George Benson – The Ultimate Collection

ARTIST: George Benson             bensonult

TITLE:  The Ultimate Collection

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 10: This Masquerade (#10 US, #3 R&B), The Greatest Love of All (#24 US, #2 R&B, #27 UK), On Broadway (#7 US, #2 R&B), Love Ballad (#18 US, #2 R&B, #29 UK), Give Me the Night (#4 US, #1 R&B, #7 UK), Love X Love (#61 US, #9 R&B, #10 UK), Turn Your Love Around (#5 US, #1 R&B, #29 UK), Inside Love (#43 US, #3 R&B, #57 UK), In Your Eyes (#7 UK), Let’s Do It Again (#8 R&B, #56 UK)


LINEUP: George Benson + Session Players galore

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Ultimate” collection is only for his pop and R&B sides, not his vastly superior jazz selections. Just a bunch of chart pablum.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I’ve given up on reviewing all of the pop George Benson albums separately – they’re basically the same. It’s all goop for the masses that only is differentiated by the scatting of the guitar solos that Benson does on several tracks.

This was popular as smooth jazz for a while. Benson is a talented guitarist and a very fluid jazz player, but his pop and R&B sensibilities ran to the very safe and timid, really. Yeah, some sound good on the radio but they’re just, well, flaccid when compared to his jazz work.

I don’t know, really. I’m disappointed that he turned to so many formulaic love songs in his pop career. At least he’s got jazz guitar, he can still play that. Go find those records.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: I had no idea…none…that “The Greatest Love of All” was originally performed by George Benson. I only knew it as a Whitney Houston song. But here it is. It’s the main theme of the movie The Greatest, which was a biopic of Muhammad Ali released in 1977.


GRADE: D+: There are only a couple of songs I really like that aren’t just nostalgia trips. It’s a worse grade than I gave his other two albums because the hits just became worse and worse. If you like Benson, be my guest, but there’s no jazz here, except if you coun’t “Breezin’”

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