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Benny Turner - Blue And Not So Blue / A Tribute To My Brother Freddie King (2009/2012)

11-06-2016, 22:24
Music | Blues

Title: Blue And Not So Blue / A Tribute To My Brother Freddie King
Year Of Release: 2009/2012
Label: Nola Blue Inc.
Genre: Texas Blues
Quality: 320 kbps
Total Time: 89:47
Total Size: 239 MB

1. GI Homesick Blues (3:36)
2. Remember (6:37)
3. Because Of You (5:17)
4. I Can't Leave (3:22)
5. So Deep (6:46)
6. If I Can't Have You (4:41)
7. Have You Ever Been So Lonesome (5:58)
8. Pity On This Lovesick Fool (3:43)
9. Going Home Tomorrow (4:32)
10. She Call Me King Bee (4:57)

Benny Turner – Vocals, Bass
Dr. John – Piano

A veteran musician of more than fifty years, Benny Turner has played everywhere from the Chitlin’ Circuit, to Europe, Japan, Australia, and all points in between. Content to be a sideman in support of the many giants he has worked with, in 2010 the time came for Benny to take his rightful place in the spotlight on center stage, to the delight of blues fans worldwide.

Born in Gilmer, Texas, Benny and his older brother, blues legend Freddie King, learned to play guitar from their mother, Ella Mae (King) Turner and her brothers Leon and Leonard King. While Freddie was captivated by the guitar and wanted to be a performer, Benny just enjoyed the music and the opportunities to share it with the older brother he admired and adored. The boys used to race home from school to catch the last few minutes of a radio show called “In the Groove,” where they heard the music of artists such as Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, Hank Williams, and T-Bone Walker.

After the family moved to Chicago in the early 50’s, what began as parallel exposure and experiences for the brothers ultimately diverged as Freddie went in one direction and Benny pursued other opportunities that came his way. While best known today as a bass player, Benny played guitar during many of his gigs in the early years, both locally in Chicago and on the road. A last-minute request to sit in with Freddie’s band to cover for Robert Elem at the Squeeze Club gave Benny his first introduction to playing bass, with some “on-the-job training” at its finest!

During the late 50’s Benny played guitar with gospel group The Kindly Shepherds, and is on a handful of their recordings for the Nashboro label (guitar and background vocals) from that time. He was also playing bass with Freddie King at legendary Chicago clubs such as the Squeeze Club and Walton’s Corner. While at Walton’s Corner, Benny met R&B singer Dee Clark, and was invited to join him on the road. Within a few days, his first exposure to touring and life on the road began, at none other than The Apollo Theater in New York, and continued at other legendary theaters including The Uptown Theater in Philadelphia, The Howard Theater in Washington DC and The Regal Theater in Chicago. Benny played in the band with Phil Upchurch, and cherishes their friendship to this day. It was an exciting time, during which Dee had his Billboard hit “Raindrops” (1961).

While on the road, Benny met Leroy Crume and Richard Gibbs, of the Soul Stirrers, and was invited to join their tour. At that time, electric bass was unheard of in gospel music and it was controversial within the band, but the group’s manager, Jesse Farley, recognized his potential contribution and hired Benny. That pioneering move laid the groundwork and inspiration for the gospel music of today, in which bass guitar plays an integral role.

By the mid-to-late 60’s Benny returned to Chicago, where he continued to play locally in various bands and also made a handful of his own recordings for the Leaner Brothers’ One-Derful and M-Pac! Labels. Not long after that, Benny re-joined his brother on the road, when the band was living every musician’s dream, playing at major festivals (domestic and international) and on the same bill as artists including Dionne Warwick, BB King, Solomon Burke, Eric Clapton and even opening for Grand Funk Railroad at Madison Square Garden in New York. While at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1973, members of Freddie’s band were asked to sit in with Memphis Slim, and Benny plays bass on the recording of that act, “Memphis Slim – Very Much Alive and in Montreux.” Mickey Baker was part of that performance.

In December 1976, the dream became a nightmare. Benny lost his band mate, best friend and big brother all at once, after Freddie’s untimely passing at age 42. Completely devastated and physically debilitated by the unspeakable loss, Benny spent the next two years as a recluse, trying to make it from hour to hour, day after day. Finally, when Chicago bluesman Mighty Joe Young approached him, Benny gathered the courage to face the stage once again. With barely enough strength or stamina to make it through that first gig, Benny pushed forward, and it was the catalyst to getting him back on his feet and into the mainstream of the blues once again. One of the highlights of their time together was appearing in the 1981 film “Thief” while playing live at The Wise Fools Pub. After eight fantastic years on the road together, Mighty Joe had to stop touring due to health issues, and Benny planned his next move.

