Anthology Double CD
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George Benson - Anthology - Double Cd
"I loved pretty", says George Benson in a quote included on this attractively packaged anthology's comprehensive liner notes. And really, the great guitarist-singer's penchant for prettiness is the thread that runs through all of his music--from his early cool-bop jazz charts (nicely represented on 1964's "Shadow Dancer" and 1967's vibrant "Ready and Able") to the 1970s chart-toppers ("This Masquerade", "On Broadway", "Turn Your Love Around") and through the Quiet Storm musings of the last two decades. As a guitarist, Benson's ability to arc and shape a melodic phrase has constantly thrilled, especially when these lines are accompanied by his trademark vocal scats. The producers wisely omit some of Benson's later (and schlockier) easy-listening works, and provide us with endearing cuts like a 1968 collaboration with Herbie Hancock on "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (delivered with a down-home, decidedly blues-inflected wail) and inspired works with musical heavies such as rhythm guitarist supreme Phil Upchurch, bassist Ron Carter, organists Jimmy Smith, Lonnie Smith and Aretha Franklin. But the anthology's most delightful inclusion is "Shark Bite", a white-hot acid jazz number that reminds us that Benson could indeed be the grooviest guitarist since the legendary Wes Montgomery. --Sylvia W. Chan
Top Customer Reviews
Included is a colourful and detailed 50 page booklet that covers Benson's life and musical highlights.
Again a must have.
The second CD on the other hand...
Well, it starts well enough, with 'Love Ballad', which remains a fantastic song despite the efforts of the producer to screw it up. And then it all goes wrong. The remainder of the songs are either a) mawkish, sentimental rubbish or b) smooth jazz. Smooth jazz, for those who don't know, is just like real jazz but with the feeling removed and replaced by an obsession with perfection and smooth, slick, and utterly intolerable production. Think Kenny G. Think pain. These are songs with names such as 'Mt. Airy Road' and 'Love All The Hurt Away'. If you are looking for a soundtrack to seduce mid-thirties divorcees with over a £7 bottle of wine from the local Tescos, this is perfect. The real low point of this disk, however, is the astonishingly dreadful version of the Beatle's soulful classic 'The Long And Winding Road'. If you have the occasion, listen to them both one after the other. This is surely a crime against art.
Also worth mentioning is the obligatory brown-nosing biography that accompanies every compilation that is released these days. It has some nice pictures, and adds nicely to the weight of the CD case. Just don't bother reading it.
So, a word of advice- by all means, buy this compilation for the quality of the first CD, and then dispose of the second CD.Read more ›