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Rock 'n' Roots - with added funk; play loud!
on May 8, 2009
Ben Harper teams up with a Texas trio known by the somewhat confusing name of 'Relentless7' - but anyway, even if they can't count, they sure know how to rock. Most of the songs are blues-rockers, whereby you get a generous helping of fuzzed-up electric slide and a good dose of wah wah enhanced electric lead - and the music is all held together by a tight and funky rhythm section. However, the album isn't all ballsy blues and frenzied funk - with a few numbers, BH slows down the tempo to give the listener a sprinkling of his more familiar neo-roots music. Most of the songs have pretty good lyrics too.
Those tunes that really do the business for me are : 'Number With No Name', 'Shimmer & Shine', 'Lay There and Hate Me', 'Why Must You Always Dress In Black', 'Skin Thin' and 'Keep It Together'; the rest aren't bad either, with just a couple that don't quite 'get there' for me.
I didn't think they made music like this anymore (the major influences are obvious - Jimi Hendrix, Cream and The Rolling Stones). Anyone who likes their music with a lot of balls should enjoy this album, with its super-charged playing and BH's soulful vocals (as another reviewer mentions, occasionally sounding a little like Stevie Wonder). Also, if you're 'getting on a bit' (like me) and hanker for that pre-arena, classic psych-tinged blues-rock sound from yesteryear, then you might want to lend an ear to this album - it's a frightfully decent record.