Ben E. King

What's Important to Me

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The Atlanta-based Ichiban Records has been a refuge for soul veterans ranging from Curtis Mayfield to Clarence Carter and William Bell. In 1992, the company released this decent but not magnificent effort by Ben E. King. While the ex-Drifter's voice isn't what it was in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, he shows that he can still be charming on a likable cover of the Impressions' "It's Alright" and relaxed, congenial R&B/pop originals like "You've Got All of Me," "So Important to Me" and "She's Gone Again." Those expecting to hear something as outstanding as "Stand By Me" or "Supernatural Thing" will be disappointed -- King is definitely past his prime. But What's Important to Me is far from a bad listen, and the soulster's more hardcore, devoted fans will want this album. More casual listeners, however, would be much better off with Rhino's two-CD King anthology of 1993.

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