Sunday Sounds #4

Get Up

Get Up! by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite

At the release of his previous album, Give Until It’s Gone, Ben Harper finally finished an epic ten album record contract (which surely must be an historic feat in itself). This is the first album since then, and he has teamed up with renowned electric blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite (who supposedly inspired one of the characters in the film Blues Brothers). As you can imagine, with Musselwhite’s style and Harper’s slide guitar, they have created perhaps the most bluesy album Harper has ever recorded. Get Up! shows that even after two decades of making music, Ben Harper still is one of the most creative, energetic and brilliant songwriters around. Check out this clip for the song “I don’t believe a word you say”:

InternationalistInternationalist by Powderfinger

The third album by much-loved Australian rock-band Powderfinger, Internationalist helped these guys shoot to national stardom in the late 1990s, receiving lots of radio play, massive commercial sales, and winning a lot of music awards in the process (something that would continue for their next few albums as the Aussie rock scene became dominated by these guys and Silverchair). While they would later develop a more noticeable trademark sound, that was still missing on this record with songs ranging all over the place from soft acoustic pieces such as “Over My Head”, to heavy rockers like “Belter”, but still with some super radio friendly hits such as this song, “Passenger”:

sketches-for-my-sweetheart-the-drunkSketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk by Jeff Buckley

It was a sad day nearly sixteen years ago when Jeff Buckley died at the age of 30, leaving behind an unfinished second album and ending a powerful and intriguing musical legacy that started with his father (who died even younger at 28, and whom he only ever met twice). He was supposedly going to name his second album My Sweetheart The Drunk, and was excited about it at the time of his death. His mother soon set to work at sifting through all the songs he had recorded for it so far, much of which had already been mixed and was ready to go, and it was released as a two disc set but with liner notes explaining that these weren’t the finished product (although she did say that this is the real Jeff Buckley left behind, not the ashes, which I thought was rather nice). Musically the songs here are very different to his first album Grace, in some cases feeling more mainstream, while elsewhere sounding surreal and experimental. Listen to the clip for “Everybody Here Wants You” and just try and tell me he didn’t possess one of the best voices ever heard:

What are your thoughts on these songs, albums and artists I’ve mentioned?

What have you been listening to this last week?

8 thoughts on “Sunday Sounds #4

  1. Great artists! Ben Harper is huge in France (where I’m originally from) and I was surprised he wasn’t better known in the US (where I now live). I wasn’t familiar with Powderfinger so thanks for the introduction! Great blog 🙂

    • Haha, I think most people either love or hate Powderfinger – a lot of people I know don’t like Bernard Fanning’s voice which puts them off. I love them but I can see why some people don’t.
      Ahhh there’s nothing wrong with Ella Fitzgerald! 🙂

  2. I hadn’t heard either Ben Harper or Powderfinger before today. The verdict is still out on whether I enjoyed Ben’s song. The words are a little too repetitive for my liking, although I do like the bluesy sound.

    I quite enjoyed Powderfinger’s video. It kind of reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide with the flying whale picking them up after the plane exploded. 🙂

    I think I’ve seen the video for Jeff Buckley’s song, but I don’t remember that he died at age 30. That really is a shame. He’s in good company, though, as so many great singers have gone well before their time.

    • Yeah, that Ben Harper song is not the best on the album, but as the album was so new when I wrote that post half of the songs weren’t up on Youtube at that point. Although I quite like the album I haven’t listened to it as non-stop as I first thought I would! I’m glad you liked Powderfinger’s video – they are one of those Aussie bands I have grown up with, they formed when I was just a young boy, and broke up when I was in my mid 20s, so they’ll always have a strong resonance with me. Funnily enough I didn’t initially make that Hitchhiker’s Guide connection with the clip, which is odd considering those books are among my all time favourites. It is very sad that Jeff Buckley died so young, especially considering it wasn’t intentional and wasn’t due to anything silly like drugs. At least we have some of his great music to remember him by – and that voice! 🙂

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