Category: Ben Harper

Ben Harper – Fight for Your Mind

ARTIST: Ben Harper                               benharperfightforyourmind

TITLE:  Fight for Your Mind

YEAR RELEASED: 1995

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Ground on Down, Excuse Me Mr., Gold to Me

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe when he was on tour or at a jam band festival

LINEUP: Ben Harper, Brett Banduci, Danielle Charles, Oliver Charles, Bob Coke, Timothy Loo, Leon Mobley, Juan Nelson, Ervin Pope

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Harper expands his musical palette, and also exhibits some jam band tendencies. That’s good and bad.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ben Harper prepped for this second album by absorbing the atmosphere from the jam band scene and his tour with the Dave Matthews band. That opened up his music, and the arrangements complemented his lyrics.

The songs here are little more fierce and developed than his first album, and having more of a band helps him a great deal. Harper’s guitar work on acoustic and electric carries through the songs as well, but his tendency at times to overplay or over-extend shows that the jam band mentality didn’t always work.

This record is a step forward, and showed to everyone that Harper was going to be a great artist no matter where he goes on stage – be it festival, arena or theatre.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The songs on the album were represented by roundels symbolizing 13 African armies and Jamaica. Also, this isn’t on Google Play but available on Spotify.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: A little jam-bandy at times, but most of this grabs you and keeps you listenting.

Ben Harper – Welcome to the Cruel World

ARTIST: Ben Harper            Ben_Harper_-_Welcome_to_the_Cruel_World

TITLE:  Welcome to the Cruel World

YEAR RELEASED: 1994

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Like a King, Whipping Boy

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’ll Rise

LINEUP: Ben Harper + session players.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jammy, folky album puts Harper on the map, somewhat.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ben Harper’s guitar work, songwriting, and voice are all in good form in his debut album. When he sings about social justice and racism, his words are strong and forceful.

His voice, and the way he plays and expresses himself is at conflict at times with his voice. Not to say what he’s singing isn’t powerful, it just seems like the mood isn’t as dark as it maybe should be. That’s probably more of a quibble than a criticism.

As he was finding his voice and his motif, not everything here hits the target. Some of his songs are scattered, and because of that don’t have the impact they could have. It’s still a good debut, though, and gave Harper momentum as he built his career.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This album was before he established his backing band, so session players were used. Also, this disappeared from Google Play but is on Spotify.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: A good start for a alternative folk / blues favorite.