Tuesday, July 23, 2013

George Benson: Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole

"You could say George Benson's latest album, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, was conceived decades ago. Benson was just a kid when he first mimicked Cole off the radio, singing his own version of 'Mona Lisa' while accompanying himself on the ukulele. He even made a recording. Benson is still singing those songs today — although now it's alongside the same Nelson Riddle arrangements made classic. But to him, making a proper album of Cole songs always felt funny, disrespectful or just plain wrong. 'A comparison to Nat Cole I did not want to do,' Benson says. 'The great difference was that he was a true baritone, and he had this silky voice to go along with it, and great diction and elegance. And that you cannot copy.' Instead, Benson tried to conjure Cole's spirit. ... He says he had to be convinced, but then he got into it. 'I began to feel like I was substituting for Nat,' Benson says. 'There is no such thing, but if he got sick on a certain night and requested me to sit in for him and do the show, could I refuse?' Of course he couldn't" (Walter Ray Watson, "George Benson Follows the Path of His 'Unforgettable' Idol," Listen Now [NPR], 7/6/13).

View catalog record here!


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