Deen was and is advanced.
I still remember the first time someone asked what kind of music I listened to. I wasn’t quite as much of a music nerd as I am now (I was about 8 or 9), but I already had a pretty cool answer for my age: “all kinds of stuff – you know, like Sade, Whodini and George Benson.” My interrogator happened to be one of my dad’s friends and he damn near lost his mind when I mentioned the last name. I thought I was so damned cool because he said and I’m paraphrasing here, “you a cold young nigga whoadie.”
So yeah, that was a roundabout way of stating that George Benson’s Give Me The Night has been one of my favorite albums for a long time. My first encounters with the album were illicit since I wasn’t supposed to be fucking around with my dad’s extensive record collection, but you know kids – zero fucks were given. Every ass-kicking I got when I got caught was worth it. Seriously. I was fanuting Average White Band on a regular basis before I was a teenager. Those young ass bitches stood nary a chance mane. Beacoup pimpin’ figures galore for young Mobbdeen.
But back to George Benson. I suppose there was no way this album wasn’t going to be awesome once he got Rod Temperton to write and Quincy Jones to produce the bitch. Them niggas came up with Thriller a few years after this, so George was in good hands.
Even more impressive (to me), is the “fact” that I think Michael McDonald shows up uncredited on at least two tracks. Prior to being resurrected via The 40 Year Old Virgin, Michael McDonald was most known for being a Doobie Brother, having cool facial hair, being on 76% of every song made throughout the 80s and taking jobs away from black female vocalists for that entire decade. As a kid, I was confused because George Benson’s voice seemed to alternate between tracks on the album (in my defense, kids can be cool and dumb) and never got around to the Michael McDonald portion of my dad’s records. I think I discovered porn before that.
So I spent the better part of two decades thinking that George Benson had two really cool and distinct voices. Then I heard Michael McDonald and almost self-harmed for being so damn daft. In truth, I’m still confused about this – does anyone know if George just really sounds like Michael McDonald on this shit or if that’s actually said Doobie Brother? Yeah, I’m still as dumb as I was when I was 9. Shit.
This album also sorta confirms a theory I espoused a year ago: Heatwave’s “Star of a Story” may be the best song ever. I still haven’t gotten around to making fuck to that particular song in the last year, but that has more to do with the quality of broad I’ve been fanuting than any refusal to do so on my part. New year, new resolutions though. George Benson obviously goes for a more guitar-heavy approach, but the song remains excellent. I mean, I’m pretty certain that Waka could cover “Star of a Story” and it would turn out pretty decent.
At the risk of sounding like a damned idiot, I think it’s fair to describe Give Me the Night as the guitar jazz/pop/funk/soul version of Illmatic. Hear me out for a second – there’s at least one valid parallel here – or more accurately, I’ll toss up a bunch of ideas in the hope that at least one sticks:
- They both have 10 tracks (weak, I know)
- The album cover portraits both feature afros (even weaker, shit)
- I like both albums (I’m losing so hard right now)
- Large Professor worked on both albums (Just kidding. And hoping that you’re still paying attention.)
- This was the only album George Benson did with Quincy Jones – despite the fact that they struck gold (well, more like platinum and Grammys) on this effort. I don’t spend a lot of time with George Benson fans (probably because they’re all old or dead), but I’m pretty sure that a good chunk of them always wondered why George and Quincy never fanuted again. You know, the same way Nas stans often wonder why he doesn’t just attempt to recreate Illmatic with the same production line up.
Thankfully, I haven’t been able to find a George Benson forum on the internet. Well, more like I haven’t looked, so I’ll never know if that parallel is true. In any event, I kinda started leaning away from fusion/soul/funk/pop/jazz hybrids (basically popular jazz circa around 1970 to 1990) and towards more traditional jazz as I got older. Old, classy broads love that old jazz shit and I just happen to appreciate Miles (chill, I know he pretty much set multiple subgenres of jazz off) and Coltrane more than I do George Benson or Herbie Hancock.
There’s definitely always going to be something to be said for any album featuring George Benson’s, Quincy Jones’ and ESPECIALLY (more like allegedly) Michael McDonald’s combined talents. So yeah, go fuck with Give Me The Night. You might just become a better human being. I didn’t, but that’s only because I’m heathen. To be completely honest, my biggest takeaway from this shit was paraphrasing the lyrics from “What’s On Your Mind” to start a breakup with a big tittied ex.
Wow. I don’t know how it happened, but my George Benson post kinda got “Ya Mo B There-d” in the same way 76% of every pop song recorded in the 80s was. Shit. White people never let us have anything….