Album Remarks & Appraisals:
His real name was Benito Rodriguez Rey, and he was born in Cadiz in 1929. He started his professional life as a dancer in the company of Manolo Caracol and Lola Flores, but in 1955 he joined Lola's company as a cantaor. Unfortunately, during his career he often squandered his money and mismanaged his affairs. He joined the "Ballets Pilar Lopez", but a serious illness in 1959 prevented him from continuing. He was believed to be dying and a benefit concert was given for him in Cadiz, where there were performances from the likes of La Nina de los Peines, her husband Pepe Pinto, the young Paquera de Jerez, La Perla de Cadiz, Antonio Mairena, the formidable Terremoto de Jerez, and many more. Beni recovered, however, and re-appeared the following year in the best tablaos in Madrid, and during the summer in the Flamenco festivals in Andalusia. In 1971 at the National Competition of Cordoba he was awarded prizes in several categories, including the Prize of Honor. Then his illness struck again, but he continued to appear in the tablaos and penas of Andalusia, especially in Seville. In 1976 he was given the supreme reward, the National Cante Prize, but after that he fell into decline, often roaming from bar to bar in Seville. His recorded works are scattered all over the place, with very few labels possessing an entire record, but what remains still smolders with the mysterious fire that seemed to devour him - that which is called the duende flamenco.