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Get Up!

4.4 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Ben Harper has teamed with renowned harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite to create Get Up!, a piercing song-cycle of struggle and heart, slated for release by Stax Records/Concord Music Group on January 29th, 2013. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Harper, Get Up!, is his 12th studio album and first new recording since 2011's Give Till It's Gone (Virgin).

A striking mix of blues, gospel, roots and R&B, Get Up! features ten vivid musical character studies, skillfully rendered in cinematic detail, all written or co-written by Harper.

Charlie Musselwhite s searing point/counter-point harmonica accentuates Harper s vocals throughout Get Up!, tying its songs together into a cohesive musical whole. The band, including Jason Mozersky, guitar; Jesse Ingalls, bass; Jordan Richardson, drums; along with Ben Harper on vocals, guitar and slide guitar; plays with economical grit, lending the songs true understanding and authority.

In 1994, Ben Harper released his first record Welcome to the Cruel World, marking his arrival as singer and songwriter of substance and ambition. Two decades later, an artist in full creative command, he s delivered an inspired work of purity and depth. Get Up!, the new album from Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite, is sure to be one of 2013 s most essential recordings.
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Digital Booklet: Get Up!
Digital Booklet: Get Up!
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 29, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B00A7L00XE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,565 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Audio CD
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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Here I go again about to reveal my ignorance on a subject. I was not familiar with Charlie Musselwhite before I listened to GET UP! That said, I think he complements Ben Harper very well indeed. On the DVD Mr. Musselwhite talks about Muddy Waters and having known him in Chicago. I've read about Muddy Waters and know the harmonica player he worked with for years was Little Walter. It made me wonder if Mr. Musselwhite knew him, too. At any rate this CD is yet another example of Ben Harper's talent for immersing himself in a sound and being able to interpret it in his own fashion. His songwriting skills are at their very best. DON'T LOOK TWICE has a bluesy twang that gets your heart pumping. I'M IN I'M OUT AND I'M GONE is kind of gutbucket blues. WE CAN'T END THIS WAY has a gospel flavor. I DON'T BELIEVE A WORD YOU SAY is an anthem to lies, lies, and more lies whether they be from your lover or a politician. YOU FOUND ANOTHER LOVER (I LOST ANOTHER FRIEND) with just Ben on the guitar and Mr. Musselwhite playing the harmonica is possibly my favorite song. It's heartfelt. I RIDE AT DAWN is the most beautiful song to our men and women in uniform that I've heard in a long time. BLOOD SIDE OUT is just rockin' good. I'm a dancing fool on that one. GET UP! carries on the rocking good time but's a bit more mellow blues. SHE GOT KICK is bluesy country in my opinion. And ALL THAT MATTERS NOW plucks at the heartstrings. It's sad and profound when you finally find out what really matters in life. Great job Mr. Harper and Mr. Musselwhite.
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