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Music Opinions: Little Benny is Dead

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Little Benny is Dead

Little Benny died on May 30.  He was an absolute legend and one of the guys that helped develop D.C. go-go into one of the world's great local music genre.  I only saw Benny lead his own bands a couple of times.  I never saw Little Benny and The Masters and I think I only saw the Legends once.  But I saw Benny get on stage with different bands more times than I can count.  Every single time Benny got on stage, he took the party to another level.

Little Benny was in the earliest Rare Essence band as a trumpet player and in the early 80s Benny's style of talking and rapping provided a template for talkers over the next three decades.  Check out the famous "no power" tape to hear Benny at the height of his powers leading the band.  In recent years he was at virtually every Chuck Brown show.  I'm going to miss the excitement I got whenever I spotted Benny in the building holding his trumpet and knowing when he got on stage in a few minutes the crank was about to go through the roof.  I'm going to miss seeing Benny and Jas. Fun on stage together.   They had a unique chemistry from the RE and Proper Utensils days.

Unfortunately, the go-go sound has rarely been captured well on officially released studio albums.  But Little Benny's Cat in the Hat album was one of the best.  And that song is one of the absolute classics of the genre.  And of course, Benny's voice may appear on more PA tapes than anyone else.

There's a tribute concert on Friday (6/4) at The Icon in Waldorf.



TMOTT Tribute Page
Washington Post Obit

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