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‘DUSTER’ BENNETT

Anthony ‘Duster’ Bennett was born on 23 September 1946. Based around London, his first album ‘Smiling Like I’m Happy’ saw him playing as a one-man-band, playing a bass drum with his foot and blowing a harmonica on a rack while strumming a 1952 Les Paul Gold-top guitar given to him in 1968 by Peter Green. Backed by his girlfriend Stella Sutton and the original Fleetwood Mac on three tracks, the album was well-received.

Duster Bennett was born in Welshpool, Powys, Wales .Emerging in the late 1960s from the art school music scene of Kingston-upon-Thames and Guilford, Bennett was a one-man blues band with virtuosity and co-ordination on drums, guitar and harmonica. His live sets combined his own compositions with Jimmy Reed-style blues standards often aided by friends Peter Green and Top Topham. He was a session musician in the early 1960s playing harmonica. Between 1968 and 1970 he was played on John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’, toured and eventually joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers as band member and also as a solo act on a US tour in 1970. In the 1970s he drifted off into more mainstream material.

Duster’s music was country Blues with the occasional gospel music offering, but his last album ‘Fingertips’ (1975) differs from the earlier records; it was made with influences of soul and funk. Bennett recorded three albums and a string of singles for Blue Horizon (including as far as I know the only ‘complete works’ collection).

‘Bright Lights’ was recorded live at the Gin Mill Club. Bennett’s ‘Jumping at Shadows’ was subsequently covered by Fleetood Mac and revived in 1992 by Gary Moore, who covered it in his ‘After Hours’ album. Attempts to gain wider appeal with Mickie Most were unsuccessful. For decades, a clutch of live and home recordings on Indigo seemed to be all that remained of his work until the 2006 release of the ‘Complete’ Blue Horizon Sessions.

After performing with Memphis Slim on 26 March 1976, Bennett was driving home in a Ford Transit van in Warwickshire when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The van collided with a truck and sadly, ‘Duster’ Bennett was killed.

 

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