Benton, Franz - 1986 Talking To A Wall

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Franz Benton
ALBUM: Talking To A Wall
LABEL: Marlboro Music
SERIAL: 257 924
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Franz Benton - vocals * Phil Palmer - guitar * Andy Pask - bass * Julian Marshall - keyboards * Stuart Elliott - drums

Gary Barnacle - sax * Peter Thomas - trombone * Luke Tunney - trumpet * Phil Todd - woodwinds * Shena Power - cello

TRACK LISTING: 01 We Are Awaking * 02 Talking To A Wall * 03 Venice * 04 Picking Up The Pieces (I Don't Remember) * 05 How I Wish You Were Here * 06 Don't Go * 07 Bianca * 08 Fool * 09 You're Flying Away * 10 Watching The Children

WEBLINK: Site Link


We've been promoting yacht rock at GDM all year, and just as we sign off on the calendar year, we should make mention of this German musician who exemplifies all there is about yachts and west coast.

His name is Franz Benton, and this is his debut which is a tasteful pop-rock affair settled nicely in the mid 80's groove.

'Talking To A Wall' is a pretty decent for a debut, recorded in London and backed by a series of British musicians as per the lineup above.

Though not completely aimed at the lush tropical musical climate of west coast, there's enough evidence to suggest that Franz has borrowed from the songbook of Chris DeBurgh and at a touch transplanted Scotsman to Germany: Ian Cussick.

The Songs

'We Are Awaking' is the lead-off, which sounds like an anthem for the children world. Big choruses amid a punchy arrangement gives the album a head start.

The title-track is second up, which takes the cruisy route with a mellow arrangement complimented by a sultry saxophone.

'Venice' might suggest a certain suburb in El-Lay, but the orchestral sounds emanating from this one keeps this firmly in Symphonic central.

'Picking Up The Pieces (I Don't Remember)' tempts us to believe this could be a Go West outtake, a funky and upbeat number with more sax to boot.

'How I Wish You Were Here' is the first of the ballads, and it's a wistful affair which emphasises Benton's vocal, an ideal fit for this style of song.

'Don't Go' shifts from a restrained start to full blown AOR affair by the time we arrive at the chorus, which is pretty catchy.

'Bianca' is a return to the sexy and sultry, keeping to the jazz pop side of things. Quite seductive, and as Benton sings: 'Bianca means beautiful..' .

Then we get to the album's best moment, that being the impressive AOR of 'Fool'. If the world was a better place, this should've been a hit single for Franz back in 1986. Yes, it's that good.

'You're Flying Away' is another wistful soaring ballad, again tempered by a soulful sax and plaintive vocals.

The album concludes pretty much as it started with the anthem 'Watching The Children'. Lyrically it's an intriguing read, aimed at the perspective of ouf kids rather than the parents.

In Summary

An album worth checking out if mid-80's AOR and associated styles is your thing. There is a Fileshare for this on GDM, you'd do well to check it out.

Judging by what I heard on this set, I'd be quite encouraged to check out Franz' back-catalogue, particularly as there's a dozen or so studio albums following this going from 1988 right through to 2017 - according to Discogs.

There may very well be more jewels to find among the rocks.


Don't Go (Live)

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