Personnel: George Benson (vocals, guitar, electric guitar); Phil Upchurch (guitar, electric bass, percussion); Earl Klugh (guitar); Margaret Ross (harp); Paul Tobias , Frank Levy, Seymour Barab, Jesse Levy, Charles McCracken (cello); Raymond Beckenstein, Phil Bodner (flute, clarinet, English horn); Ronnie Cuber (saxophone, baritone saxophone); Frank Foster (tenor saxophone); Waymon Reed, Jon Faddis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Alan Rubin, Joe Shepley, Blue Mitchell, John Frosk (trumpet); Jim Buffington (French horn); Garnett Brown, Warren Covington, Wayne Andre (trombone); Paul Faulise (bass trombone); Kenny Barron (piano); Alan Schulman (celesta); Harold Mabern (electric piano); Clarence Palmer, Lonnie Liston Smith (organ); Marion Booker, Jack DeJohnette, Jimmy Lovelace, Ray Lucas, Steve Gadd , Charlie Persip (drums); Albert Nicholson, Michael Cameron (percussion).
Liner Note Author: Gordon Barnes.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Arrangers: Don Sebesky; Pee Wee Ellis.
This is one of the most useful multi-disc packages that reissues album titles under their own sleeves. The German wing of Sony BMG has taken it upon themselves to reissue five classic album titles together in their remastered and extended versions in a single slipcase. In the United States this is done sloppily, where early versions, and not remastered versions, are slipped into boxes just to get rid of stock. This is not the case here, and in George Benson's situation in particular, it is actually quite useful. Benson recorded a couple of titles for Columbia in 1965 with John Hammond and Creed Taylor; the latter left shortly thereafter to start his CTI venture with A&M and took Benson with him. This box compiles the expanded versions of both of Benson's Columbia titles, It's Uptown and The George Benson Cookbook, with three of his early CTI dates including Beyond the Blue Horizon, Body Talk, and Bad Benson. It would have been perfect if they'd been able to sub White Rabbit in there for either of the first two CTI releases, but picking that baby up will only set you back about ten bucks anyway. These records sound great, most of them are great, and what's more, if you are smart as a consumer, you can score them online for a deeply discounted price that comes out to six or seven dollars a disc -- even including shipping, and some retailers ship free if you spend over 25 bucks or so anyway. In other words, these are cheaper than their domestic counterparts and look nicer because of higher-grade paper used in production. ~ Thom Jurek