Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite live at the Orpheum. Boston, Ma

                 Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite help heal Boston’s Blues.

     Performed live at the Orpheum. Boston, Ma. Saturday May 4th 2013.

 Review By King Dale
Photos By Micah Gummel
Show Photos: HERE
 At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to a Blues show. Or a modern day showing of the odd couple. Not in a million years did I think I would see these two hooking up. As it turns out it may very well be a match made in heaven. Not knowing a lot about Ben Harper, other than being a pop star. But I must say I was very impressed with his performance and stage presence. He reminded me a lot of the late great Lightin Hopkins.Their playing styles are quite similar.
  Now when it comes to Charlie Musselwhite I could go on all day. Along with Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield, Charlie was one of the first white boys to crack the Blues clubs on Chicago’s south side. Growing up in Memphis idolizing the likes Muddy Waters and Little Walter. Now the kid nicknamed Memphis Charlie was sitting jamming along side of them. Being one of the worlds best harmonica players, Charlie’s talent seems to mesh with Ben’s very well. With the help of a great sounding back up band. They sure put out a sweet and pure authentic Blues sound. A lot of musicians love using those old tube amps and equipment. And I can certainly see and hear why. Those guys got it done.Placed in the setting of the rustic Orpheum Theatre in beautiful downtown Boston. Ben
Harper and Charlie Musselwhite put on a Blues show for the ages. The dynamic duo started the show with the hard stompin’ Chicago style master piece of  “I don’t believe a word you say”, this is definitely my favorite song on their new debut album “Get up”. This tune really has a great feel to it. If Charlie’s old friend Muddy Waters was alive today. He would certainly have the feeling of proud papa.
  Following that is the title track of their new album “Get up”. It has a great groovin’ bassline along with Charlie’s harp echoing along side. The song has a real Louisiana swamp feel to it. I have a feeling this tune will be bouncing around in my head for awhile. “The Blues overtook me” is one of Charlie’s classics. When he took center stage you could feel the excitement of the crowd. And he did not disappoint. In classic Chicago style were the harmonica is the lead solo instrument. Charlie delivered a top notch effort.
  Then Ben took center stage with soulful run of his latest material. Including three new songs from the new album. The two that stood out for me were “She got kick” and “I’m in I’m out and I’m gone. Jesse Ingalls took a brake on bass during “She got kick” and gave an outstanding performance on piano. The band seemed to have a lot of fun playing this music. They sure showed it in their delivery as well as their emotions. And the capacity crowd responded to their efforts. “Blood side out” got us all on our feet. The song has a raw gritty edge to it. that seems so real, I wasn’t sure if I was in Boston. Or if I was reliving a night on the old southern chittlin circuit at a local roadhouse.
 The rest of the set featured some of Charlie’s finest playing of the evening. Includinga blistering rendition of Led Zeppelin’s version of “When the levee brakes. And the crowd loved it too. And I must say the band did a fine job on it too. Ben was hitting all the high notes on vocals, While Charlie was carrying the beat on his harp. This certainly was a very cool and exciting way to end the set. Everyone in the building was on their feet as we all cheered for more. And of course after a few minutes of raw throats and soar hands. The guys returned for an encore. 
 The encore certainly had a lovin theme to it. Each of the four songs they played seemed to be based on love and relationships. But then again, that’s how the Blues was created. You haven’t experienced the Blues unless you’ve had your heart broken. Along with Charlie’s “Long legged woman”. The other three songs are from “Get up”. After Ben Addressed the crowd and gave us his condolences due to the resent troubles here in Boston. They closed the shoe with a very emotional performance of “All that matters now”. As the band brought it down to a soft level. Ben took center stage without his mic And bellowed out one of the most passionate and heartfelt vocals I’ve ever heard. The crowd went absolutely nuts as the song concluded. As the band stood out front of the stage taking their bow. I was feeling so ever grateful that I had a chance to see this show. Rumor has it that John Lee Hooker was the one responsible for getting these two together. So not only did John Lee invent the boogie, but he also created a modern day Blues dynamic duo. Thanks Mr. Hooker. 

Set List

I Don’t Believe a Word You Say

Get Up!

The Blues Overtook Me

(Charlie Musselwhite cover) (Charlie on vocals)

Don’t Look Twice

When It’s Good

She Got Kick

I’m In I’m Out and I’m Gone

Blood Side Out

(Jason Mozersky on Gibson Double-Neck)

Homeless Child

(Charlie on vocals)

I Ride at Dawn

I’m Goin’ Home

(Charlie Musselwhite cover) (Charlie on vocals)

When the Levee Breaks

(Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy cover)


We Can’t End This Way

Long Legged Woman

(Charlie Musselwhite cover) (Charlie on vocals)

You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend)

(Ben & Charlie: Acoustic)

All That Matters Now

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