George Benson

The George Benson Collection

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In order to produce what it thought would be a definitive two-LP retrospective on George Benson, Warner Bros. raided not only its own archives but also those of A&M, Arista, and CTI. For added sales appeal, Warners inserted two new recordings, one of which ("Turn Your Love Around") became another huge hit single, rising to number five on the pop charts. As of 2008, Collection remained the most inclusive Benson sampler, though far from a definitive one due in part to the scarcity of instrumentals. Of course, the big Warner Bros. vocal hits are here ("This Masquerade," "On Broadway," "Give Me the Night"), plus an artistic triumph like "Moody's Mood," but only one WB instrumental ("Breezin'") can be heard. From Arista, it's strictly pop: "The Greatest Love of All" and the duet with Aretha Franklin, "Love All the Hurt Away." The A&M choices "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Here Comes the Sun" could have been better, but the two CTIs, "White Rabbit" and the great "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," are excellent representatives. Unfortunately, when it came time to squeeze Collection onto one CD, Warners in its corporate wisdom chose to delete one cut -- and wouldn't you know, it was "Cast Your Fate"! In other words, hunt for the LPs.

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