Until this 28-track 2012 volume emerged from Shout of the U.K., the only CD compilation covering New Orleans vocalist Benny Spellman (actually born in Pensacola, Florida on December 11, 1931) was a 1988 16-track "budget" volume from Collectables which, in presenting a cross-variety of his sides cut for the Minit and Alon labels, presented nothing in the way of background notes. Unfortunately for this talented baritone/bass vocalist, his solo efforts in recordings received little or no national attention (except for one minor release) although, on a regional basis, his music was always well-received, especially those done in conjunction with the legendary New Orleans songwriter, record producer, and Crescent City R&B mover and shaker Allen Toussaint.
After performing briefly with Huey "Piano" Smith & His Clowns, he first tried his luck as a solo artist at Minit Records, a New Orleans label launched by Joe Banashak with distribution arrangements through Imperial Records, with these two unsuccessful - in terms of national listings - 1960 releases: Life Is Too Short/Ammerette (Minit 606), and Darling No Matter Where/I Didn't Know (Minit 613). Early in 1961, however, he was recruited to provide the bass backing vocal for Ernie K-Doe and his recording of Mother-In-Law on Minit 623, and it was as much his contribution as K-Doe's effort which turned it into a # 1 R&B for 5 weeks and a # 1 Billboard Pop Hot 100 in April-May.
That same year, Benny had one release by Johnny Vincent's original Ace Records (That's All I Ask Of You/Roll On Big Wheel on Ace 630) - neither side a hit - before finally getting his breakthrough with the delightful Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette), which peaked at # 28 R&B but for some strange reason could only get to # 80 Hot 100 in June 1962 b/w Fortune Teller on Minit 644 (it was also released as Imperial 040 in a special edition, but the hit belongs to Minit).
And that would be it as far as a national listing was concerned, although he would plug away with the following 11 singles into 1968 which, together with all the sides just mentioned, are all here with the lone exceptions of his four sides for Watch Records in 1964, and the two for Mor Soul in 1968, licences for which obviously could not be obtained:
Every Now And Then/I'm In Love (Minit 652 in 1962); Stickin' Whicha' Baby/You Got To Get It (Minit 659 in 1963); Talk About Love b/w a re-release of Ammerette (Minit 664 in 1963); Walk On, Don't Cry/Please Mister Genie (Watch 6332 in 1964); Slow Down Baby (You Drive Too Fast)/Someday They'll Understand (Watch 6336 in 1964); Tain't The Truth/No Don't Stop (Alon 9018 in 1965); The Word Game/I Feel Good (Alon 9024 in 1965 - also released on Atlantic 2291); It Must Be Love/The Spirit Of Loneliness (Alon 9027 in 1965); It's For You/ This Is For You My Love (Alon 9031 in 1966); If You Love Her/Sinner Girl (Sansu 462 in 1967); and Foolish Man/Don't Give Up Love (Mor Soul 007 in 1968).
Tracks 12, 13, and 14 are from a rare LP issued in 1984 as Bandy 70018 titled simply "benny Spellman." That same album also had In The Night, Bye Bye Blackbird and Anywhere You Go, which are not in this volume.
Apparently after leaving the music business in the 1970s he worked as a beer salesman in his native Pensacola. In 2009 he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, just two years before death from respiratory failure on June 3, 2011.
Even with the noted omissions, this release, with its much-improved sound quality over the Collectables volume, not to mention the informative liner notes written by Clive Richardson, is THE definitive Benny Spellman anthology on CD.