Thursday, October 22, 2009

CD of the Day - "George Benson: Tell It Like It Is"

CD of the Day
George Benson: "Tell It Like It Is" (Verve Originals) 2008
Supervised by Harry Weinger & mastered by Kevin Reeves, this new reissue of "Tell It Like It Is" sounds much better than all other six previous CD issues that came out during the 80s and 90s. It's also the first one on digipak format, with art director Hollis King preserving the original cover & liner photos (by Pete Turner) as well as all the credits and the album design by my idol Sam Antupit.
The last Benson album during the A&M/CTI era, before Creed signed him once again for the then-new indepedent CTI, "Tell it like it is” is only 33 minutes long. Recorded in April & May 1969 (at Van Gelder Studios, of course) it's the more r&b-oriented project that the guitarist ever cut for Creed Taylor. It's also his only collaboration with arranger Marty Sheller, famous for his long association with Mongo Santamaria. So, don't be surprised by some latin elements infused on the heavy scores.
The supporting cast features keyboardists Rodgers Grant & Richard Tee, electric bassists Bob Bushnell & Jerry Jemmott (grafado Gerry), drummer Leo Morris (aka Idris Muhammad), percussionists Angel Allende & Johnny Pacheco, plus reedmen Joe Farrell, Sonny Fortune, Bob Porcelli (alto sax-alto solo on the opener, “Soul limbo”), Hubert Laws, Lew Soloff, Jerry Dodgion & Jerome Richradson.
The program ranges from Fats Domino (“Land of 1000 dances”) to Eumir Deodato (“Jackie, All” - dedicated to singer Jackie Cain of Jackie & Roy fame), also including Stevie Wonder (“My cherie amour”). Benson sings on three cuts: “My woman’s good to me,” “Out in the cold again” and the title track, Aaron Neville's soul-hit "Tell It Like It Is."

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