Friday, May 17, 2013

Musselwhite & Harper Head Doheny Blues Fest

Doheny Blues Festival
With Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite,
Tedeschi Trucks Band, George Thoroughgood,
Joe Bonamassa and More
Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19
1 PM - 9:30 PM Daily
Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA

Ben Harper and 
Charlie Musselwhite
Get Up
Stax Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

The collaboration between Bluesmen Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite on their album Get Up brings back my best memories of making music.

When I was young I found myself traveling through the Ozarks of Missouri with my guitar.  My friends and I stopped off at a home to visit some old family friends.

When I found out that the patriarch of the family, a man in his late sixties could play the guitar, well I just had to grab mine for an impromptu Blues jam session.

The evening was magical.  He imparted a lot of his knowledge of the instrument and I think I taught him a trick or two.  Together we made some great music.

And that is exactly the feel you get on this collaboration, released last month, between arguably the greatest living blues harpist in Charlie Musselwhite, age 69, the inspiration for Jake Blues of the Blues Brothers and six Grammys in tow and Ben Harper, at age 43 probably the most recognizable name and voice in Blues today.

Musselwhite and Harper will Headline this weekend's Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, California.

You can talk about the "Passing of the Torch" type stuff here, but the bottom line is that if you take the two ages and the big names out of the equation for the moment and just listen...this is great stuff.

The ten songs (penned by Harper) evoke the full range of emotions good Blues Music has the ability to do.

"You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)" with Musselwhite's understated Harmonica playing is both beautiful and sad at the same time.

Then it just gets Hot and Nasty with my favorite song on the album, a screaming howler called "I Don't Believe A Word You Say".  It's a call and response between the tough guitar playing and growling vocals of Harper and Musselwhite's mean harp action.

This is recorded under the legendary Stax Records label in Memphis.  And the significance is not lost on folks that study the history of the Blues. It is the first time for Harper but where Musselwhite participated in and recorded a lot of his earlier work.

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