Mon. Sep. 20, 2021

George Benson – The World Is A Ghetto

Most Wanted! George Benson – The World Is A Ghetto (Warner Bros.)

No matter what, music is first and foremost a matter of perception. And from it will depend your aptitude to make it yours. Be it an original take, but maybe even more a cover version for a recording artist. As and edit or a remix for a DJ/producer. Take George Benson’s 1977 ‘In Flight’ album for instance. There we have nothing but 3 cover versions. From ‘Nature Boy’ which Eden Ahbez wrote for Nat King Cole back in 1947. To ‘Everything Must Change’ which Benard Ighner first sang on Quincy Jones‘ 1974 ‘Body Heat’ album. Then what about ‘The World Is A Ghetto’?!?

‘The World Is A Ghetto’ is most definitely a quintessential gem in the history of Soul/Jazz music. Beginning with Californian Funk fusion band War who topped the U.S. charts with their 1972 album of the likes. With the latter standing as both Billboard‘s Album of the Year and the best-selling album of 1973. But also George Benson who most likely turned it into one of his biggest classics 4 years after. Meanwhile establishing his unique way of scatting along with his Ibañez guitar as a signature…

Besides, how to not neither highlight its stellar production??? Featuring luminaries such as Harvey Mason, Phil Upchurch, Ronnie Foster and Ralph McDonald along with an orchestra under the direction of Claus Ogerman.

This just has no equivalent. Don’t you think?

What’s the value of your vinyl record?

Much of a prodigy, Pittsburgh, PA-born George Benson started playing ukulele in a corner drug store where he got paid a few Bucks at the early age of 7. A year later, he would play guitar in an unlicensed nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights before it got closed down by the police. Two years after, he released his first single record – ‘She Makes Me Mad’ – on RCA-Victor as Little Georgie

He got to prominence in the 60’s playing Soul/Jazz with organist Jack McDuff, before launching his own career, evolving from Jazz to R&B. He defined what would become a unique signature style along the years. A style which one can summarize as singing and scatting in collusion with his unique kind of play inspired by Gypsy Jazz. As if his voice and guitar (an Ibañez) were coming together as one…

The mid-70’s happened to be a turning point for him. Beginning with his arrival on Warner. His partnership with producer Tommy LiPuma, and the release of ‘Breezin’, his debut-LP for the label. An album which marked the beginning of his most successful period commercially speaking. It eventually got him to win a Grammy Award for “Record Of The Year” in 1977. Meanwhile it was also nominated for “Song Of The Year” and for “Best Pop Vocal Performance (Male)”, spawning 2 hit singles: its title song and ‘This Masquerade’.

From then, Benson would embark on an continuous series of successes. Delivering classics such as ‘Nature Boy’, ‘The World Is A Ghetto’ and ‘Give Me The Night’. But also ‘Love Ballad’ or ‘Love X Love’ among others. And eventually working with Masters At Work in the mid-90’s on cuts such as ‘You Can Do It’, ‘Song For My Brother’ and ‘El Barrio’.

The man eventually resurfaced by the end of 2015 with Little Anthony on ‘Electric Together’. With the latter soon after receiving remixing work courtesy of Nigel Lowis.

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