Despite his many hit singles and excellent albums, Brook Benton (1931-1988) never reached the highest echelons of popularity, with his early death a contributing to the ultimate downgrading of his vocal promise. Benton's all-embracing coverage of rock and roll, rhythm and blues, main-stream pop and the Great American Songbook also meant he was never pigeon-holed into one musical genre. Fortunately, his neglected repertoire is now reaching CD with this collection of two combined albums being the latest.
THERE GOES THAT SONG AGAIN released in 1962, has the advantage of Quincy Jones and his Orchestra adding a fashionable contemporaneous beat to a dozen standards. WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM, I LOVE PARIS, BREEZIN' ALONG WITH THE BREEZE, BLUES IN THE NIGHT and LET ME SING AND I'M HAPPY are amongst song choices which ultimately benefit from the big band beat.
The same year's SINGING THE BLUES remains true to concept as well as reaching the US album charts at #40 with Brook's co-composed title song also hitting #13 amongst the pop singles. The bluesy mood includes the rhythm and blues styled CHAINS OF LOVE, SEND FOR ME, PLEDGING MY LOVE and a revised blues setting for the popular WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW? amongst the dozen themed songs. Jerry Kennedy and his Orchestra plus The Merry Melody Singers provide the accompaniment. Filling track space are four popular Benton bonus singles headed by the atmospheric WALK ON THE WILD SIDE which was featured on the soundtrack of the same-named film.
Sepia's stereo remastering and presentation are first-rate with Tony Middleton's liner notes providing the necessary background to both albums and singer.