Benson stretches out extensively on this recording, cut in a couple of days in 1973. He also wrote four of the five tunes, though often his composing here consists of laying down enough of a riff to establish a groove and then letting a handful of horn hits complete the job. “Top of the World,” “Dance,” and the title cut follow this pattern; “Plum” makes more of melody statement, cooking in a smoky, mid-tempo vein before jumping into double time, with Benson getting busy over a two-chord vamp.
The six horns, arranged by James Brown vet Alfred (Pee Wee) Ellis, include musicians like Frank Foster and Jon Faddis, and succeed in sounding hot and funky rather than cheesy and contrived. While the liner notes emphasize the presence of Earl Klugh in Benson’s band at this time (Benson had recently met and hired the 19-year old), his presence on Body Talk is minimal; he can be heard playing recurring R&B figures in the background on “Dance,” and takes a 16-bar solo on “When Love Has Grown,” the album’s one cover, after harmonizing on the melody with his boss.
Personnel: George Benson (guitar); Earl Klugh (guitar); Frank Foster (tenor saxophone); John Gatchell, Waymon Reed, Jon Faddis (trumpet, flugelhorn); Dick Griffin, Gerald Chamberlain (trombone); Harold Mabern (electric piano); Gary King (electric bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums); Mobutu (percussion).
02. When Love Has Grown
04. Body Talk
05. Top Of The World
06. Body Talk (Alternate Take)