Ben Harper & Rhiannon Giddens Cover Nick Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’

By Andy Kahn Jul 21, 2020 8:15 am PDT

Ben Harper and Rhiannon Giddens shared a cover of Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog.” The recording marks the first collaboration between Giddens and Harper.

Drake recorded “Black Eyed Dog” before his death in 1974 and it was later released on a posthumous compilation. Harper played lap steel and Giddens played banjo on the track. Both Harper and Giddens spoke about the recording.

Harper stated:

Rhiannon and I are both black purveyors of American roots music, and while this is not an anomaly, it is an exception within a subculture. We have unquestionably tapped into the same creative well of influence, carrying on the tradition through our own individual instincts and perspectives.

I’ve always wanted to cover “Black Eyed Dog,” but the song was intimidating in its haunted perfection. Only through collaborating with Rhiannon would I have ever attempted it. When I step back from it, this collaboration should’ve happened long ago, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally here.

Giddens stated:

I’ve been hearing and hearing about Ben Harper for a long time, but had never gotten to meet him until recently at an event in LA and I was immediately struck by a kindred spirit. Didn’t have as much to do with the kind of music we play, although we share many, many commonalities as black folk playing roots music, but more to do with the spirit that we access when we play it. I felt that spirit in him right off and knew if we ever got the chance, we could make something beautiful together.

Stream Ben Harper and Rhiannon Giddens cover of Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog” below:

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