When She’s Gone
Nola Blue Records
Benny Turner and his older brother Freddie lived on the West Side of Chicago. Guitarist Freddie chose to use their mother’s maiden name and became the legendary Freddie King. Turner played bass in his brother’s band and toured with him until King’s death in 1976.
Soon after his brother’s passing Turner moved to New Orleans and became bandleader for Marva Wright the “Blues Queen of New Orleans”. Turner spent twenty years with Wright and it wasn’t until 1997 that he released his first album “Blue and Not So Blue”. Turner’s last album was 2014’s “Journey”.
Six of the songs included on this new album originally appeared on “Blue and Not So Blue”. Upon its release in 1997 there was only a minimal amount of promotion and most copies sold were off of the bandstand. The band members on these tracks were also members of Marva Wright’s band including Samuel “The Bishop” Berfect, keyboards; Alonzo Johnson, bass; and drummer Jeffrey “Jellybean” Alexander who is still with Turner today. The album opens with “I Can’t Leave”. Turner’s clear voice is easy on the ears.
“Pity on This Lovesick Fool” is sung by Turner with Wright joining him on the chorus; featured on this track are organist Davell Crawford and Herman Ernest III, drums. On “If I Can’t Have You” Sean Lewis is added on harmonica.
“Because of You” again features Ernest on drums but this time with Dr. John sitting in on guitar. Turner usually performs without a guitarist as a tribute to his late brother but makes an exception here.
Charles Brown plays piano on two tracks; “So Deep” which was written by Turner and on “Black Night” which was popularized by Brown in 1951. The later is a new version that pays tribute to Turner’s brother Freddie; the horn section consists of Barney Floyd, trumpet; and Jason Mingledorff, sax.
Turner is a bass virtuoso who plays lead on “Have You Ever Been So Lonesome” and he sounds like a guitarist on his solo.
Guitarist Bob Margolin guests on two of the new tracks; Turner sings soulfully on Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and again on Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby”. On these Alexander is on drums.
Turner makes another exception as he plays guitar on Jimmy Rogers’ “That’s Alright – I’ll Get Over You”.
Released on Mother’s Day February 14th this album is dedicated to Turner’s mom Ms. Ella Mae Turner. Every son should be this good. Turner is impressive on these fine performances.