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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A LOVELY WAY TO SPEND AN EVENING, 28 Jun. 2011
By 
Barry McCanna (Normandy, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This double album is made up of three complete and two partial Mercury LPs from the late 50s/early 60s. The first CD comprises "It's Just a Matter of Time" and "Endlessly" the title tracks of both of which were chart hits in 1959. The tracklisting is misleading insofar as the final two tracks, namely "Moonlight in Vermont" and "It's Been a Long, Long Time" are listed under the "Endlessly" album, although they started the "Songs I Love to Sing" album, the rest of which begins the second CD. "The Two of Us" paired Brook Benton with Dinah Washington, who duetted on four tracks and contributed four solos apiece in addition. Dinah's solos have been omitted, as have the title tracks from the first CD, which reappeared originally on the album "Golden Hits of Brook Benton", which concludes this reissue.

The timbre of Brook Benton's voice was very similar to that of Nat King Cole, but there were subtle differences in their delivery, because Nat had a jazz background whereas Brook had sung in a gospel choir. Brook's style was generally softer, and the balance between his vocals and the orchestral accompaniment is therefore more critical than would be the case with a more forte delivery. On "It's Just a Matter of Time" most of the arrangements have been tailored to featherbed his vocal line, and that collection is beautifully rounded out with his hit single.

Sadly, the arrangements on "Endlessly" by Fred Norman, who also conducted, seem designed to smother Brook's vocals rather than enhance them ("Blue Skies" is a good example), and the end result sounds overblown. The mood is more sympathetic on "Songs I Love to Sing", where the accompaniment was provided by Belford Hendricks, but for the continuing imbalance between vocalist and orchestra, which should have been corrected by the recording engineer. Try the finale of "If You Are But a Dream" as a prime example.

Of the duets with Dinah Washington, "I Do" seems the most successful, but their two voices did not blend convincingly, particularly on "I Believe". It sounds to me more of a sweet and sour combination, and Bob Fisher's liner notes outlines the tensions that existed between the two. The final album presents seven of Benton's chart hits, four from 1959 and three from 1960.

Summing up, I think Brook's voice deserved to be showcased better, but that problem is inherent in the original albums. Leaving that aside, this is an excellent reissue, which has been well remastered, and should appeal to his many fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL SHOWCASE OF BROOK BENTON ALBUMS, 28 Jun. 2011
By 
A. POLLOCK (PLYMOUTH, DEVON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Despite his many hit singles and a number of excellent albums, Brook Benton (1931-1988) did not quite reach the echelons of popularity enjoyed by many of his peers with his early death also contributing to a distinct neglect of his vocal talent. With a repertoire covering all aspects of rock and roll, rhythm and blues and main-stream pop, maybe Benton's all-round versatility (he was also a songwriter) was a disadvantage as he did not easily slot into one particular genre. Besides to many, his vocal timbre was not too far removed from the sound and style of Nat "King" Cole.

Jasmine's excellent two-disc overview concentrates on Benton's album output by presenting three complete albums devoted to The Great American Songbook. IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME released in 1959, is headed by the same-titled US hit (#3) but otherwise features a smooth vocal blending of standards - THE NEARNESS OF YOU, I'M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and THE MORE I SEE YOU. By the same token, ENDLESSLY appeared later the same year with stereo sound added to the mix and BLUE SKIES, A LOVELY WAY TO SPEND AND EVENING and MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT amongst its well-known treasures apart from the album's title number having hit the US Pop Charts at #12 as well as the UK's at #28. The following year saw the release of SONGS I LOVE TO SING which showcased Benton's high-octane update hit, FOOLS RUSH IN (US #24/UK #50) but otherwise concentrated on established chestnuts like LOVER COME BACK TO ME, I'LL BE AROUND and BABY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME.

Those three albums alone are worth the price of this release but tracks from Benton's duet album with jazz-diva Dinah Washington THE TWO OF US (1960) includes their sugar and spice US hit togetherness on BABY (YOU'VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES) and A ROCKIN' GOOD WAY (TO MESS AROUND AND FALL IN LOVE) plus two others, with Benton's solo numbers (CALL ME, NOT ONE STEP BEHIND and two others) but logically omits testy Dinah's solo selections. Finally THE GOLDEN HITS OF BROOK BENTON (1961) features ten songs (including SO MANY WAYS, KIDDEO, WITH ALL MY HEART); omitting the already included (in above albums) IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME and ENDLESSLY.

With notes underlining the singer's career; excellent remastered sound and choice of very collectable albums, this release an essential purchase for those who appreciate the smooth vocal magic of Brook Benton.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brook Benton, 19 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another first class C.D.of Brook.Nearly worn it out by playing it so often.He is one of my favourite singers.I have a few whom I rate as classy singers.He is one of those so is this C.D.
Chris
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted, 29 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Silky Smooth Tones Of Brook Benton (MP3 Download)
this album was just what ai wanted fro a present for my boyfriend. I gave it 4 stars because it wasn't as good as he expected. However, I would recommend it to any Brook Benton Fan
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5.0 out of 5 stars music cd, 9 Jan. 2014
Very good excellent quality will certainly buy more of the same
Don't take my word for it try it yourself good price for this quality
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