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Having had a massive male vocal career with Mercury Records throughout the Fifties & Sixties, Brook Benton's stay at the wonderful Atlantic label for the late Sixties and early Seventies produced a run of good albums that achieved only moderate chart positions and are all but forgotten now - and criminally so. Possessed of the most fantastically deep and expressive voice, he could sing anything from Sinatra's "My Way" to Elton John's "Country Comforts" - and he usually gave them his own soul/funky/gospel stamp. This cool little UK/Europe compilation is a great way into that.

Celebrating 60 years of Atlantic (stickered as such on the jewel case and printed on the black & red label), this 20-track June 2007 Rhino set is part of a large series of budget-priced compilations offering generous amounts of classic music for peanuts money. The 4-page inlay is only adequate as you can imagine, and offers no real discography or history - so here's a detailed breakdown on what's on offer (75:14 minutes)...

Brook Benton's 5 US Atlantic/Cotillion albums were:
"Do Your Own Thing", USA July 1969 LP on Cotillion SD-9002
(No Tracks)
"Brook Benton Today", USA February 1970 LP on Cotillion SD-9018
(CD Tracks 1, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16)
"Home Style", USA August 1970 LP on Cotillion SD-9028
(CD Tracks 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)
"The Gospel Truth", USA June 1971 LP on Cotillion SD-058
(No Tracks)
"Story Teller", USA 1972 LP on Atlantic SD-9050
(CD Tracks 2, 4, 17, 18, 19 and 20)

As you can see from the track allocation above, having no songs at all from "Do Your Own Thing" or "The Gospel Truth" is a huge disappointment. But the 20 tracks we do get from the other 3 are welcome - especially the six from "Story Teller" which are new to CD. A small US label called DBK Works put out "...Today/Home Style" as 2LPs on 1CD in 2004, but that's now hard to find and pricey - so for both the die-hard fan and the casual buyer, "Platinum" is an extremely inexpensive way of accessing rare music from a lesser-documented period of Benton's amazing career.

Having had a chart hit with his superbly soulful version of Tony Joe White's "Rainy Night In Georgia", it's not surprising that he covered three more of his tunes - "For Lee Ann", "Aspen Colorado" and "Willie And Laura Mae Jones". The "Rainy Night..." soundalike "For Lee Ann" features CISSY HOUSTON on almost operatic vocals while the mellow and languid style of "Aspen Colorado" suited Benton's style so well.

A real gem here, however, is the wonderful self-penned "Let Me Fix It", a slinky and sexy soul song, which features THE DIXIE FLYERS on Horns and Keyboards and Cissy Houston on witty Duet vocals. It turned up in 2001 on the Atlantic compilation "Right On! Vol.3" (aimed directly at those who like break beats and grooves) and sent many soul fans back into second-hand record shops in London trying to find his LPs!

Most of the sessions were produced by ace arranger ARIF MARDIN and many of the tracks also feature THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS on Backing Vocals.

Although it doesn't state 'remastered' anywhere - it's presumed being Rhino that they are because the sound is wonderful throughout - a little hissy in a few places - but nothing that would detract.

What's needed of course is a Brook Benton Rhino Handmade Limited Edition BOX SET covering all 5 of his albums, the 7" singles and hopefully even some tasty unreleased stuff (there's bound to be some and I'll bet it's good too). Whether that's commercially viable or not is another matter.

In the meantime, this budget-priced remastered compilation is stunning value for money and makes available music that is increasingly hard to find now on original vinyl.

A voice and a talent you need to rediscover - highly recommended.

