc and all of the participants are of the highest caliber, but the best part of "Get Up!" is something that doesn't often demand attention in the Blues- the songwriting.

These are all original Harper compositions, with co-writing credit shared with Mozersky and Ingalls on several tracks. Ben is known for his activism and interest in social causes worldwide, and his influences include world music, folk and reggae. His lyrics reflect the complex world around him, and the themes to his songs portray a vision not often seen in Blues. The opening track "Don't Look Twice" is a witty acoustic track with only Musselwite's diatonic backing Harper's acoustic while he sings "It's hard when the ceiling says to the floor, I'll trade you places, I can't take it no more". The next track, "I'm In I"m Out And I'm Gone" is a lively Blues march that leads into the clap along waltz "We Can't End This Way" with engaging interplay between lap slide and harp.

"I Don't Believe A Word You Say" is the strongest rocker on the disc with lots of musical spaces for Musselwhite's harp. "I Ride At Dawn" is one of the most poignant songs ever written for the Blues. The song deals with the sacrifices and loss involved in war.Harper dedicated this track to Nicholas P. Spehar, a Navy SEAL lost in action. "You Found Another Lover" is another acoustic track featuring only Harper and Musselwhite with a welcome familiar soul blues groove (think "I'd Rather Go Blind").

"Blood Side Out" is another rocker with Harper and Musselwhite swapping solos. The title track is the closest thing to the traditional AAB Blues format. Wildly inventive bass by Ingalls on this one, very cool lyrics:"I have a right to get up when I please; don't tell me I can't break the law 'cause the law has broken me".

The DVD traces the beginnings of this duo- how they first met and worked together. Harper is humbled by Musselwhite's stature in the Blues world, while Charlie sees the two as "kindred spirits". When you listen to these men talk about the making of the album, they seem not only pleased with the results, but surprised as well. Four tracks are included that are known as the machine shop sessions.

What a great way to start the new year!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie gives Ben's sound an interesting twist, February 3, 2013
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Charlie Musselwhite has been playing blues harp since the 60s and in that time has developed his own unique style based firmly in the blues but with some really individual quirks and twists that make it really easy to pick out his playing. I must admit I prefer him as an accompanist rather than as a bandleader - as with his playing on records by Bonnie Raitt, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Tom Waits.

Here the songs and singing are provided by Ben Harper with Charlie adding his distinctive melodic flourishes, as on the opening number "Don't look twice" which starts off as a typical Ben Harper slide-based ballad but then Charlie's harmonica playing takes it to a different place, giving it an almost Tom Waits-like feel. Elsewhere "I'm in I'm out I'm gone", "I don't believe a word you say" and "Blood side out" are all tough bluesy songs with Ben's full band and driven by the harp and guitar, while "She got kick" is also very bluesy but has lead guitar up front and very subdued harp. "We can't end this way" is a nice gospel song complete with backup vocals. Two of my favourite tracks are the two slow acoustic ballads "You found another lover" and the closing "All that matters now", both very moving. This is a very loose, relaxed record - it's not the best thing that either artist has done but it is a rewarding listen with both men really gelling and complementing each other.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Early Album From 2013 That Can Be Considered 'Great', February 8, 2013
This review is from: Get Up! (Audio CD)
On the blues-rock effort Get Up!, Ben Harper and guest harmonica player (colloquially referred to as 'harpist') Charlie Musselwhite 'outdo' themselves. In standard edition, the album sits at a svelte 10 songs with none of them missing the mark. The production work is often stripped, feeling very organic and true to the blues idiom of which Harper/Musselwhite aim for. Get Up! was released on the resurrected Stax label (Concord Music Group) - seems appropriate for such a soulful, bluesy effort, right?

"Don't Look Twice" establishes the roots-driven blues sound, beginning in stripped, acoustic fashion. Initially, bass and drums are nowhere to be found, only guitar and Harper voice. Harper's vocals are a match for the blues here, with the rocker taking a casual, sort of nonchalant approach. On "I'm In I'm Out and I'm Gone," There is more production work from the get-go, but the sound still pays deference to 'keeping the old times alive' without concession to anachronism. Musselwhite flavors the backdrop with excellent touches of harmonica.

The gospel-blues infused "We Can't End This Way" is the first 'crown jewel' of Get Up! with Harper showing his most grit and soul. Lyrics are well though out, particularly lines like "...Who doesn't understand / how disappointment destroys the soul..." or "...Every look of shame / is a wound that will never heal..." Musselwhite gets his say on this six-feel dandy, contributing with his harp and backing vocals. The simple but irresistible chorus "We can't end this way..." carries a loftier weight transcending its commonplace lyrics.

