Band members Related acts
- Larry Bene -- vocals
- The Bellhops
Rating: 2 stars **
Title: Only Time Will Tell
Country/State: Harlem, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: SOLD 219
Price: SOLD $60.00
With liner notes like this, how could you walk away without giving this one a spin ...
"Few artists today can match the dynamic performance of Larry Bene. Long associated with the cabarets and nightclubs of the East Coast, Larry had lent his earcatching voice to the ten powerhouse tunes include in this package."
Seriously, a cabaret artist turns rock star ??? That's simply something you've got to check it out.
Musically Bene's musical roots seem to be in the Bobby Darren, Sammy Davis Jr, and Frank Sinatra school of nightclub lounge moves. As an example of his catalog, YouTube has a somewhat strange clip of Bene doing a performance of 'That's Life' (down and dirty like Frank [Sinatra] might do it ...) Bele looked like he was lip synching but the performance was fascinating, but what made it really bizarre was that he seemed to be performing in a church.
So, I have no idea how Bene got signed by the small Tribute label. Tribute was a small, short-lived tax scam label, best known for releasing material by Frankie Carr. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if Bene wasn't even aware of the album - it isn't mentioned in any of his promotional materials. And sadly, there isn't much information to be gleaned from the liner notes on 1977's "Only Time Will Tell". There are no performance credits; no production credits; not even song writing credits. Along with the truly strange album art (bet the NFL Cardinals didn't approve the cover art), this one stands as a pretty typical tax scam release.
So first off, this album is going to have a niche audience. Unless you've heard of and like acts like Johnny Arcesi, or The Kaplin Brothers, this isn't likely to do much for you. On the other hand, if you have an appreciation of twisted lounge act, this could be a major keeper for you.
Will Tell" track listing:
1.) Only Time Will Tell - 2:55
Wow, Bene get's funky ... Backed by a full orchestra, 'Only Time Will Tell' was a completely surprising slice of horn-powered rock. Imagine Blood, Sweat and Tears and Booker T. Jones playing at a Holiday Inn and you'll get a feel for this one. Seriously, it wasn't half bad - the biggest problem being that the song faded out just as it was starting to really get going. rating: *** stars
2.) Willow Tree - 3:10
With backing from a big band 'Willow Tree' was a pop song with a completely strange acid tinged edge. Kicked along by those horns and some cool organ, trying to adequately describe this one is really impossible ... Maybe a slightly more mainstream Johnny Arcesi ? rating: *** stars
3.) You Can Bet On It - 2:50
'You Can Bet On It' found Bene adding anger to his vocal repertoire ... Always loved the sneer in Bene's voice and the song chatter on this one. Great anonymous sax solo here. rating: *** stars
4.) I'm Moving On - 3:15
'I'm Moving On' found Bene showing he could handle a Western-styled ballad. rating: ** stars
5.) Love Is Like a Game - 5:00
Backed by some of the cheesiest synthesizer washes you've ever heard, 'Love Is Like a Game' framed Bene in top-40 MOR pop moves. Remember the Saturday Night Live skits where Bill Murray played Nick the Lounge singer? If so, you'll know what to expect here. rating: *** stars
Hum, was Bene trying to pull off a Jimmy Webb impersonation with the painful ballad 'I Don't Wanna Get Married'? rating: ** stars
2.) True Love - 3:30
'True Love' started out with a great blue-eyed soul groove and then Bene's voice kicked in effectively killing the track. Shame since the song had a cool acoustic guitar/bass interplay and a nifty low-tech melody. rating: ** stars
3.) Show Me the Way - 3:35
The ballad 'Show Me the Way' combined cheesy synthesizers and strumming acoustic guitar with Bene's schmaltzy crooning. Lounge act heaven !!! rating: ** stars
4.) On Your Wedding Day - 2:20
'On Your Wedding Day' was so painfully awkward it had to be someone's idea of a joke. You just have to smile when you hear this one. rating: * star
5.) With a Sigh - 2:40
And just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger there's the closing track 'With a Sigh'. This one's literally 2 minutes and forty seconds of silence. Serious, the grooves reflect silence. Who knows what they were thinking, though I'll tell you this one was better than 'On Our Wedding Day'. rating: ** stars
Tax scam madness ...
I'm not sure how extensive Bene's catalog is. Besides the LP, I was able to track down one single which was originally released on the small New York City-based Tin Pan Alley label. The single was also release on the small Certified label
- 'Come Back' b/w 'Angels Never Leave Heaven' (Tin Pan Alley catalog number TPA 283)
- 'Come Back' b/w 'Angels Never Leave Heaven' (Citation catalog number C-5002)
By the way, at the time I'm writing this, Bene's 82 and I believe the man is still performing. If you'd like to hire him, here's a link to his management company:
This is one of those albums I listed on line thinking it would never sell. Simply to eclectic for 99.9% of the audience. The album sat on my listings for years and then in July 2014 ... it sold. I had to laugh when I packed the LP up and noticed the address - Larry Bene, Port Richey, Florida. Anyhow, a couple of days later I got a phone call from Mr. Bene. He's 82, but sounds like he's 50;probably got more on the ball than I do. He was originally under the impression I had illegally reissued his LP, but after a brief phone conversation he understood that I was selling a personal copy. In our talk he told me a little bit about the background of the LP. Workign with Frankie Carr, he'd apparently been asked to record some demo tracks with the eye to placing the material with other artists. Carr apparently kept the masters, releasing them with Bene's knowledge, or cooperation. Figures.
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