Supreme soul vocalist CARLA BENSON needs no introduction in these hallowed pages! Indeed, though we have no stats to hand there’s a god chance she’s sung on more hit records than any other female artist. That assumption, of course, stems from her time as backing vocalist at Philadelphia International Records where she sung on all the big City Of Brotherly Love hits – Billy Paul’s ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’, The Spinners’ ‘I’ll Be Around’, McFadden and Whitehead’s ‘Ain’t No Stopping Us Now’, and Patti LaBelle’s ‘New Attitude’ and ‘If Only You Knew’ to name just a smattering. Indeed, peruse the sleeves notes on almost any Philly album from the Golden Asge and you’re sure to find Carla’s name and that’s before we mention other biggies like Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald’s ‘On My Own’ and Evelyn “Champagne” King’s ‘Shame’.
Ms Benson was so busy with bvs that her own career was always on a kind of hold. After the Philly International era, she went on the road with Patti Labelle and later worked the clubs and lounges of Atlantic City as well as working as a wedding singer. Motown buffs will also know that Carla worked with the Funk Brothers during their renaissance.
In recent years, Carla’s recorded for Philly retro label Society Hil and that’s the home for her latest release – a re-working of MFSB’s 1980 hit ‘Tell Me Why’ on which she provided the lead vocal (naturally!). This new 2021 version stays close to the original template. Why mess up a good thing? And you know, Carla’s voice has lost none of the magic that made so many Philly hits so memorable.
CARLA BENSON: Tell Me Why out now via Society Hill.