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The Will to Live

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 17, 1997
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At 28 years intense, Harper released his third album, a mixture of R&B, deep blues, folk-rock, even topical singer-songwriter work (the deliberate, bluesy "Homeless Child"). Harper's voice and style marry the funk-blues of Taj Mahal and the eccentric, electric Dylan. Those weaned on his more commercially successful peers Hootie and the Blowfish and the Wallflowers will find that Harper is a revelation. At its best, The Will to Live is an eclectic and imaginative statement. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 17, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • ASIN: B000000WE3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,331 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ben Harper's The Will To Live is a dramatic change in form musically, if not lyrically, for the retro/roots rock artist. But unlike fellow Virgin artist Lenny Kravitz, who's still trying to fuse his influences into his own unique, cohesive sound; Harper has created a sound that blends blues, reggae, gospel, rock, and soul into something entirely unique. Incredibly gifted as a singer and slide guitar player, Harper's "The Will To Live" is an unheralded classic that will certainly be listened to 40 to 50 years down the road, ala Harper's musical idle Robert Johnson. Harper's songs are timeless and rooted in simplicity, relying heavily on the authentic sound of the Weissenborn guitar and a standard D tuning {Instead of the basic E, he has a tendency to sing most of his songs in B flat]. The down-tuning blends perfectly with his Curtis Mayfield/Sam Cooke angeletic voice, and the musicians who make up the Innocent Criminals create a perfect backdrop of percussion and background tones to push Harper's new electric sound further. His lyrics are still rooted in spirituality, driven by an intense personal faith in God that hints at a young exposure to Catholicism in particular [I Shall Not Walk Alone]. That spirituality is what drives the music, and creates an intense honesty conveyed well to the audience. Harper's phrasing is so real, so heartfelt, so honest, only names like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and Aretha Franklin have every conveyed more power and feeling on a record. This cannot be overstated, given the wide-range of artists today. Harper crosses boundries and molds them. His music is undefinable, and not limited to any specific genre. Unlike the Clash's Sandinista, Harper has the skill and musicianship to pull it off.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This album is one of the best of the '90s in the rock genre - order the '97 release instead of the '98 because it includes a free 5 song live disc. Ben Harper remains a (relatively) undiscovered gem in the world of rock music. Exceptional, poignant lyrics, and effortless transitions between dobro, acoustic and electric guitar parts (listen to Faded). The styles embodied on this disc include reggae, folk, rock, grunge, and funk. Its what Lenny Kravitz was striving for, yet never achieved. Tracks of note: Roses From My Friends, Will to Live, and the acoustic tracks Widow of a Living Man and Ashes. This disc will grow on you like a fungus.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought the other three Ben Harper albums before this, so I was expecting a lot when I first listened to it. It by far blows Burn To Shine and Welcome to the Cruel World out of the water. I thought it would be impossible for Harper to produce an album to rival Fight For Your Mind, but he did it. This is the most impressive mix of acoustic folksy blues I have ever heard. If this album doesn't impress you, you need to poke youself with something sharp.
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Format: Audio CD
Execellent album. Ben Harper incorporates many different styles of music and does it well. Overall the album is fairly spiritual in content without being over the top. I cant tell you how much I love this album. In the top 20 of albums from the Nineties.
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Format: Audio CD
If you can, think back and remember the sound of "Fight For Your Mind". Think about the sound that album had and how it blended three different styles of music (at the least) and how wonderful it ended up sounding. Now, I'd like you to imagine "The Will To Live". Imagine a totally different sound from its predecessor, while at the same time blending more styles of music into its content like its predecessor. Following me here? "The Will to Live" is a much different than "Fight For Your Mind". The album's message roots a little deeper into the emotional pool and conveys it in an array of folk/fusion, jazz, rythem and blues, and the patented Ben Harper acoustic sound. Only "Glory and Consequence" and "Faded" find the hard rocking weissenborn guitar. "Jah Work" although completely out of place on this album, is a perfect example of how Ben can hit a wide variety of musical styles. What you get is a pleasure of an album to listen to. It's different and unique.
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Format: Audio CD
An album which expresses Harper's traditional genuflection to spirituality and concern for the less-than-fortunate. With "Homeless Child" and "Widow of a Living Man" (one of my favorite songs by him), Harper exhibits once again his uncanny ability of peering into the world of the downtrodden and revealing its anguish w/grace. While perhaps his most melancholy release, it's beautifully orchestrated, and like the majority of his work, it's an album that, thematically, speaks to those who are ahead of the status quo.
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By reprah neb on February 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
as a response to "a music fan"'s question... i believe this is just the will to live cd along with an extra live cd that came out with it for awhile... the song's on the live CD are 'the will to live', 'faded', 'forever', 'i shall not walk alone', 'voodoo chile'... the live version of 'i shall not walk alone' is especially powerful... also, does anybody know how to get a copy of ben's show (video) on the show "Sessions at West 54th"... let me know. 8-)>fight for your mind8-)>
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