Rolling Stone - p.1103 stars out of 5
- "'Where Could I Go,' which plays like an elegantly spaced Fifties rock ballad, is a wonder....'Well, Well, Well' sounds like a lost, brilliant 78-rpm side."
Entertainment Weekly - p.69
"[T]his union of the slide-playing roots rocker and the veteran gospel septet feels relaxed and natural." - Grade: B+
Uncut - p.1053 stars out of 5
- "It's as inspirational as you would expect from such a blues-gospel summit to be. Harper contributes stinging slide guitar and adds his own distinctive vocals to those of the magnificent Clarence Fountain."
Ben Harper/The Blind Boys of Alabama: Ben Harper (vocals, guitar); Clarence Fountain, George Scott , Jimmy Carter , Tracy Pierce, Bobby Butler, Ricke McKinnie, Joey Williams (vocals).
Additional personnel: Jason Yates, Marc Ford , Michael Ward , Juan Nelson, Leon Mobley, Oliver Charles, Rock Deadrick.
Audio Mixer: Jimmy Hoyson.
Recording information: Capitol Studio B, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Steve Sherman.
Arranger: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.
This collaboration between Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama draws heavily from blues and gospel traditions. Many of the songs on THERE WILL BE A LIGHT, particularly "Take My Hand" and "Mother Pray," are highly devotional. However, unlike many of the spiritual records on the market, this album is musically diverse and non-formulaic. And, despite the finely wrought production, Harper retains an earthy, organic feel throughout this intimate outing, which relies more on subtlety and nuance than blatant preaching.
THERE WILL BE A LIGHT also emulates Depression-era blues very well. "11th Commandment" and "Well Well Well" feature Harper's slide guitar, and his soulful playing harks back to the work of Robert Johnson and Elmore James. Unlike some revivalists, Harper shows that he understands--and has internalized--the Delta blues and gospel traditions. Of course, one can't overstate the contribution the Blind Boys of Alabama bring to this album. Their passionate harmonies add warmth and grace to each and every song.