Duster Bennett

Comin' Home: Unreleased & Rare Recordings, Vol. 2 1971-1975

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Following on from the I Choose to Sing the Blues rarities collection, Comin' Home continues the Duster Bennett story from 1971 through until the year before his death in 1976. It was a period that saw Bennett working with a variety of musicians, including Yardbirds founder Top Topham and Jellybread keyboard player Pete Winfield, before he put together his final band lineup of Keith Randall and Richard Ford, but which was also scarred by the absence of a record deal. He recorded regardless, both at home and in the studio, and this set rounds up some of the best of his work. Given the sometimes rough conditions in which this material was recorded, the sound quality is not always the highest of hi-fi experiences. But the strength is in the performance, with Bennett both writing and singing with a depth that few of his boom-era contemporaries were ever able to maintain. He brought those same qualities to his cover versions as well. Anybody who has heard his take on the Kinks' "Act Nice and Gentle" will immediately recognize the same enterprise in the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love," as a somewhat dippy declaration of hippy love'n'peace is transformed to a cracked blues shuffle that is just slow enough to be contemplative. In other words, all you need is love -- but are you gonna get it? Also of note are the two closing tracks, sparse home demos of "Home Comforts" and "My Own Will" that were the last songs Bennett ever wrote. Accompanying himself with delightfully clumsy piano and a loosely strummed guitar, and still stumbling over some of the lyrics, the performances have a spartan charm that would never have survived their transition to the studio, but which encapsulate much of Bennett's charm, regardless.

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