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Five years ago, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite collaborated on 2013 Grammy-winning album Get Up, but I reckon that was just a warm-up for No Mercy In This Land.
Musselwhite, at 74 years young, and Harper, still shy of his 50th birthday, have discovered a musical empathy which has taken a huge leap forward in this latest set of songs.
Aside from some input from lead guitarist Jason Mozersky and bass player Jesse Ingalls, Harper has penned all 13 compositions and, as well as his elegant slide playing, even dabbles on the piano.
Musselwhite chips in with harp work that points to his 50-plus years honing his craft. No Mercy in this Land reeks of tough Chicago blues but has a thoroughly modern feel. On paper they may be twenty five years apart, but in the studio no way.
- Tony Nielsen