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****Excellent***Good**Fair*Poor : COMPACT DISCS

December 29, 1987|RANDY LEWIS | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

"Best of Brook Benton." Mercury. This 14-song, 37-minute disc covers only Benton's Mercury years from 1959 to 1965. Fortunately, that's where he recorded the majority of his hits--though the collection misses his biggest, 1970's "Rainy Night in Georgia." A contemporary of Sam Cooke, Benton used a similarly silky vocal style on such gospel-tinged, country-fried soul hits as "Kiddio," "Hotel Happiness" and "The Boll Weevil Song." Only on a couple of songs do the lush string arrangements veer into sappiness--mostly this is classy, classic R&B. ***

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