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By My Side by Ben Harper
Released: Oct 2012
Label: Virgin Records
In an era of instant gratification and marketing overload, the fact that Harper has never before released a greatest hits package is rather amazing. Then again, By My Side isn't your garden variety retrospective. Curated by the artist himself, it's a craftily programmed collection of tunes highlighting his considerable talents as romantic balladeer. This approach makes complete sense, because let's face it: Harper is one of the real ladies' men among singer-songwriters. His tender introspection, raspy vocals and folk-soul swagger are aphrodisiacs every bit as potent as yohimbe and oysters.
Justin Farrar