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Posts Tagged ‘George Benson’

My Buddy Chase in front of the work

Back in the studio after Friday’s opening of Truth and Belief at the Principle Gallery. Without hyperbole, I am saying it was a good show and a good trip. As smooth and easy and satisfying as any of the previous 17 shows there. Just plain good. Good crowd. Good conversations with good people. Good feelings about the work.

So when we left yesterday, I can honestly say I felt pretty good about the whole thing. Still do, which is new territory for me. Usually by this morning I am filled with second thoughts about things I could have done differently, words I could have said differently and so on. But for now, I am standing pat with the whole of what happened.

It was good.

I have to send out heartfelt thank yous to everyone at the Principle Gallery. They are a very special group of people. Affectionate thanks to Michele, Clint, Pam, Pierre and Haley for their friendship and encouragement. There’s so much I could say but I think they know how we feel about them.

Plus super thanks to my canine friends, Ash and Chase, who always brighten my visits with their high energy.

I think this show was as honest and transparent an expression of what I hope to be as an artist and a person as I could have mustered. I don’t feel like I am masked behind the work, that I am presenting a facade that misrepresents me. I am hoping that means I am closing in on some elusive and unconscious goal. Can’t say I will ever truly reach it. Might not even know if I do. But for now, the mask feels like its off.

For this week’s music, I have chose a song that sort of fits with that last sentiment.  It’s This Masquerade written and performed by the late great Leon Russell. It is probably best known for the George Benson version that was a huge hit across all of the charts. But I like this version from Leon alone with his piano.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

 

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Jackie Wilson Baby Workout LP CoverI flipped on the radio the other day and heard George Benson doing a remake of the song Baby Workout, the 1963 hit from the late, great R & B singer Jackie Wilson.  It wasn’t a bad version but it only made me really want to hear the original once more.  That’s usually how it goes when I hear somebody cover a Jackie Wilson song.  They usually pale to the real thing and Jackie Wilson was the real thing though he is often forgotten these days.  But that is somewhat  understandable considering he died thirty years ago, in 1984, after suffering through the after-effects of a stroke nine years before.

He just faded from the public’s consciousness.

And that is the shame because Wilson always seemed to live up to his nickname– Mr. Excitement.  His powerful stage moves and soaring voice drove his fans into a frenzy and influenced generations of performers.  Michael Jackson owed much of his stagecraft to Wilson, acknowledging it in his acceptance speech for his 1987 Grammy for Thriller.   You cans eeit also in some of Bruno Mars’ stagework. Wilson’s charismatic performances also garnered him hit after hit.  Reet Petite.  Lonely Teardrops.   The classic Your Love (Keeps Lifting Me Higher).  And many more including Baby Workout, which is a personal favorite of mine.

His life had many highs but perhaps more lows:  Arrests, shootings, the early deaths of several of his children, drug abuse, divorces, bankruptcy and, of course, the stroke a that consumed the last nine years of his short life.  But I don’t want to focus on the tragedy of his life or even the relative obscurity to which he has been assigned through the intervening years.  When I hear him sing and watch him perform, he comes alive once again.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Here’s a version of Baby Workout from the old Shindig show.  You can get a good idea of Wilson’s power if you get by what looks to be the cast of Up With People! gyrating around him in their matching sweaters.  Anyway, enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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