Heading to New Orleans was the next significant turning point for Benny. There, he met Marva Wright, “Blues Queen of New Orleans.” He joined the band and served as Marva’s bandleader and bass player for more than twenty years. Internationally recognized beyond the borders of New Orleans, Marva Wright and the BMW’s played all over the world in addition to being mainstays of the French Quarter music scene. In 2010, Marva passed away and Benny lost a cherished friend and bandmate, once again.

In recent years, Benny returned to the studio to produce and record three albums, showcasing his strong and soulful vocals, his signature bass style and his creative songwriting and arrangement skills. His 2011 release, "A Tribute to my Brother Freddie King," is a collection of some of his most memorable songs of his brother. In 2014, an album of all original work was released with his critically-acclaimed CD, "Journey," an homage to his musical history. Embraced by the soul and blues communities alike, Benny has enjoyed success on both the Roots Music Report and Living Blues charts with "When She's Gone" (February 2016). A collection of 6 original reissues from his first album, "Blue and Not So Blue," (now out of print) and 4 blues standards, "When She's Gone" is a musical feast dedicated to Ella Mae King Turner, the woman who raised two blues legends, the late Freddie King and little brother Benny.

Benny Turner - Blue And Not So Blue / A Tribute To My Brother Freddie King (2009/2012)

1. Boogie Man (3:29)
2. Let The Good Times Roll (4:52)
3. Have You Ever Loved A Woman (5:45)
4. Goin' Down (3:54)
5. You Can Run But You Can't Hide (3:24)
6. Same Old Blues (4:46)
7. Me And My Guitar (4:00)
8. Tore Down (3:56)
9. Lowdown In Lodi (3:07)
10. Hideaway (2:56)

When it comes to Freddie King, I consider myself twice blessed. It was a real pleasure to play the blues with him for the many, many years we shared the stage. As wonderful as that was, having him as my big brother was even better!

Our mother and uncles were a great inspiration to Freddie and me as we grew up hearing their singing and guitar playing. Even as a kid, Freddie knew he wanted to be a musician. We used to race home from school to catch the last fifteen minutes of the daily show "In the Groove" on our old 'sometimes' radio - sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't! Our favorite artists of the day were Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. When my father told Freddie that the people he worked for had an old guitar they would give him if he worked for it, Freddie jumped at the opportunity! It meant working in a Texas slaughterhouse, which wasn't pretty, but Freddie got to work and earned himself that guitar!

The idea for this tribute CD began a number of years ago, and much of the work was done before Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit, like so many of the places in New Orleans, the recording studio was flooded. Thanks to the efforts of Marc Hewitt of Sound Services Studio, our hard work was preserved when he rescued the recordings and evacuated to Florida. Post-hurricane recovery in New Orleans has been a long and uphill battle, but we were finally able to pick up the pieces and resume work on this project once again. This CD is long overdue and I am pleased to be able to share it, at last!

Rather than trying to play like Freddie on this CD (because there is only one Freddie King), I wanted to celebrate him in my own way by choosing some of the songs we liked and also using techniques I've learned over the years. I've been fortunate to play with legendary soul, blues and gospel groups, including Dee Clark and The Original Soul Stirrers. Freddie and I both loved the harmonies used in gospel music, but there hasn't been much of that style used in blues. One exception is The O'Neal Twins who backed Freddie on his recording of "Trouble in Mind" which we both loved. I thought it would be fitting to incorporate some of those harmonies into my arrangements on this CD.

A few of the tracks I selected deserve special mention. When we originally played "Hideaway" there was a break we used which didn't make it onto the Federal recording. I decided to include it on this CD, since it's the way we first put the song together. Marva Wright's vocals on "Tore Down" are her last CD appearance before her passing in 2010. "Lowdown in Lodi" was a favorite of Freddie's. He and I had a great time when we toured with John Fogerty and Credence Clearwater Revival.

Freddie was taken away from us too soon but his music continues to live on. I'm so proud that Freddie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012! He was the entry into the "Early Influence" category which recognizes his contributions to modern electric blues. He has finally taken his place beside many giants whose careers were shaped by Freddie's influence. It is an honor to present this CD in loving tribute to my brother, Freddie King.

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Blue And Not So Blue
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A Tribute To My Brother Freddie King
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