SoulTracks Lost Gem: The George Benson / Michael McDonald song that never was

Many people consider 1980 Quincy Jones-produced album Give Me The Night an all-time classic and perhaps George Benson's finest disc. Led off by the chart-topping title track, Give Me The Night has stayed in the consciousnesses of R&B fans for more than four decades, and still has a permanent place on many folks' playlists, including mine.

Many people consider 1980 Quincy Jones-produced album Give Me The Night an all-time classic and perhaps George Benson's finest disc. Led off by the chart-topping title track, Give Me The Night has stayed in the consciousnesses of R&B fans for more than four decades, and still has a permanent place on many folks' playlists, including mine.

The midtempo "What's On Your Mind," written by Glen Ballard and Kerry Chater, was a hit single from the LP in Europe and a popular album cut here. The song featured nifty guitar work by Benson, and a vocal performance that felt a bit deeper and more authoritative than many of his songs. Well, maybe it is because Benson was originally riffing on the song with a partner with a very authoritative voice, in a version that ended up on the cutting room floor and was never released. Michael McDonald, who was an uncredited backing vocalist on several songs from the album, originally sang a duet with Benson on "What's On Your Mind," in a version that didn't make the Benson album, but sounds virtually identical to the one that did...only as a duet. Fortunately, it appears that the label has posted the song on YouTube.

The George Benson and Michael McDonald track is truly a Lost Gem that was worth recovering, and we thank our resident musicologist, Donald Cleveland, for sharing it with us. Take a moment and check out the version  of "What's On Your Mind" that you've never heard before.

By Chris Rizik

George Benson and Michael McDonald
"What's On Your Mind"

 

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