CD Both Sides of the Gun [Digipak] (CD 650315),
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Both Sides of the Gun [Digipak]
0. DISC 1:
1. Morning Yearning
2. Waiting for You
3. Picture in a Frame
4. Never Leave Lonely Alone
5. Sweet Nothing Serenade
6. Reason to Mourn
7. More Than Sorry
8. Cryin' Won't Help You Now
9. Happy Everafter in Your Eyes
0. DISC 2:
1. Better Way
2. Both Sides of the Gun
3. Engraved Invitation
4. Black Rain
5. Gather 'Round the Stone
6. Please Don't Talk About Murder While I'm Eating
7. Get It Like You Like It
8. Way You Found Me, The
9. Serve Your Soul
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 57446
Ben Harper; Ben Harper
Danny Kalb; Todd Burke; Danny Kalb
Personnel: Ben Harper (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, keyboards, vibraphone, drums, percussion); Ben Harper (bass guitar); Michael Ward (guitar, 12-string guitar, background vocals); Jason Mozersky, Danny Kalb, Marc Ford (guitar); Jan Ghazi (electric guitar, background vocals); Patrick Rosalez (violin); Greg Kurstin (piano, Hammond b-3 organ); David Palmer (keyboards); Matt Cory (bass instrument); Oliver Francis Charles (drums, background vocals); Jordan Richardson, Jose Medeles, J.P. Plunier (drums); Michelle Griepentrog, Sue Chase, Nick Sandro, Jennifer Ohrstrom, Natasha Cockrell, Scott Thomas, Charlie Musselwhite (background vocals); David Lindley (tamboura); Joel Pargman, Alyssa Park (violin); Brett Banduci (viola); Timothy Loo (cello); Jason Yates (keyboards, background vocals); Leon Mobley (percussion, background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Danny Kalb.
Recording information: The Boat Studios, Silverlake, CA.
Photographer: Michael Halsband.
With the two-disc BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN, singer/songwriter Ben Harper appears hell-bent to play havoc with listeners' expectations. For those who thought blues-rock was a relic of the 1970s, abandoned to rot amid worn-out Foghat riffs, Harper presents a compelling argument to the contrary on the set's first disc. Instead of jacking up traditional blues forms in a clichd way, though, Harper applies a blues sensibility to the rock vocabulary, coming up with something that feels new in the process. The emotive howl of his vocals and the from-the-gut moans of his guitar bespeak a musician schooled in Zeppelin and Hendrix but ultimately closer to Jeff Buckley at his most frenetic. The raw, gritty production lends an appropriately in-your-face quality as well.
The second disc further messes with one's preconceptions. It's a quiet, acoustic-oriented affair wherein Harper seems to channel vintage Cat Stevens. In fact, there are spots where his singing sounds eerily similar to that of the British folk-rocker. Where the first disc's songs feel full of anger and social consciousness, the vulnerable ballads occupying the second are largely wistful and romantic, operating on a more personal scale. As different as they are, BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN are just as formidable in Harper's hands.
Rolling Stone (pp.61-62) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Harper is a natural-born superstar who has operated in the pop universe his way....He is, for all his flash, just Ben, a gifted singer, songwriter and guitarist bent on seeking transcendence in everyday places."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[With] robust rockers and acoustic romancers...CD1 is full of rip and roar about the evils and moral ambiguities of the times."
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