27 September 2023


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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Benny Turner, Nola Blue records 2014.

Journey is the second album of Benny Turner’s that I’ve reviewed as a retrospective of his work.

Benny, the younger brother of Freddie King, has carved out an impressive career of his own and the one album of his that is often referenced is Journey.

Journey is comprised of ten original tracks including treasures passed down to Benny as a boy.

His mother was Ella May (King) Turner and his uncle was Leon King, both respected blues musicians; As Benny traces the road of his journey in music, he pays tribute to these two fundamentally important inspirations.

Ella’s song is My Mother’s Blues, a southern acoustic track, and his uncle’s song is My Uncle’s Blues (Fannie May).

Benny has a large kitbag of musical styles to choose from when writing his songs.

He moves effortlessly between doo-wop, rhythm & blues, gospel, soul and various blues styles in telling his story.

There’s the Chicago blues of I Wanna Give it To You Baby through to the slow boogie of My Uncle’s Song (Fannie May) and the equally slow blues of Voodoo Lady, it’s all there on this beautifully understated album.

Because of Benny’s versatility Journey was described as a musical jumbo when it was released on his 75th birthday. A jumbo it may be but it’s a tasty and impressive one.

The opening song from the disc, Breakin’ News was a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition of 1975.

Journey is a laidback album, produced by a man who is supremely comfortable and confident in his mastery of his craft.

Unlike the previously reviewed When She’s Gone there are no guest vocalists on this album.

It’s all Benny and it’s a pleasure to hear his smooth renditions of his songs.

Worn Out Woman is a tribute to the powerful women in his life.

“A man works to a set time but a woman’s work is never done” he sings bringing that old truism to life.

The final track on the disc is What’s Wrong With The World Today, although it was written back in 2014, it is particularly relevant to the current epidemic of gun deaths, most notably amongst the coloured population, occurring in the USA today.

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