I have to admit I never expected to review an album by legendary guitarist George Benson. Why? That’s because he’s a jazz guitarist and that’s not a genre Planetmosh covers, but this isn’t a Jazz album – it’s actually more of a Rock and roll album. George Benson pays tribute to two music legends on this album – Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. The album consists of songs by both artists, with the album title being one of Fats Domino’s songs.
The tracks are split evenly with , “Nadine (Is it you)”, “You can’t catch me”, “Havana Moon”, “Memphis Tennessee” and “How you’ve changed” being Chuck Berry songs and the five remaining tracks, “Ain’t that a shame”, “Rockin’ chair”, “I hear you knocking”, “Blue Monday” and “Walking to New Orleans” being Fats Domino songs. As you listen to the album you really can tell whose songs they are even though they’re all performed by the same band here.
Listening to the album has reminded me just how good Fats Domino really was, and made me wonder why I hadn’t got any CDs by him, so that’s a situation that I’ve now rectified. It’s interesting that George Benson has avoided choosing “Blueberry Hill” (arguably the best known Fats Domino song). He has picked “I hear you knocking” though which is a well known one. I actually like it when artists don’t just cover the most popular songs as that way you tend to hear songs you might not know so well. The same goes for the Chuck Berry songs – the obvious hits arent here but the songs that have been chosen are all great choices.
It’s an interesting album for a Jazz guitarist – firstly because it’s not Jazz, but also because many of the songs he’s chosen to cover are more piano driven than guitar oriented. Yes there is guitar here but it’s not something you’re constantly hearing – the piano or the horns often take centre stage. Where the guitar comes to the fore the playing is excellent, but it’s very obvious that this album isn’t about George Benson “Look at what I can do” but instead is him paying tribute to two artists he clearly respects.
It’s an excellent album and it’s great to hear songs by two legendary artists being brought to a modern audience.
“Walking to New Orleans” will be released on 26th April 2019
1. Nadine (Is it you)
2. Ain’t that a shame
3. Rockin’ chair
4. You can’t catch me
5. Havana moon
6. I hear you knocking
7. Memphis, Tennessee
8. Walking to New Orleans
9. Blue Monday
10. How you’ve changed