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George Benson : The Other Side Of Abbey Road


Jazz purists probably turned up their noses when this LP appeared in 1970. George Benson, influenced by Wes Montgomery, had only just gone from being a well kept secret to a bright star in the celestial jazz firmament. Despite his tender age!! His youthful, happy-go-lucky ways may well have led him and his producer Creed Taylor to turn to this important Beatles album and – without great pathos or standing in awe – they put the music through a mincer as it were, adding a large pinch of jazz spice and a good portion of strings and Latin percussion on the way, and serving up this tasty dish to jazz freaks and beatniks.


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Today, almost 25 years later, this compilation, which ranges from Come Together to The End, has lost nothing of its freshness and certainly need not shy away from comparison with the originals. These are no mere copies but little masterpieces in which the Fab Four’s immortal ideas have been taken up and re-mixed. George Benson’s singing is unobtrusive and reserved, knowing full well that he cannot hope to compete with John and Paul – but as a guitarist he certainly can stand alongside George in every respect. The other soloists rank with Freddie Hubbard, Jerome Richardson and Herbie Hancock and offer a first-rate background in the arrangements from Don Sebesky. While this LP is certainly not a milestone in jazz history, one thing is certain: it opened up boundaries. And that is why it is worth listening to in this day and age.

AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell

Just three weeks after the U.S. release of the Beatles’ swan song, Abbey Road, Creed Taylor ushered George Benson into the studio to begin a remarkably successful pop-jazz translation of the record (complete with a parody of the famous cover, showing Benson with guitar crossing an Eastern urban street). It is a lyrical album, with a hint of the mystery and a lot of the cohesive concept of the Beatles’ original despite the scrambled order of the tunes. Benson is given some room to stretch out on guitar, sometimes in a bluesy groove, and there are more samples of his honeyed vocals than ever before (oddly, his voice would not be heard again by record-buyers until he signed with Warner Bros.). Don Sebesky’s arrangements roam freely from baroque strings to a full-throated big band, and Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Fortune, and Hubert Laws get some worthy solo space. Yet for all its diversity, the record fits together as a whole more tightly than any other George Benson project, thanks to his versatile talents and the miraculous overarching unity of the Beatles’ songs. One wonders if the Fab Four liked it, too.


1. Golden Slumbers
2. You Never Give Me Your Money
3. Because
4. Come Together
5. Oh! Darling
6. Here Comes the Sun
7. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
8. Something
9. Octopus’s Garden
10. The End


Additional information

Weight 0.480 kg
Dimensions 32.0 × 32.0 × 2.0 cm