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It is no exaggeration to state that Freddie King was one of the greatest blues performers ever, but do we really need a tribute album? Well, Benny Turner is Freddie’s younger brother and played bass with the big man in the 50s, 60s and 70s (though not continuously). He was also a recording artist in his own right, beginning in the early 60s. So this is no simple cash-in, though you would gather that from listening to this excellent release anyway. Benny has many of Freddie’s vocal mannerisms (and he doesn’t overdo that hint of a growl) and that easy familiarity with the music makes listening to this album a real pleasure - plus it helps that the songs themselves are so good. Listen to ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ for an excellent example (and check out engineer/ co-producer Jack Miele’s lead guitar work – other guitarists involved on the eleven tracks include June Yamagishi, scared steel ace Roosevelt Collier, and Carolyn Wonderland and Benny himself – and all really excel. Recorded in Louisiana, Chicago soul man Otis Clay and New Orleans legend Marva Wright (a long term employer of Benny’s) help out on ‘I’m Tore Down’, and besides her excellent guitar work on ‘Mojo Boogie’, Carolyn Wonderland also supplies backing vocals for ‘Wee Wee Baby’. To sum up briefly, this is a wonderful, classy release – blues albums this good don’t come along too often. So, the answer to my question in that first sentence is a resounding “Yes!”
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