George Benson on autopilot, or as the title of one of these tunes has it, cruise control. There's nothing wrong musically with this disc: Benson's guitar playing is as bright and bouncy as ever, his singing is buoyant and attractive, and the arrangements are competent. But this is just another record in a long string of commercial smashes (and would-be commercial smashes) for George Benson, featuring George standing together with his millions, and it will no doubt make him some more. To paraphrase the Beatles whose tunes he so inventively reworked long ago on The Other Side of Abbey Road
, there seems to be nothing George Benson can do that he hasn't done, nothing he can sing that hasn't been sung, etc.. Standing Together
is a pretty funk record, but there is nothing on it that Benson fans haven't heard before.
There is a famous quote by Benson to the effect that it would be stupid for him to work hard making an "art" record that might sell 5000 copies, when he can make another million turning out another one of these. So, to put it kindly: This is not Mr. Benson's adventurous art record. This is "C-Smooth," "Standing Together," "All I Know," "Cruise Control," "Poquito Spanish, Poquito Funk" (oh, come on ), "Still Waters," "Fly By Night," "Back to Love," and "Keep Rollin'." Even these titles could be stuck onto 1000 other discs without anyone noticing anything amiss.
So what's art, anyway? George may be churning out anonymous funk, but it paid for his mansion and his Rolls. (He may not have those things. He may have given it all to charity.) Could be worse...