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Reid, Benson - 1992 You Get What You Give

ARTIST: Reid, Benson
ALBUM: You Get What You Give
YEAR: 1992

LINEUP: Benson Reid - vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards

Musicians: Steve Sexton - keyboards, programming * Doug Macaskill - guitars * Jay Speziale - bass, backing vocals * Vern Dorge - saxophone * Neil Donnell, Vivienne Williams, Lis Soderberg - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Real Stories * 02 Slow Dance * 03 Your Touch * 04 My Minds Made Up * 05 You Get What You Give * 06 You'll Be Waiting * 07 Nature's Way * 08 A Little Bit of Lovin' * 09 Right From The Start * 10 Lovely Little Lisa * 11 One Road * 12 Go Crazy Tonight

Here's an album from Toronto based muso Benson Reid which flew under everyone's radar during 1992. It appears this one-off effort from Reid had a bit of money thrown at it, with recording and mixing undertaken at top studios: Toronto Recording Workshop, Phase One Studios and Metalworks. Former Red Rider keyboardist Steve Sexton does most of the honours here, handling keys, programming and production, with The Arrows Doug Macaskill handling guitar parts. Rush maestro Terry Brown handles the mixing and mastering, and it's a pretty lush affair all round - which will please regular punters of this site. Most of the melodic Canadian acts from this era, and perhaps from a few years before this, make for good reference points on 'You Get What You Give'. I'm hearing a dash of Garnett Ford, Glass Tiger, The Breits, Worrall and also the Partland Brothers. As you can imagine, the production and mix is top notch, while the songs take on a AOR crossover country mix, that sub-genre proving to be a popular middle ground during 1991-92 prior to the onset of the Seattle Flannelette brigade! Reid to my way of hearing comes across like a Canadian Van Stephenson, and it's a indictment that this CD isn't better known among the community.

The Songs
The straight-ahead rock of 'Real Stories' has a cool groove with Doug Macaskill pulling a few Mark Knopfler like moves. For something completely different, the lush 'Slow Dance' is so synth oriented, you'd be thinking this was a Strange Advance tune! 'Your Touch' is one of the better tracks here, acoustic/electric hybrid, it has some deft Stan Meissner like parts to it that'll intrigue some of you. Change up time again, with the cranky and sassy 'My Mind's Made Up', Benson's fantastic vocal sits this song in the same territory as Monty Byrom's Big House and San Francisco's Workforce. The title track 'You Get What You Give' could be Phil Collins doing AOR. The sound reminds me of that track 'Chinese Wall' performed by Philip Bailey, though not an exact fit. 'You'll Be Waiting' takes a hi-tech path, We slapped this up on our Jukebox to give you an idea. It's an ok track, but I feel there are are better on the album. 'Natures Way' is perhaps the most interesting track here. Written upon a mostly melodic blueprint, the song (according to the credits) was in fact written by Spirit's Randy California.. so that came as a surprise. Punching out with a bar bashing rocker is 'Right From The Start', perhaps this could be Worrall with a slight country twinge? AOR fans should dig 'Lovely Little Lisa', a smooth synth layered affair courtesy of Mr Sexton, though Macaskill adds his solo turning this into an Arrows adventure. 'One Road' steals the melodies from Aldo Nova's 'Stay' (1985, 'Twitch') and though not as synth laden as Aldo's version, you get the picture. The closer 'Go Crazy Night' goes out with a bang. Some big sounding drums and a Power Station styled romp which the late Robert Palmer might approve of.

In Summary
Certainly a versatile album with a mixture of styles. There's no real weakness here, and as mentioned, the production is top notch. You'll still find this available on Ebay, I picked up a copy a few weeks back, and if you pick one up for under $10, it will be a great investment. Check out a 1992 one-off wonder from Benson Reid. You won't be disappointed!

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