Album Releases Album Reviews CD Releases

George Benson – ‘Walking To New Orleans’ – Review

Released by: Mascot Label Group / Provogue

Release Date: 26th April 2019

Genre:  Rock n’ Roll



1. Nadine
2. Ain’t That A Shame
3. Rockin’ Chair
4. You Can’t Catch Me
5. Havana Moon
6. I Hear You Knockin’
7. Memphis Tennessee
8. Walkin’ To New Orleans
9. Blue Monday
10. How You’ve Changed

I’ve preached for years as a “journalist” and a music lover that diversity is key. This is why my tastes cover an eclectic cross section of music. My regular readers may be shocked to learn that I have an affinity for some Jazz musicians. Of course with my love of Zappa who released some quintessential jazz music in his progressive world is it that big of a surprise to fathom? My tastes for Jazz tend to be more towards the guitar side of it and mostly fusion style (think Di Meola, McLaughlin, and Methany for starters,) but one guy that has always caught my ear over the years is George Benson. He’s more of a smooth, old school style Jazz player, but his sound has always appealed to me. When given the chance to review his new album I leapt at the opportunity sight unseen (sound unheard) of what it consisted of.

When I delved into Walking To New Orleans I realised immediately that it wasn’t necessarily going to be a straight Jazz venture. It’s actually a collection of classic tracks from Chuck Berry and Fats Domino given the Benson treatment. Chuck Berry’s guitar accomplishments alone throughout his career are why he is held in such high regard and considered an influence on countless players. Fats Domino, one of the biggest R&B artists around, might seem a stretch for the Jazz great to tackle as Fats is a piano player, but Benson with his smooth licks and velvet voice do both Berry and Domino justice. None of the songs are too far removed from the originals, though given a bit more swing- with the guitar being a bit more precise. Despite such straight covers you can hear the obvious influence both Rock & Roll/R&B pioneers have had on this six string legend. Benson gives each the proper respect they are due.

Though Walking To New Orleans seems like just a simple homage to his heroes, it shows another side of George Benson. There’s no major ground broke here, but honestly there doesn’t need to be. Benson has already proved himself to be in a league of his own. Sometimes a musician wants to pay his/her respects to the artists that inspired them, and Benson does it with panache and skill as one would expect. This album does exactly what it set out to do: allow him to play some songs he’s loved giving it his own swing and showing that Jazz and Rock/R&B aren’t really that different from one another after all.

Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Chris Martin

My Global Mind – Senior Staff Writer

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