"I Don't Believe A Word You Say" is a stark contrast to the folk-gospel "We Can't End This Way", aiming for classic-blues rock. "You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)" eschews the bombastic rock stylings of its predecessor, slowing down the tempo and featuring and intimate singer/songwriter moment with guitar, harmonica and voice. Harper pulls this vibe off exceptionally, approaching lyrics "You found another love / and I lost another friend" in tortured, affected fashion.

"I Ride At Dawn" proves to be another valedictory moment, dedicated to S02 (Navy Seal) Nicholas P. Spehar via the liner notes. The cut possesses a low-key rhythmic groove that carries as much weight as if it were full-fledged 'pedal to the medal'. Harper, who co-writes with Jesse Ingalls, delivers memorable, thought-provoking lyrics, particularly "Give a man a hundred years / he'll want a hundred more / give him a hundred choices / and he still chooses war / from Salem poor to Genghis Khan/ Tomorrow I'll ride at dawn."

"Blood Side Out" sports a more overt turn than "I Ride At Dawn", highlighted by an exceptional guitar solo. The six minute plus "Get Up!" is worth every last second, remaining poised and pacing itself well. Musselwhite continues to captivate on the harp while Harper sings and plays exceptionally well. "She Got Kick" adheres to vintage R&B sound featuring gritty vocals from Harper. The lyrics are catchy and relatively straightforward, keeping alive the sensibilities of the past. Closing cut "All That Matters" is a lazy, grinding blues cut that appropriately closes the effort.

Overall, there is very little to criticize - Get Up! is a fine album. Dedicated to Solomon Burke and John Lee Hooker, it is a superb dedication. This is an album deserving wider recognition than it has received as of yet. HIGHLY and enthusiastically recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get Up!, March 28, 2013
I was really looking forward to this album featuring Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. As other reviewers have noted it is just missing something. I really like the song I don't believe a word you say but there are no other songs that sound like that. You found another lover is also a great song and is quiet and slow as opposed to word you say. It is good but not as great as I was expecting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birds of a Feather... Excel Together, February 9, 2013
Individually I'm a big fan of both of these artists and their blue's music roots and traditions. Both men have a tireless work ethic, Ben has since 1994 been involved in numerous successful collaborations but this one ranks up there at the top. Of course Charlie has been a blues harmonica icon since the 60's.

"While Harper has made an art out of getting the best from his collaborators in the past, it's here that fans can finally feel as though the guitarist and his guest are taking the notion of teamwork to heart."

Both men bare their souls and become a force from which it is impossible to turn away. These two artisans blend their unique styles effortlessly producing an awesome sound laced with a touch of John Lee Hooker's confident strut and pace. This is old style blues at its best!

They first met in the mid 90's and worked together on John Lee Hooker's "The Best of Friends" (1998) The Best Of Friends as well as some other collaborations, including Musselwhite's 2004 choice release "Sanctuary".

Charlie's harmonica easily fills the spaces of each and every song which is what he does best without overshadowing the moment. Not saying that at times his playing can't sound like a 747 flying over at 50 feet when the arrangement calls for it.

This one reminds me of another favorite collaboration of mine by "The Big Head Blues Club", 100 Years of Robert Johnson.

I'm not going to go step by step through every song as my fellow reviewers have done an excellent job with this one. Ben and Charlie are "locked in, like kindred souls" as the fellow musicians state.

It's just a really great record, so "Get Up !" and dial into a classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's BACK!, May 4, 2013
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This review is from: Get Up! (MP3 Music)
Not too many words but WOW, these two are like bread and butter.. unreal chemistry and it seems we have the old Mr Harper back! Charlie's done nothing but made him back into the person he was.. helped him lose the ego. Just saw em live in DC, unreal.. my 7th Harper show and this one was THE BEST!!
Tracks are all wonderful, from heavy hittin blues, to more ballad like "sad songs"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good!, April 14, 2013
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I heard some of this CD on the radio and liked them, so I bought it. I was hoping that Charlie would get to sing lead on some of the tunes, but except for some BGVs on one track , he's strictly here for the harp playing, which, by the way is very, very good here. Very authentic blues playing all the way around, but with Harper's distinctive lyrical style, which is a nice break from the traditional 'wrong-doin woman' songs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not enough Charlie, April 12, 2013
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This review is from: Get Up! (MP3 Music)
purchased because it was on sale. Like Charlie Musslewhite so I thought I'd give it a try. Charlie keeping flying solo
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!, March 16, 2013
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This review is from: Get Up! (MP3 Music)
Love these two guys playing together. Because I'm required to write a certain number of words, I'll brag that I once served Ben Harper when I was waiting tables in Nashville. I doubt I've ever met Charlie Musselwhite.
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Get Up!
Get Up! by Ben Harper (Vinyl - 2013)
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