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This one’s a bit of an oddity. According to the sleeve notes, Benny Williams has a long pedigree in R&B music, including singing back up vocals with Sly & The Family Stone, playing percussion with the Intruders, and “sharing the stage” with Billy Paul, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, the Chilites and McFadden & Whitehead, amongst others. What on earth he's doing recording an album for Studio One is anybody’s guess.

Most of the tracks are straight ahead New York soul, but occasionally Benny plunders the Brentford Road vaults to add his vocals to well known classics such as Too Experience, No Man Is An Island (Lonely Soldier), My Time and Cry Me A River. His voice is sweet and strong, and he carries off the reggae vocals with aplomb - it’s a pity he didn’t decide to make a straightforward reggae album. Backing vocals are supplied by JD Smoothe and Alpheus and production credits are shared between C.S. Dodd, Michael Hall and Benny Williams (with C.S. Dodd as executive producer). It was voiced and mixed at Music Lab in New York.

But on the whole, this is not much more than an uncomfortable mixture of R&B, funk, gospel and reggae. For Studio One completists only, I would think.

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NO WHERE ELSE BUT UP
Benny Williams (2001)

Studio One SO CD 7800

Up; Baby I'm Yours; Wide Awake; Give Me All Your Love; Too Experience; Lonely Soldier; Once In Your Life; My Time; What You Gonna Do; God Give Me Strength; I Believe In Love; Cry Me A River; I'll Try Love Again; I Believe In Jesus; Give Me Your Love

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