Benny Turner – Journey | Album Review

bennyturnercdBenny Turner – Journey

Nola Blue, Inc. 

CD: 10 Songs; 40:55 Minutes

Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Electric Blues

Being the relative of an icon in any profession is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, that relative has such a connection to a famous counterpart that s/he can use it to personal advantage and self-promotion. On the other hand, it’s extremely difficult to get out of that counterpart’s shadow. Fans and the general public make comparisons all the time, whether favorable or not. This can be a burden for the one who’s trying to succeed in the field that s/he shares with a legend.  Benny Turner, the brother of Freddie King, continues to do this on his spectacular third album. According to his website, “Freddie King always recognized his baby brother’s potential to be a legendary Blues performer. Benny never took it seriously because his brother was the star. Freddie always thought he would have time to make sure Benny was recognized in his own right but time ran out.” Not wanting to lose any more time, Benny has made the world know his name.

Along with Benny on this great CD are guitarists Marc Stone, Charles Moore, and Derwin “Big D” Perkins; keyboard players Keiko Komaki, Tom Worrell and Josh Paxton; background vocalists Deanna Bernard, Ellen Smith, Tara Alexander and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes (who also plays harmonica); second harp player Patrick Williams; drummer Jeffery “Jellybean” Alexander; and a great horn section consisting of Jason Mingledorff on sax, and Barney Floyd and Mark Leuron on trumpet. Together they present ten original songs that sound both contemporary and traditional:

Track 01: “Breakin’ News” – Sometimes people in a relationship can clearly see the end of it coming, but other times it’s a complete ‘news flash’: “No more worrying about you, baby, waiting up all night. I’m here to tell you, baby – I finally got it right. Breaking news, baby: Baby, I’m over you.” Our narrator is a happy man, as shown by the bouncy beat and killer guitar intro. When partners lose each other, they might win.

Track 03: “How I Wish” – Two tracks later, there’s a total turnaround in terms of theme: “So many nights in my solitude, you’ll find me rocking, trying to shake these blues. How I wish you were here, here with me.” Benny Turner harmonizes keenly with himself on the word “wish”, which could be a perfect description of his desire. His absent lover may never return.

Track 06: “Worn Out Woman” – “A man works ‘til the setting sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” Such is the moral of an all-too-common tragedy: “Time to cook dinner for that cranky man. ‘I should have spiked his coffee with a little cayenne,’ she said.” What could have caused this situation in the first place? Maybe the answer lies within a barnyard metaphor in track two, “Don’t You Ride My Mule ….”

Die-hard blues fans will love taking part in Benny Turner’s heartfelt, fulfilling Journey!

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