Benny Turner has been on the local music scene for over two decades, his most notable contribution perhaps being that for many years he was Marva Wright’s bass player/bandleader. However, in a previous life, he backed his brother, the late blues god Freddie King — not our Little Freddie, but the Texas Cannonball — a man who could do more with a guitar than a monkey could with a peanut. On this particular tribute, Turner focuses on the “rock” portion of his brother’s career (mid-’70s) when he was produced by Leon Russell and Don Nix on Shelter Records. Wisely, Turner doesn’t regurgitate the originals but rather reinterprets them, adding his own flavor.
Most of the tunes here are high tempo but played in the blues progression, as “Boogie Man,” “Tore Down,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Goin’ Down” illustrate. “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” slow the pace down, but as with most of the material, it’s played with an edge. Naturally King’s signature instrumental, “Hideaway,” is included, and this version is no better or worse than the hundreds of covers that already exist.
However, it should be noted that in the liner notes, Turner alludes to the fact he played on the original “Hideaway.” In fact, he did not. The bassist on the original “Hideaway” was the great Bill Willis — just saying, as a blues purist. All in all, this isn’t a bad listen; it’s a well played and produced reminder of King’s talent. Recommended — just not highly recommended.