Home Read Classic Album Review: Ben Harper | Diamonds On The Inside

Classic Album Review: Ben Harper | Diamonds On The Inside

The blues-rock guitar hero’s seventh set takes you on a stylistic merry-go-round.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


For a guy who often plays sitting down, Ben Harper sure doesn’t stay in one place too long.

Kinky uplifting reggae, downtrodded Delta blues, lazy acoustic folk-pop, seductively groovy soul-rock, Parisian orchestral balladry, finger-popping funk — you name it, the neo-hippie singer-songwriter tackles it on his typically eclectic seventh album Diamonds On The Inside. In fact, he even tackles it in that order. The Marleyesque pener With My Own Two Hands could have been recorded at Studio One, When It’s Good is straight from the back porch, the title track is a dark clump of tangled roots, Touch From Your Lust is a tune Lenny Kravitz would give his nipple rings to write, When She Believes could be an old Serge Gainsbourg cover, and Brown Eyed Blues and Bring the Funk are classic Stevie Wonder hip-swivellers. And that’s barely half the record — there’s still the gritty Jimi Hendrix rock of Temporary Remedy and So High So Low, the African gospel of Blessed To Be A Witness and Picture Of Jesus, and a few more odds and ends to sneak in before this mind-expanding hour-long beauty comes to a close. No wonder he needs a seat; who wouldn’t be tired after a stylistic merry-go-round like that?