Born Benjamin Edison in the mid-1930’s, this relatively low-key artist became better known as Benny Joy. Rather unconventional compared to the peers of his time, Joy emerged in the late-1950’s and hit the music world with his charged rockabilly sounds. Accompanied by his band, he also became of of the first US rockabilly groups to tour Europe and though he never quite broke through to the ‘big time’, artists such as Marty Robbins, Jackie Wilson, Charlie Rich, Burl Ives and many more have recorded his songs!
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Benny Joy was also a guitarist as well as a vocalist and though he was represented for a time by Platters manager Buck Ram, his handful of (now rare) singles didn’t take him far. It’s crazy really, he had all the perfect ingredients to gain the acclaim he deserved, but for one reason or another (perhaps hindered by the declining craze for rockabilly and the fact here were bigger names doing a similar thing) he just didn’t make it. Joy was also one of the relatively few minor rock artists to tour Europe in the late ’50s – he did so twice, in fact.
After parting with Buck Ram, Joy recorded for Decca without success and in the 1960’s became a country songwriter, supplying some material for Stonewall Jackson. Like many obscure rockabilly acts, Joy enjoyed renewed appreciation in England after British collectors discovered his work, particularly for his 1958 single Crash the Party..
Most of Benny’s songs that I’ve heard (so far) are charged and energetic, but I’m Doubtful Of Your Love, which was issued in 1959 I think, goes against that dynamic. This is why I really like this song, it’s got that stand-on-the-fringes edginess about it and I love how his vocals come out in a wonderfully dejected slur, whilst that tango-esque melody is bright and vivacious. Especially those dancing piano keys! It’s a lovely juxtaposition…
Check it out above.