Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
The album recorded in 1973 @ sunset sound Studio Hollywood for A&M
Marc Benno brought a treasure for his Japanese fans!
The recordings which never released for last 32 years....
Marc Benno recorded 7 songs with his band The Nightcrawlers featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doyal Bramhall etc. at Sunset Sound Studio inHollywood for A&M Records in 1973. But A&M decided not to release the record.
This is the special album with the 7 songs and plus another 5 songs of the studio sessions tracks with SRV (G),RussKrunker(Dr.) Mike Utley(key.) Lee Skiar(B.) etc.
This historic document seems to have escaped the attention of all but the most hardcore and curious Stevie Ray Vaughan fan. The story goes like this...by 1973, Texas singer, songwriter, guitarist, and piano player Marc Benno had spent better than a decade as an all-star studio pro, lending his talents to recordings by folks like Rita Coolidge and the Doors.
Benno recorded a pair of albums with friend and fellow session-player Leon Russell as the Asylum Choir, Benno subsequently launching his solo career with a self-titled album in 1970, Russell hooking up with singer Joe Cocker before discovering mid-decade stardom.
Benno had put together a Texas-styled blues-rock band that included bassist Tommy McClure (who had played with Coolidge and Jim Dickinson, among others), drummer Doyle Bramhall, keyboardist Billy Etheridge, and a hot-shot young guitarist by the name of Stevie Vaughan (the "Ray" would be added later).
Benno and the Nightcrawlers were managed by rock 'n' roll heavyweight Dee Anthony, and put on tour opening for the J. Geils Band and Humble Pie (which featured its own hot-shot fretburner in Peter Frampton).
Benno and the band recorded what was to become their debut album for A&M Records, but when the label soured on blues-rock, Crawlin – which included Vaughan's first recordings – was put on the shelf and remained unreleased until 2009 when Blue Skunk Music resurrected the album.
As shown by the funky album-opening "Last Train," Benno had his finger firmly on the pulse of the soul-and-blues-infused rock sound of the early 1970s, the song's foot-shufflin' beat paired with twangy, chicken-scratched guitar solos and a chaotic mix that works in spite of the mess of instruments.
By turns, the New Orleans-flavored "Coffee Cup" sounds like Dr. John, Benno's growling vocals and spry piano-pounding displaying the undeniable musical link between Texas blues and Louisiana's more jazz-influenced style.
The lively "Take Me Down Easy" mines turf similar to what Delaney and Bonnie and Friends were exploring at the time, cleverly mixing blues, rock, gospel and country into an inspired whole, some hot guitar licks sizzling in the background beneath Benno's energetic honky-tonk piano and an overall spirited instrumental jangle.
Running in the other direction, "Hot Shoe Blues" blends a 1940s-styled jump-blues aesthetic with rollicking keyboards, red-hot guitar runs, and mile-a-minute echoed vocals to create an exhausting and entertaining musical romp. The title song is virtually an instrumental, barely-audible gang-vocals rising and falling beneath an innovative soundtrack that displays some of Stevie Vaughan's early talents.
Benno considered Stevie Ray Vaughan (or "Little Stevie" as he was often known at the time) to be the Nightcrawlers' secret weapon, a young guitarist of unusual skill and vision that could liven up any performance with his instrument. Crawlin includes four "bonus tracks," songs cut by Benno in anticipation of a solo release that would feature Vaughan's maturing guitarplay at its center.
Using a variety of L.A. session pros and friends like bassist Lee Sklar, drummer Russ Kunkel, and keyboardists Gordon DeWitty and Mike Utley, these songs add more of a pop sheen to Benno's writing while not forsaking the artist's blues foundation.
"Friends" is a gospel-tinged soft-rocker that features some beautifully emotional Stevie Ray slide-guitar licks alongside Benno's testifying vocals and gentle piano play. By contrast, "Whole Thang" is a short, sharp shocker with scorching guitar solos riding low in the mix, Benno's bouncy electric piano creating an irresistible melody on top of which Vaughan weaves his magic; given a proper release in the mid-1970s, the song could have been a big hit and brought SRV to stardom that much quicker.
"World Keeps Spinnin" is another Dr. John soundalike, with bits of sharp guitar and an underlying funky heartbeat while "Long Ride Home" is a dark, rich instrumental track and the stand-out on Crawlin, Vaughan and Benno swapping guitar licks while the band choogles along in the background with a rock-solid rhythm.
Marc Benno's Crawlin is a mixed bag, derived as it is from disparate sources and circumstances. The four bonus tracks are better-written and better-produced than the seven songs from a previous recording, and they feature Stevie Ray Vaughan in a much more prominent role. What the earlier songs lack in sonic quality and overall construction they more than make up for in energy and enthusiasm, Benno finally afforded the opportunity to chase stardom on his own terms.
While the earlier material on Crawlin, quite honestly, wasn't ready for primetime...I'll blame it on sub-par production that seemingly robs the performances of their edge and vitality...there's no doubt that Benno and the Nightcrawlers were on to something, and listening to these songs today one can't help but wonder what might have been. You'll find the material to be representative of the era of its creation, entertaining but not particularly innovative, and of interest mostly to hear Benno's underrated piano playing and Stevie Ray's first tentative steps towards blues-rock stardom.
After suffering the indignities of the record biz – Benno was subsequently dropped by his high-profile manager (who hitched his star exclusively to Frampton's fortunes) – and seeing his recordings buried in a vault somewhere in Hollywood, Marc Benno regrouped and re-dedicated himself to the blues. He spent years touring as second guitarist for the legendary Lightnin' Hopkins, honing his skills and learning the blues from a master. Benno continues to make music, fusing blues, rock, jazz, and pop music into his own original creation in spite of the industry, and Crawlin is a perfect example of his unique vision and talent.
♣ Marc Benno - Guitar and Vocal
♣ Stevie Ray Vaughan - Lead Guitar
♣ Doyal Bramhall - Drum and Vocals
♣ Billy Ethridge- Keyboards
♣ Tommy McClure - Bass
* Session Recording with:
♣ Marc Benno - Guitar, Piano and Vocal
♣ Stevie Ray Vaughan- Lead Guitar / Russ Krunkel- Drums
♣ Johnny Perez - Drums / Mike Utley-Keyboards
♣ Gordon Dewitty-Hammond B3 Organ / Lee Skiar- Bass
01. Last Train 02:04
02. Coffee Cup 03:19
03. 8 Ball 06:22
04. Take Me Down Easy 03:23
05. Love is Turnin Green 05:36
06. Hot Shoe Blues 02:09
07. Crawlin 03:22
08. Friends* 04:33
09. Whole Thang* 01:57
10. Slammer Jammer* 04:35
11. World Keep Spinnin* 02:51
12. Long Ride Home* 04:48
*Bonus Tracks Please note and understand there are some noise on Track 10 due to the old recording material.
1. Marc Benno
2. Marc Benno
3. Marc Benno