Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Good King Bad
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Featuring: Eric Gale, Steve Gadd, Ronnie Foster, Don Grolnick and Hubert Laws — Following ten years of solo recordings for Columbia, Verve, A&M, and CTI, guitar great George Benson was primed for a breakout, ready to cross ... more »
Featuring: Eric Gale, Steve Gadd, Ronnie Foster, Don Grolnick and Hubert Laws
Following ten years of solo recordings for Columbia, Verve, A&M, and CTI, guitar great George Benson was primed for a breakout, ready to cross over to a much wider audience. The project that set the stage for his pop breakthrough album, Breezin', was his final official release for CTI Records, Good King Bad.
Although Benson had ventured into the R&B territory previously, this marks the first time that he fully integrated his Wes Montgomery-inspired playing into the pop arena. The approach presents a perfect balance between jazz blowing and danceable grooves, announcing the arrival of a major force in pop music.
Similarly Requested CDs
Benson's Last Purely Funky Jazz Release
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 07/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I admit to being a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to the music of George Benson. I hadn't even heard of him until Breezin' burst on the scene. Though I did not care much for his vocals at the time, his guitar wizardry mesmerized me. So when I soon found out he'd been around for awhile, I started exploring his back catalogue and was stunned upon discovering Good King Bad.
GKB is so good, it is an album I still own on vinyl, cassette, and now on CD. I even once owned it on 8-track. There are very few recordings I own in so many formats so that should testify to how vital I think this is.
Since I rarely listen to my albums anymore, I have been watching this site for years for Good King Bad to be reissued on CD. As soon as I discovered it had been, I ordered it immediately and received it within days. Imagine my joy as I put it on and cranked it up!
The best songs here are definitely the Dave Matthews compositions. Theme From Good King Bad is great, One Rock Don't Make No Boulder is better, but Benson really scores a knockout with Siberian Workout. Not only is George Benson spectacular on this tune, its relentless driving rhythm has even a non-dancer like myself wanting to get up and get down. In addition to the Matthews cuts, I also highly enjoy Em.
Where Good King Bad differs from some of Benson's earlier instrumental albums is in the way he plays. While his virtuosity shines thoughout, Benson's play is far more controlled and deliberate than in the pre-GKB past.
Those reading this review may wonder why I give the CD only four stars after praising it so highly. Well, its because of the addition of the vocal Hold On I'm Coming which was not on the original album and which is very much out of place here. Mosaic Records would have done listeners a much bigger favor adding some CTI out-takes or alternate versions of the other songs rather than sticking us with a vocal which is evocative of Benson's rather lame mid-80s and 90s soul crooner output. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the original recording is admittedly short but the last song would have been better off omitted. This song is probably the source of the first reviewer's somewhat negative evaluation of the quality of the album.
Good King Bad is George Benson's last purely funky jazz release before he started to slouch toward the pop/smooth jazz mix that made him famous in the wider world. If you are one of those who love George Benson best when he uses his guitar to sing, then forget about the last song and get this CD anyway. You won't regret it."
The Good King is Bad...
Kevin Buckner | Washington, DC | 06/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We all have our tastes, but if you have trouble with Benson's effort on this set, then ours obviously run counter. George is in fine form and plays with the confidence that comes from not having to show off to impress anyone. The respect he shows to Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, 'Brother' Jack McDuff and Tal Farlow are obvious to me, but hey I'm from the Miles Davis school of less (well-placed) is more. His time, ability to swing and touch are all quite tasty...anyone that can't get into 'Good King Bad' has truly missed the boat.
I've been looking for this one since 1977 and almost fell over when I saw that it was being released on cd. Finally...while he doesn't dominate the set with his flawless technique, there's no doubt who the Alpha is, the Good King is indeed Bad..."
Not typical CTI-era Benson...
Mark J. Miller | Toronto, OH USA | 06/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While the vast majority of George Benson's CTI-era releases are at least worthy - if not outright burnin' - "Good King Bad" isn't one of his better efforts for the label.
While I don't have so much of a problem with attempts at pop crossover, I was disappointed in Benson's playing, which sounds bored, stilted and surprisingly conservative considering his playing on other CTI barnburners, including "Bad Benson," "Beyond the Blue Horizon" and even "Body Talk," which also is obviously aimed at more of a pop audience but is a much better record.
Benson's pop crossover was most successful on "Breezin,'" where he managed to show his considerable jazz guitar chops, get his "pop" vocals on the record and sell a gazillion copies for the effort. It was a record that left both pop and jazz audiences satisfied.
While I've been approving of Mosaic Contemporary's choices so far for its releases of the more "modern" stuff, particularly its reissuing of Benson's "Beyond the Blue Horizon" and Freddie Hubbard's outstanding "Super Blue," I can't quite figure out why Mosaic - a label with unusually pristine judgement - chose to reissue "Good King Bad." It's a pretty mediocre effort for a Mosaic release, and a failure at Benson trying to please two audiences at once. It's neither a good jazz or pop effort.
While I didn't believe the record deserves a two-star review, it doesn't quite reach a three star, either. I would call it a two and one-half.
If you are a fan of Benson's finger-busting guitar chops you will be disappointed with "Good King Bad." I would definitely go for "Beyond the Blue Horizon" or even "George Benson In Concert at Carnegie Hall," also recently reissued by Mosaic and a pleasing effort for fans of Benson's astonishing guitar prowess.
jazzbojesus has spoken.