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BENNY TURNER – My Brother’s Blues (Nola Blue NBL004)


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!”

Norman Darwen

www.bennyturner.com

www.nolablue.com

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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