BENNSON: Let The Love (Label: Raw Fusion)

BENNSON: Let The Love

One of the most intriguing cuts on Expansion’s 2008 ‘Soul Togetherness’ set is Bennson’s ‘Let The Love’. It’s not just the tune that intrigues, there’s also been a lot of discussion in modern soul circles about the identity of Mr/Mrs/Ms Bennson. The vocalist is clearly a female but the sleeve notes confuse the issue by comparing Bennson to Jamiroquai. Well, fans of Australia’s top funk band, the Bamboos, could solve the problem instantly. They’d know that Bennson is the alter ego of the Bamboos’ keyboard player Ben Grayson, who, in band down -time, dabbles in his own studio trickery putting together tracks that don’t fit too comfortably into the Bamboos’ format. He uses only the cream of the Aussie session scene including wonderful vocalists like Abby Joyce, Karl Wagner and Kylie Auldist. Indeed it’s “this other Kylie” whose wonderful vocal graces that mystery Expansion track ‘Let The Love’. The song’s the lead cut on this Bennson collection and dig in almost anywhere here and you’ll hear more of the same bright and big retro sound that’s winning the hearts and feet of the modern soul crowd. The opener, ‘Whatever It Is’ is a good example. Featuring a vocal from Abby Joyce it’s a brassy bopper and there’s definitely a feel of Jay Kay about it. There’s more of the same flavour on ‘Can’t Get Enough’ and ‘One Minute Left’ – a fetching duet between Gary Pinto and Christin Derlas. Elsewhere, ‘The Greatest’ and ‘Step To The Plate’ have an authentic 80s electro soul feel while the dreamy brass work on ‘I Need Music’ and ‘Incredible’ call to mind the great EW&F’s mellower moments. Grayson himself come to the fore on the almost-instrumental ‘Fly High’ and the jazzy ‘Uto’ which also features some splendid tenor work from Willow Nelson. Both add variety to an album on which Bennson pays deferential homage to some of the soul greats of the 70s and 80s and it’s easy to hear why the Bennson sound fits so readily the Soul Togetherness template.
(BB) 4/5