PS: the other Atlantic artists in "The Platinum Collection" series are: LaVern Baker (see REVIEW), Archie Bell & The Drells (see REVIEW), Booker T & The M.G.'s, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Clarence Carter (see REVIEW), The Clovers (see REVIEW), Arthur Conley (see REVIEW), Don Covay, The Detroit Spinners, Eddie Floyd, King Curtis, Barbara Lewis (see REVIEW), The Mar-Keys, The Persuasions, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge (see REVIEW), Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, (Big) Joe Turner (see REVIEW) and Betty Wright
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on 17 March 2012
A Rainey Night in Georgia has been a firm favourite of mine for many years and I don't know why I waited so long to explore Brook Benton's music more. This album is full of hidden treasure. As a Cream fan I particularly liked Born Under a Bad Sign. Best music buy of the year so far for me.
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on 25 May 2011
I discovered Brook Benton through a list I was collecting. What a nice surprise. Quality always wins in the end and this man has a quality voice.
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After Nat 'King' Cole, Brook Benton had the silkiest, most mellow voice of all the twentieth century jazz/soul/pop crooners. Both were born in the southern States, Cole in Alabama, Benton in South Carolina in 1931, dying in 1988 at the far too early age of 56.
The evocative songwriting skills of Tony Joe White must have been a boon to Benton, since he not only recorded the very best version of Rainy Night in Georgia (a desert island disc for me) but several others too, which are included here - and they're all marvellous.
This is a perfect compilation for those like me who want the soulful and less obviously pop-jazz side of B.B. In fact, many of the tracks are so dripping with sinuous soul that you feel lazy and hazy just listening to them.
One or two of his readings of others' songs are fascinatingly unusual, for example his version of Dylan's meditative early classic Don't Think Twice It's Alright, and Elton John & Bernie Taupin's Country Comfort, perfectly suited to his insinuating baritone.
There are so many priceless performances - invariably with appropriately subtle arrangements - on this generous twenty-track selection. And boy, could this man sing!
My only regret is the inclusion of yet another version of My Way, a clunky and arrogant song I've always disliked. Why did so many singers feel the need to record it, from Benton to Nina Simone?
But he does a great version of the blues standard Born Under a Bad Sign, and a tender Save the Last Dance For Me, which even won over this Drifters fan. There's also the wonderful Joe South song Don't It Make You Want To Go Home, another definitive version by Benton.
All in all, if you like B.B. you'll love these songs, and if you're new to this unique singer, I'd say this is the compilation to have.

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on 2 September 2012
I agree wholeheartedly with all the reviews. This period of Brook Benton's career produced some absolute gems. His version of Born Under a Bad Sign is the best version I have ever heard of this much covered classic. The Dixie Flyers are irresistable, particularly Charlie Freeman's guitar. He shows every other guitarist just how this song should be played. This record is a must have bargain.
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on 10 November 2013
The best release this century - that's about as enthusiastic as one can get,wouldn't you think?!
I fell in love with 'Rainy night in Georgia' over 40 years ago,when I was just a teenager. And have loved his music ever since. For me,his Atlantic recordings are the pinnacle of his career. Standout tracks include 'Aspen, Colorado', 'Shoes', 'Willoughby Grove' and 'Rainy night.'
You can still find his vinyl albums on a well-known auction site. 'Something for everyone' being the warmest,most relaxing album in my whole collection.
As for 'His Platinum collection' - it is simply wonderful. And that says it all.
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on 9 May 2012
Brook Benton...this man has one of the greatest voices that has ever taken breath, his incredible vocal range, phrasing and interpretation with every song he sings is truly unique,just listen to "Can't take my eyes off you"and"I've gotta be me"to tell you what i mean,smooth as silk,he is also a favourite of many other great singers,past and present...including,Elvis,Tom Jones and Whitney Houston,(a testament),this is the man at his supreme best,with some of his latter day recordings, a superb album...R.I.P.Brook and thank you...from a pro singer and a life long fan.
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on 17 March 2013
Brook Benton has a really great deep voice. Lovely soulful music and easy to listen to in quiet moments or as background music.
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on 9 May 2013
great singer excellent songs what a combination good listening lots of people do not know what a singer he is
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on 7 May 2016
what a voice... recalls" that certain era"
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