Album review: BEN HARPER & CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE – No Mercy In This Land

BEN HARPER & CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE – No Mercy In This Land

Anti- [Release date 30.03.18]

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite were introduced to one another by blues legend John Lee Hooker, who thought the two men should play together, so he brought them into the studio to record a song called ‘Burnin’ Hell’.

It took until 2013 when Harper and Musselwhite met up in a studio to record the Grammy winning album ‘Get Up!’, which topped the US Blues album chart. Now five years later the pair are back with their second album together and it is another album of blues played from the heart and soul.

A lot of the songs are classic blues territory based on the failings in life, like ‘The Bottle Wins Again’ and the album’s title track. On a song like ‘When Love Is Not Enough’, Harper’s vocals and Musselwhite’s harmonica playing complement each other perfectly. Added piano gives an extra layer the to the music on this song.

There are moments of hope though on ‘Found The One’, a song about finding true love and Harper’s vocals lift the song to another level, impressive doesn’t quite do it justice.

Their last album saw Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite win a Grammy and it would come as no surprise to see similar accolades heaped on this successor. The blues played and performed in one its simplest forms by two musicians who love and respect the blues, plus write and perform damn fine songs. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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