|Here We Go Again, Ed Bentley
Ed Bentley's new album hits off with a classic Delmore Brothers song "Freight Train Boogie". Good choice I would say, it sets the mood for some American roots music to come, and it introduces the great musicians that accompany Ed on his new album. Ed's got a dark and raw voice, while already in his 60s, apparently the man's still got lots of mojo. "Rock A Baby Boogie", written by Ed himself, follows in the same style.
Another selfpenned song is "Dance Bop A Shoo Bop", piano boogie woogie, guitars and harmony vocals. After that, Ed is picking up speed with a song Doug Morgano wrote "Let's Tear It Up". Superb Sun-style rockabilly with magnificent guitar riffs by Doug himself. The song, and Ed's voice as well, remind a bit of the classic recordings of Sonny Burgess.
A cool slow paced intermezzo is a cover of Ersel Hickey's "Blue Birds Over The Mountain", followed by another boogie woogie rocker "You Been Changing Your Mind", which also includes some great guitar licks. Ed's original "Slap Happy Boogie Band From Tennessee" is back to the roots of rockabilly, a real gone bass pluckin' slapper. Basic and simple, exactly what rockabilly is all about.
"Lovin' Man", another selfpenned song, goes back to country music roots, while Johnny Cash' classic Sun hit "Get Rhythm" brings back the beat. Ed does great too on Barbara Pittman's "I'm Getting Better All The Time" as well as on Sanford Clark's "The Fool". On "Oh Yeah" we are presented again with the raw Sonny Burgess sound, very nice harmony and guitar pickin', and a fabulous saxophone break. Ed closes his album with a tribute to the ever great Carl Perkins with "Matchbox".
Ed bentley is a fantastic singer with a voice just cut out for rockabilly music, he's got one hell of a band and the recordings are superb. Having said that, I also think the album might just be a bit too perfect, a bit more "wildness", like we had in the fifties, might have been good idea. My favorite pick from this CD would be "Oh Yeah", great song!
Ed Bentley in his own words:
Edward Bentley was born February 5, 1942 to Edward and Esther "Pat" (Graham) Bentley. They lived on a farm in Belmont, a rural community in western New York state. His mother - who was later re-married to a man named Loveless - was a well known performer in her own right. Ed smiles when he says his mom "is the original Patty Loveless." The teenage Ed enlisted her to teach him to play guitar. He took to the instrument like a duck takes to water.
In 1957, Ed won $5 and a brand new, white cowboy hat by performing Marty Robbins' "White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation," in an ameteur contest at a Buffalo, NY nightclub. Before long, he was performing with such artists as Joanie Marshall, Ernie Weber, and Happy Mann & the Country Squires. He eventually formed the Memphis Sound Band, becoming known as "Eddie" Bentley. Ed also started playing with the house bands at two Buffalo nightclubs - Club Utica and the T & T Western Paradise. He backed such artists as Mac Wiseman, Bobby Helms and Mel Street.
But, while he logged plenty of playing time, Ed realized he wasn't making any headway in recordings. So, he packed up his guitar in 1961 and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He joined Eddie Bond & the Stompers soon after his arrival. His bandmates included the now-legendary John Hughey on steel guitar, and Jimmy Smith on piano. Bond also owned a club called the Little Black Book where Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich and Harold Dorman -- who wrote "Mountain of Love" -- were booked. Ed earned a whopping $15 weekly, playing there six nights per week. In the wee hours of the morning he'd return to his $8-per-week room at a boarding house he shared with several other young musicians, and a fair amount of cockroaches. "Those were great days in Memphis. We played because we loved the music, we obviously didn't do it for the money," Ed laughs.
Ed returned to Buffalo's music scene a year later. In 1964 he recorded the regional hit "Lovin' Man" on the Canadian ARC label. Shortly afterward, he recorded an instrumental piece called "Brang" with Ted Russell, a.k.a. Wade Curtis & the Rhythm Rockers.
From 1965 to about 1967, well-known east coast radio personality Tommy Shannon managed Ed's career. Ed was recording under the name of "Jimmy Satan" -- and while the name lent a certain aura of danger to his persona, it didn't help to sell many records. Several of Ed's recordings from that era were released on a Detroit-based Motown subsidiary, including "Look at the Clock Up There," "Richard Cory," and "Dream, Woman, Dream." Ed also played with bands, including Kathy Lynn & the Playboys, with whom he would play again in later years. The year 1967 brought "Drift on You Bum" on the Buffalo-based GJM label, and "the Fool" was recorded in 1968.
Among the great Buffalo studio musicians appearing on Ed's records during that time were Tommy Calandra, Gary Mallaber -- who went on to play with the Steve Miller Band -- and Stan (Szelest) and the Ravens, who later worked with Lonnie Mack, Ronnie Hawkins and the Band. Ed flew to Nashville in 1969 to record "Little Children Run and Play" for Paula Records, a label out of Shreveport, La.
After 1969, Bentley elected to shelve the recording career for a while, opting instead to pursue another area of the music business. In 1971 he opened the Ed Bentley Music Center in Buffalo, where he sold musical instruments -- catering to his fellow musicians. He was also still going strong with his music, playing honky tonks and shows with the likes of Merle Haggard, Rose Maddox, and Buffalo's legendary Stone Country Band.
From 1980 to 1982 he was a district sales manager for Gibson Guitar Co., traveling between Detroit, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio. He decided in 1985 to return to his rural roots, and settled in the small community of Delevan, NY -- about 40 miles southeast of Buffalo. Ed has since worked as a salesman, stockbroker, and eventually, an insurance agent -- a position that has allowed him to become an independent agent and ultimately own his own firm.
Although he put down his guitar, for the most part, over those years, Ed still had the occasion to play with local bands for events around the area. He was contacted in 2004 by former bandmates from Kathy Lynn and the Playboys - now known as Solid Grease - and immediately signed on. Solid Grease now performs hit music of the 50's, 60's and 70's at different venues throughout Western New York. They've received rave reviews and enthusiastic endorsement.
In 2005 Ed was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. "After we found him to be the 'real deal,' he was brought into the fold," said founder Bob Trimmers. "These veterans should receive their much deserved recognition. That's our purpose and it has great rewards, especially when cats like Ed are still giggin' and recording."
With his creative juices still flowing, Ed just put the finishing touches on his new CD "Here We Go Again". He's seen his love of music transcend the generations, and noted that his three children and four grandchildren all have an affinity for playing music. He still finds time to jam with his bandmates, and commune with people who love the music of an unforgettable era. Like his hero, Johnny Cash, Ed Bentley still "walks the line."
Courtesy of Ed Bentley, ©2005
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2005