"Get Up!," the new collaborative album between singer-songwriter Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite has been a long time coming -- in fact, since the two first met -- according to the veteran harmonica virtuoso.
"John Lee Hooker would also call me, 'Man, if you ain't busy, come sit in with me,' and I was playing with him awhile ago and Ben opened for us," recalls Musselwhite, 69. "It was like meeting somebody who you already knew. then, as our paths kept crossing, we had more time to talk, and we kept talking about doing something together.
"In fact, we did a record backing up John Lee Hooker, a tune called 'Burn In Hell.' That was our first time in the studio together and we really locked in. Even John lee said, 'Man, you guys ought to record more together,' and we already knew he was right."
"Get Up!" pairs Musselwhite and Harper -- who had previously guested on each other's albums, too -- for 10 news songs, drawn from 12 they recorded. The process, according to Musselwhite, was effortless, with every song finished in one or two takes.
"I don't think anything was three takes," recalls Musselwhite, who expects to spend much of the year playing shows with Harper, who's 26 years his junior. "It just had a real natural flow to it, one tune after the other. Everything happened just like you hear it in the studio. On the last one ('All That Matters Now') you can hear me laughing and talking 'cause I didn't even know we were recording. I thought we were just jamming.
"So it was a real relaxed atmosphere and a lot of fun for everybody, and the magic was definitely there. The music just poured out, like it's supposed to."
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite perform Saturday, March 2, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $49.50. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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