Monday, June 25, 2007

Let Brook Fix It!

Brook Benton - Let Me Fix It

After a long and successful tenure with Mercury Records, Brook Benton's career had started to wane, but hooking up with Atlantic in 1968 gave his career a major shot in the arm. He was assigned to the Cotillion subsidiary and he struck paydirt with Tony Joe White's atmospheric "Rainy Night in Georgia," a major R&B and pop hit in 1969. Benton stayed with Cotillion through 1972 but never hit big as he did with "Rainy Night in Georgia." He did, however, record a lot of good material, including a nice soul version of the Frank Sinatra anthem "My Way" and today's selection. After he left Cotillion he moved from label to label, leaving behind records on Stax (the great "I Keep Thinking To Myself," my personal favorite) and All Platinum, among others, but he never matched the successes of his early Mercury sides and the Cotillion material.

The fun and funky "Let Me Fix It" was the b-side of "Shoes" and was part of Benton's 1970 Cotillion LP Home Style. The tune starts off with Brook casually sings the first verse over a jazzy organ rhythm before the Dixie Flyers come in and bring a swamp soul groove to the proceedings. Brook opens up then, and with his velvet baritone he sweetly but aggressively - and apparently successfully - woos a female vocalist (uncredited on the Cotillion 45, but actually Cissy Houston, whose Sweet Inspirations provided backup vocals on the LP), whose responses to his lines change from sassy to inviting over the tune's four-and-a-half minutes. Benton, who wrote the tune, is having a lot of fun here, and by the time he's running scales with the phrase "fix it" by the end, he's won the listener over also. Fix it, Brook!

No comments: