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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ben E. King

Supernatural Soul

Review by Gary Hill

This posthumous release from Ben E. King includes a number of re-cut versions of his songs. I think that some of these work really well. There's only one song here that really doesn't cut it for me, and that's more about personal taste than anything else. The CD includes a medley of songs from The Drifters, which was the group where King first got the attention of the general public. All in all, this is interesting and should appeal to fans of King and his style of music.

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Track by Track Review
Stand By Me feat. Bette Smith & Ronnie Earl
This classic number still holds up pretty well all those years later. This new version is fairly faithful, but it includes some additional vocals. I dig the guitar soloing on it, too.
Supernatural Thing, Part I feat. Bootsy Collins

I love the funky groove of this song. This is all class. Everything about this just oozes style and charm from the backing vocals to the 1970s styled funk sound and the impeccable bass work.

Spanish Harlem feat. Rafael Riqueni
This doesn't do much for me. It's a playful, mellow piece that feels really dated. As strong as the first two tracks were, this is a real let-down for me. I do like the horn work on the piece.
Don't Play That Song (You Lied)
I like the vocal arrangement on this quite a bit. The song is still very much dated, but it is a big step up from the previous tune.
Another that's very dated, this is a lot of fun anyway. It has some great energy to it.
Do It In The Name Of Love
I really love the soulful groove on this tune. It's classic and retro sounding, but it's also fresh. It is a killer tune that's one of the highlights of the album for me.
I Had A Love
A soulful, balladic number, this is another that's packed full of class and charm. It really has a lot of passion built into it.
Seven Letters
Old school soulful sounds are on the menu here. This is another that works well, but does feel dated.
Stand By Me
I think this is the version of the song that I've always heard. I would be surprised if you haven't heard it, too. It's a great tune and still stands tall. I think I prefer this to the version that started the disc. Then again, a lot of that might be because of the familiarity with it.
Supernatural Thing, Part I feat. Bootsy Collins (Instrumental)
This instrumental version of the earlier tune is pure fire.
Exclusive CD Bonus Track:
Drifters Medley

This is just what it says it is, a medley of songs from originally by the Drifters. It's not really my kind of music, but I know all of this music and this works well. Then again, it's a bonus track, so you don't necessarily expect it to be particularly vital.

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