Diamonds on the Inside

Diamonds on the Inside

4.8 5
by Ben Harper
     
 

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Although he often seems hell-bent on topping Baskin-Robbins in terms of number of flavors offered, Ben Harper always manages to bond his diffuse stylistic influences into a cohesive sound -- one that, on his fifth studio album, manages to be both freak-flag-flying and spirit lifting. Harper concentrates on the latter to a large degree here, cribbing biblical notes on… See more details below

Overview

Although he often seems hell-bent on topping Baskin-Robbins in terms of number of flavors offered, Ben Harper always manages to bond his diffuse stylistic influences into a cohesive sound -- one that, on his fifth studio album, manages to be both freak-flag-flying and spirit lifting. Harper concentrates on the latter to a large degree here, cribbing biblical notes on the swelling title track and waxing wide-eyed and ecstatic on "Amen Omen" and "Blessed to Be a Witness." Like kindred spirits as diverse as Al Green and Bob Marley, Harper doesn't ignore the flesh altogether: While he tempers his corporeal urges more than most rock performers, he lets loose on a few tunes here, notably the sinuous funk workout "Brown Eyed Blues." There's a good bit of air in the mix, which suits Harper's vocal quaver nicely, allowing him to dart in and out of the loping island rhythms of "My Own Two Hands" and between the wispy layers of accordion and harp that mottle "When She Believes." On Diamonds on the Inside, Harper's gems gleam with a rainbow of sounds and styles.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
Ben Harper is a musical preacher of sorts, never one to be shy in speaking his mind about social conformity. If his first two albums -- Welcome to the Cruel World and Fight for Your Mind -- didn't clue you in, Diamonds on the Inside will definitely do so. Diamonds on the Inside marks Harper's fifth studio effort and this time he's emotionally in touch with what makes his heart burst. This is a passionate album, no doubt. His signature Weissenborn guitar joins him once more and Harper's classic groovy funk is heavy; however, Harper adds worldbeat to his musical plank. From the Marley-esque vibe of "With My Own Two Hands" to the African soundscapes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo on "Picture of Jesus," Harper's purist presentation is smooth. "When It's Good" gives a little country blues twang, while "Touch From You Lust" is a sexy haze of writhing riffs. "Temporary Remedy" follows the funk Lenny Kravitz-style, and Harper's a bit campy. It's a noticeable change from his typically serious stature and a nice shift in personality, too. Diamonds on the Inside is another stunning effort from one of rock's underground heroes. Harper has consistently worked with what appeals to him musically for nearly a decade, ignoring what fits the mainstream. Diamonds on the Inside is Harper's sixth chapter of truth and just one listen to the electric blaze of "Everything" will convince you.
Entertainment Weekly - Jim Greer
Harper's distinctive and committed vocals both unify and lift the music above homage.
Billboard - Andrew Katchen
Harper knows how to wring aching beauty from absolute simplicity.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/11/2003
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0724358064025
catalogNumber:
80640
Rank:
52186

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ben Harper   Primary Artist,Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Drums,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Synthesizer Bass,Tongue Drum
Ladysmith Black Mambazo   Vocals
Yasha Anderson   Guitar
Carla Benson   Background Vocals
John Ingram   Background Vocals
Greg Kurstin   Synthesizer,Piano,Celeste,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Background Vocals,Clavinet,Mellotron
Greg Leisz   Pedal Steel Guitar
Leon Mobley   Percussion,Background Vocals
David Ralicke   Trombone
Josef Zimmerman   Upright Bass
Juan Nelson   Bass,Background Vocals
Leo Chelyapov   Clarinet
Nicky P.   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Amy Wilkins   Harp
Timothy Loo   Cello
Darrel Sims   Viola
Rebecca Yeh   Cello
Ron Blake   Trumpet
Misty Love   Background Vocals
Oliver Francis Charles   Drums,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ben Harper   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Greg Kurstin   Arranger
Leon Mobley   Sound Effects
Rick "Soldier" Will   Engineer
Gavin Lurssen   Mastering
Todd Burke   Engineer
Juan Nelson   Composer
Ben Elder   Advisor
Dean Butterworth   Composer

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