TBT – Buster Benton’s “Blues & Trouble” Sets a High Bar
Editor’s Note: This week Throwback Thursday looks back at a Buster Benton album that exquisitely schools artists on what a soulful blues album should be, in much the same way Prince’s “Musicology” schooled a whole new generation on writing, recording, and performing quality soul when it was released in 2004.
There are those out there that know of Buster Benton. Most folks that do are older, and there’s nothing wrong with that. For the younger folks that are looking for the next great thing, sometimes it is best to take a trip back to the future by visiting the greatness of the past.
Born in Arkansas, Buster Benton was leading his own band by the time he had reached his early twenties. As time went on, he would be a member of Dixon’s Blues All-Stars for quite a while. He also launched and endured a solo career that eventually witnessed the decline in his health due to complications from diabetes. Benton would continue to perform despite receiving dialysis and having had some of each leg removed.
With material recorded between 1983 and 1985, Blues & Trouble was released in September 2002, and at just under 72 minutes, it is a wonderful textbook that perfectly exemplifies soulful blues.
“You’re My Lady” has a light and breezy feel that just has one snapping fingers to the beat. “That’s Your Thing” is slow, inviting, and simply brilliant, with its haunting vocals and subtle, stirring guitar lines. “Can’t Wait To See My Baby’s Face” has a swinging beat that keeps the soul infused rhythm guitar coming, and the leads aren’t too shabby either.
Other fine points on Blues & Trouble include an uptempo “Lonesome For a Dime,” the slow and elegant “I Wish I Knew,” and “Honey Bee,” a straight up blues in the tradition of Byther Smith meets Magic Sam.
The playing on this album is absolutely masterful, moving, and genuine. The production is thankfully light handed, and the sound quality and mix are spot-on.
Bring home Blues & Trouble now! We can not recommend this album highly enough! For all the aspiring blues artists out there, this is how soulful blues is done.