NUMBERS WEEK (MARCH 14-20, 2011)
Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD.
George Benson started off as a jazz guitarist in the '60s and, by 1985, had become a pop vocalist. There's little of his guitar playing on this CD and that's a shame, but you can't really blame him and his record company for trying to get some money from pop music consumers. This recording puts Benson with some of the most popular studio musicians (Steve Lukather, Richard Tee, Nathan East) and pop songwriters (Michael Sembello, Michael Masser & Linda Creed) of the time. It sounds a lot like a Al Jarreau release.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #45 (Feb 16, 1985)
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #3
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #20
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #25
Tracks: No One Emotion is a good pop opener. Please Don't Walk Away sounds almost exactly like Benson's 1981 hit Turn Your Love Around. Soaring ballads are here: Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, New Day, and You Are The Love Of My Life. There's a great take on the standard Beyond The Sea including a fantastic big band arrangement and, finally, a Benson solo. How Benson can sing his solo while he plays it just amazes me. The title track is a guilty pleasure for me. It's synthesized bass, drum machine, and DSX sequencing date the track, but in a good way (if that makes any sense). It's kinda like seeing a pair of parachute pants and chuckling to yourself while shaking your head. Plus, the track has another Benson guitar solo (it's the only non-synthesized instrument on the track). Stand Up is a nice, jazzy instrumental track where Benson gets to stretch out a little.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: The cheesy, polished production of this music reminds me of pop music and the pop culture of 1985. Pound puppies, Miami Vice, big hair, The Cosby Show, Care Bears, Bloom County, etc. Me in '85? Mullet and an earring. All photographic evidence has been destroyed.