Curious the case of Ben Atkins . And it is that if he has gone down to posterity for something, it is for being the first non Afro-American artist signed by Stax (through its subsidiary Enterprise), and not for his magnificent debut « Patchouli » (1971). Curious and unfair, because despite the modest success of the album, his "melting pot" of southern music deserved to climb higher and provide him with a solid career, which he never achieved (he only released another album in 1982, "Reachin' for the feeling ", under the name of Big Ben Atkins).
The cover already gives us an idea of its content: southern soul, swamp rock and touches of gospel and folk. An authentic sound delicatessen that sails through all the possible styles of the southern United States, and that was recorded between two of the great temples of American black music, Muscle Shoals and Stax Studios.
He is accompanied on this journey by legendary musicians such as David Hood, Donald »Duck» Dunn, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Beckett among many others, allowing the powerful voice of the singer from Vernon (Alabama) to be the main axis of the LP.
A sublime and sweaty instrumentation, the genuine feminine gospel choirs and a borrowed repertoire (which he makes his own) of jewels from people like Dan Penn, Bobby Manuel (who also acts as producer of the whole group) or Howlin' Wolf gives the album a halo of timelessness still in force today. An authentic and natural trip that Ben Atkins proposes to us: bordering the Mississippi without leaving home. Good times are coming…!!!
by Albert Barrios, April 25, 2023
1. I Love This Song (Dan Penn, Jimmy M. Johnson, Len Renfro) - 2:29
2. Cross My Mind (Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter) - 4:39
3. Shine On (Carson Whitsett, Eric Mercury) - 2:35
4. Holding On To Friends (Bob McRee, Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas) - 3:24
5. Smokestack Lightnin'/Brighter Side Of It All (Howlin' Wolf/Charles Feldman, J. Wiker, Steve Smith, Tim Smith) - 4:12
6. Solid Ground (Bob McRee, Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas) - 2:57
7. That Brings Me Down (Jerry Puckett) - 3:39
8. A Long Way To Go (Bettye Crutcher, Bobby Manuel) - 4:14
9. Would I Be Better Gone? (Bobby Manuel, Darryl Carter, William Brown) - 3:11
10.Good Times Are Coming (Bobby Manuel) - 3:22
*Ben Atkins - Vocals
*Barry Beckett - Keyboards
*Joe Correro - Drums
*Donald "Duck" Dunn - Bass
*John Gaston - Bass
*Jeanie Greene - Vocals
*Roger Hawkins - Drums
*Ginger Holladay - Vocals
*Mary Holladay - Vocals
*David Hood - Bass
*Al Jackson, Jr. - Drums
*Alan Jackson - Guitar
*Jimmy Johnson - Rhythm, Acoustic Guitars
*Bobby Manuel - Guitar
*Wayne Perkins - Guitar
*Temple Riser - Vocals
*Marvell Thomas - Keyboards, Piano