1-CD with 24 -page booklet, 16 tracks. Playing time approx. 48 mns.
You won't find Ben Hewitt in any chart books and he won't even make the footnotes of most histories of rock 'n' roll, but his music said far more about the spirit of rock 'n' roll than anything you'll see on MTV or hear in today's strictly formatted corporate music scene. He was certainly one of our favorite artists here at Bear Family. He'd made a handful of records for Mercury in the '50s, and we discovered him in Niagara Falls, Canada. We brought him over to Germany for our Tenth Anniversary Concert in 1985, and he went over really well, easily eclipsing Jack Scott, the ostensible star of the event.
Ben Hewitt then recorded an album of new songs for Bear Family, which has now been reissued with the addition of four songs. In it, you'll hear the humour and essential good-naturedness of Ben Hewitt, as well as his unabashed love of good old rock 'n' roll. Titles include Florida Rain, Some Auto Billy Blues, Call Mama On The Phone, Ophelia, and I Wanna Love You Tonight. For new music that really captures the looseness, spirit and informality of the great old records, this should not be matched!'
Ben Hewitt : The Spirit Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Sometime in 1983, Bear Family was planning an LP to be split between Ben Hewitt and Eddie Bell. Little was known about either, except that they’d both recorded for Mercury in the late 1950s, and their records had become quite collectible. Ben Hewitt was rumored to be living in Canada, so I called around everyone I knew at record companies and performing rights societies, and--the last anyone had heard--he was living in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. I called all the Hewitts in the Niagara Falls phone book and found Ben Hewitt easily enough.
One afternoon I drove down, picking up Hank Davis on the way. It was probably the easiest interview either of us has ever done because it essentially consisted of turning on the tape recorder and saying, “Hi, Ben.“ We got the feeling that Ben Hewitt had told his stories about being a Mercury recording artist to anyone who would listen, but no one much was listening. Maybe that sort of thing doesn’t carry much cachet with the Tuscarora Indian community around the Falls. Suddenly, he had two people in his living room who were ready to be impressed. Hank brought along his copy of Ben Hewitt’s Whirlwind Blues as a token of our interest. The interview was one of the best shows Ben Hewitt had ever given.
We scratched together enough for a complete LP by Ben Hewitt, and it came out in 1984. Right afterwards, Hank Davis called Ben Hewitt and asked him what he thought. “It’s fine,“ said Ben Hewitt. “No problem.“ A pause. Finally, “Aw shit, there ain’t no use pretending, I cried when I saw it. It just felt so good. After all this time, to see something like that. It’s beautiful. I just couldn’t believe it.“ A year or so later, Ben Hewitt went to Europe to perform at Bear Family’s 10th Anniversary Show. He was drinking but he was a happy drunk. He went over really well, easily eclipsing Jack Scott, the ostensible star of the event. He recorded an album of new songs for Bear Family, which (with the addition of four songs) is the CD you have here. In it, you hear the humour and essential good-naturedness of Ben Hewitt, as well as his unabashed love of good old rock ‘n’ roll.
From time to time I wondered what had happened to Ben, but I didn’t know how to get hold of him. You get busy and tend to let these things slide. Then, sadly, Bear Family got a note from his daughter saying that he had died on December 8, 1996. He was 61. You won’t find him in any chart books and he won’t even make the footnotes of most histories of rock ‘n’ roll, but for all that his music said far more about the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll than anything you’ll see on MTV or hear in today’s strictly formatted corporate music environment.