26 September 2023

When She’s Gone

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Benny Turner, Nola Blue Records 2022.

Benny Tuner is the younger brother of the late great Freddie King, the American bluesman and band leader.

Freddie King took his father’s last name while Benny Turner took his mother’s maiden name.

Benny played bass in the Freddie King Band before moving on to play bass for Mighty Joe Young and then becoming a band leader in his own right for Marva Wright for 20 years.

After many years as a sideman he started a solo career.

As part of the Freddie King band Benny played with musicians of the calibre of Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, and Grand Funk Railroad.

He’s played with an impressive array of artists in his career including Memphis Slim, Otis Clay, and Cash McCall and he’s built an enviable reputation as a blues singer, guitarist and bassist of choice.

His list of awards and accolades runs to pages covering everything from songwriting, best blues song and album, lifetime achievement, most outstanding musician (bass) on numerous occasions and the list goes on.

He’s released 22 albums in his career many of them with a variety of other artists including Freddie King, Mighty Joe Young, Otis Clay, Marva Wright, and Memphis Slim.

Four of his last five albums have appeared under his own name with the last one, Going Back Home, attributed to himself and Cash McCall.

When She’s Gone was originally released in 2016 and it’s been rereleased as part of a retrospective of his career to correspond with his 83 years on earth.

The ten-track album includes a mix of originals and covers sung by guest vocalists such as Charles Brown doing So Deep andBlack Night, Marva Wright singingPity On This Lovesick Fool, and Bob Margolin doing Ain’t No Sunshine and Reconsider Baby, while Benny himself sings the remaining 5 cuts.

When She’s Gone is a wonderful album that displays exactly why Benny Turner is so highly regarded.

As a senior statesman of the early blues exponents Benny is in increasingly rare company and I’m pleased that the best of his work is being celebrated.

I’ll review his 2014 rerelease, Journey, in the coming weeks.

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