Ben Harper And Tom Freund – Pleasure And Pain (1992)

FrontCover1.jpgThis classic Ben Harper album with Tom Freund was originally recorded March 15, 1992 using a Studer A-80 tape recorder. George used a pair of Omni differential microphones that he custom built and fed the sound directly to the Studer tape deck with nothing else in the signal path.

Ben Harper: “There is a little bit of my parents in my first record. I remember a day at the shop, I had just written my first true song : Pleasure And Pain. All the family gathered around me in the workshop and I sang. There was a very sweet atmosphere in the back shop; a profound joy, a feeling of plenitude. After that our neighbors used to come to our house and listen to my songs. My grandparents and my mother wrote poems which I put in music. Everybody on the block was singing.” – Interview by Emmanuel Rivet / – 2000

Tom Freund: “Pleasure and Pain was an intense time. Ben and I really connected on a lot of levels. Sound and healing, tapping into the sounds around us. We had a cool duo and band (which consisted of Rosanne Lindley (David’s daughter) and John McKnight who played on Ben’s first record). We met in the college town of Claremont, CA. A mutual friend introduced us, Alleghaney Meadows – a ceramic artist, said we must meet each other and play together. We had a powerful jam the first night at The Folk Music Center that Ben’s grandparents owned and Ben worked selling and fixing guitars. Cool as shit store with all sorts of world instruments on the walls and ‘spirits’ in the air.”

George Cardas: “I recorded Ben on March 15, 1992 – I was setup to record another performer (Johnny Kallas) who I had been working with for the previous month. Johnny called and said he had a sore throat and couldn’t make it so we were getting ready to go home for the night when the phone rang – it was Ben. He said that a friend of his was over at his house, things were really working and he wanted to come over. I don’t think at the time he was planning on a recording session. About 15 minutes later Ben and Tom came by. They were quite excited about how well things were going so I sat them down in front of a pair of microphones and they began to play.


“We went directly from a pair of custom built microphones into a Studer A-80. There was nothing in the signal path but the two microphones 6 feet of Cardas cable and the Studer not even a preamp other than the single stage in the microphones themselves. This was about as direct a setup as I have ever seen. The recording setup was omni’s on 8 inch center placed in front and above Tom and Ben about 3 feet from Ben’s chest. Ben and Tom began to play, sort of deciding what to play and going for it; all takes were one time only. It took just over 45 minutes to record the album – it is to this day one of the most magical musical moments, the kind you dream will happen but never do. It was obvious that this was the “real deal” so I made a record almost immediately. We did one run (of) the albums they were awesome so I told Ben to take on to LA and go shopping — he did and the rest is history. (taken from an interview by Emmanuel Rivet, 2000)

Oh, what a wonderful album with very intimate acoustic blues …

“Deepest thanks to all of our family and friends for their support and encouragements. Special thanks to Jim ‘The Mayor’ Smith, Taj Mahal, David Lindley, Chris Darrow, Sal Salvador, Bruce Bishop, Alleghaney Meadows and the Folk Music Center.”

#B5 “Pleasure And Pain” written in loving memory of Jack F. Knapp (1/4/29 – 1/30/92).

“This album was recorded March 15, 1992, using a Studer A-80 tape recorder.”

Pleasure & Pain

Tom Freund (guitar, vocals)
Ben Harper (guitar, vocals)


01. Whipping Boy (Darrow) 2.47
02. Jesus On The Main Line (Traditional) 4.11
03. Pay The Man (Lindley/Pierre) 5.03
04. Quarter Of A Man (Fuller) 4.25
05. Mama’s Got A Girlfriend Now (Harper) 4.21
06. Angel From Montgomery (Prine) 5.32
07. Click Yo’ Heels (Freund) 4.24
09. You Should Have Come To Me (Freund) 4.25
10. Dust My Broom (Johnson) 4.02
11. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 3.45
12. Pleasure And Pain (Harper) 4.56