Twitter. Facebook. Youtube. Myspace.

Welcome to Black Sheep Magazine

Featuring music news, hip hop, R&B and Soul music interviews, album reviews and exclusive competitions.

Join the flock today!

Login. Register.

New videos from Truth By Design, The Doppelgangaz and Masta Ace... Continue>

Rainy Night In Georgia: The Complete Reprise & Cotillion Singles A's & B's

Artist: Brook Benton

Label: Real Gone

By Charles Waring | 22 August 2016

Between 1959 and 1970, resonant-voiced South Carolina crooner, Brook Benton (real name was Benjamin Franklin Peay) hit a fertile purple patch, notching up thirty-two US R&B chart entries, including seven numbers ones. Six of those were for the Mercury label and included two duets with sassy jazz-blues diva, Dinah Washington in the early '60s. This new 31-track/2-CD collection focuses on Benton's less-heralded post-Mercury stints at Reprise (1967-1968), the label that Frank Sinatra founded in 1960, and Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary (1968-1972).

Listening to the six tunes that Benton cut at Reprise, it's no surprise that the singer failed to score any substantial hits there. The country-tinged MOR of 'Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got),' a droll, suicidal ballad produced by Jimmy Bowen, is the best of the bunch but stylistically it seems anachronistic and dated by 1967 standards. Once he got to Cotillion, Benton made some better, less saccharine, records that were more in tune with the times. That's mainly due to the influence of ace producer, Arif Mardin, who recorded the singer at Muscle Shoals in Alabama, where a southern soul influence rubbed off on him. The excellent slow ballad, 'Nothing Can Take The Place Of You,' was a Top 20 R&B single and paved the way for 1970's 'Rainy Night In Georgia,' an atmospheric Tony Joe White song that became a huge crossover hit in the States, making #1 in the R&B charts and #4 in its pop counterpart (Randy Crawford successfully revived the song in 1981). Its follow-up was Benton's novel spin on the Sinatra-associated song, 'My Way,' for which Arif Mardin masterminded a funked-up backbeat. Though it charted, the song's B-side, 'A Little Bit Of Soap,' has dated better: a superb soulful country-soul ballad take on The Jarmels' original that recaptures the flavour of 'Rainy Night In Georgia.'

During the next two years, Benton  struggled to emulate the success of 'Rainy Night...' though the second CD in this retrospective illustrates that the singer together with producer Arif Mardin kept persevering. He recorded a clutch of cuts in Miami with the soulful ensemble, the Dixie Flyers, as his backing band. It was a collaboration that yielded some good sides - among them the plaintive 'Don't It Make You Want To Go Home,' the slightly funkafied 'Shoes' - co-written by noted soul man, Don Covay - and the gospel-powered 'Let Me Fix It' featuring vocal adlibs from Cissy Houston.

There's a church flavour, too, on Benton's meditative cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Heaven Help Us All' while 'Let Us All Get Together With The Lord' exhibits an unabashed religious fervour.  There's also a great version of Percy Mayfield's 'Please Send Me Someone To Love,' which gets a slow, bluesy, afterhours makeover. There are also a couple of Christmas songs from 1971 but none of them are turkeys (in fact, 'Soulful Santa' is a terrific Yuletide ditty). They were released by Cotillion as Benton's time at the label wound down. He and the company parted ways in 1972 but, as this fascinating retrospective demonstrates, Brook Benton made some good music, though sadly, much of it fell under the radar of most people.

1 comment

  • Comment Link 21 November 2016 posted by Seo

    insert your data

    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Add comment

Black Sheep.