George Benson on Cafe Wha

Benson“On Broadway” tells the unvarnished truth about struggling to make it in music business. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote it, The Drifters had the first hit with it in 1963. The Broadway referred to an avenue in New York, it runs through entire length of the borough of Manhattan and stretches all the way north to the Bronx. George Benson was living in New Jersey when he entered the pop Top 10 for the first time with, arguably, his greatest scintillating live version of “On Broadway”. He totally reinvented it, with a new, aggressive beat, a storytelling vocal approach and some incredible scatting for his his 1978 live double album, “Weekend in L.A” recorded at the West Hollywood Roxy Theater. In many fine versions of On Broadway perhaps none finer than this impromptu jam by George Benson at the Cafe Wha on Macdougal Street, almost near Broadway. Cafe Wha founded in 1959, it has been the breeding ground for some of music’s greatest names such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Al Kooper, Bruce Springsteen, and many others all began their careers here. Now I proudly present On Broadway with The Boss, on Cafe Wha. (nDy) 

George Benson awalnya kukenal sbg gitaris unik, memetik dgn jempol jari, lewat album tribute to The Beatles, yakni The Other Side of Abbey Road rekaman Yess Bandung. Baru naksir suaranya lewat This Masquarade dgn solo gitar tanpa edit. Tapi album favoritku adalah Weekend In L.A yg memuat ulang 3 lagu legend, The Greatest Love of All, We All Remember Wes karya Stevie Wonder buat pelopor gitaris pake jempol juga idola Benson, dan On Broadway karya Barry Man cs. Jalan Broadway memang identik musik di New York, kebetulan mengarah ke area New Jersey sbg tempat tinggal Benson sebelum beken, serta masih “satu kecamatan” dgn lokasi keren lain, Cafe Wha. Kafe kecil dgn reputasi raksasa, misalnya Jimi Hendrix pernah ngamen lalu ketemu Chad Chandler yg ngajak ke Inggris untuk jadi Dewa Gitas. Al Kooper juga dapat nama Blood Sweat and Tears di Cafe Wha setelah session dgn BB King. Meski bukan khusus Rock, namun jarang musisi Jazz berani tampil spontan di kafe ini. Maka saat George Benson kepergok hadir di antara penonton lalu sigap naik ke panggung, dapat kusebut “Paus nyasar ke kandang Macan”. Begitu gagah bersama anthem yg pernah melambungkan rezekinya seolah catatan harian. The Boss, julukan George Benson, sukses menaklukan Cafe Wha. Bareng lirik yg telah kuhafal sejak SD: They say the neon lights are bright .. On Broadway, and Cafe Wha. (nDy)

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