Jimmy Smith – Black Smith (1974)


Jimmy Smith
Black Smith
Pride Records PD 6011Ripped from a new reissue on Pride Records (Atlantic) only played once prior to transfer

1. Hang ‘Em High
2. I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More
3. Joy
4. Ooh Poo Pah Doo
5. Why Can’t We Live Together
6. Groovin’
7. Pipeline
8. Wildflower
9. Something You Got

Producer – Jerry Peters , Michael Viner
Cover painting by Klaus Voormann

I doubt Jimmy Smith was aiming for irony but this record is basically tailor-made to piss off the jazz purists. I know that’s like shooting fish in a barrel but he really tries on this one. There aren’t too many jazz organists who can, with aplomb and grace, mix up Western soundtrack music (“Hang ‘Em Hang”, which sort of makes sense being that Clint Eastwood is such a jazz fan), Barry White (“I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More”), Johann Sebastian Bach (“Joy”), surf rock (“Pipeline,” previously recorded by The Chantays and The Ventures), and The Young Rascals (“Groovin'”). But more surprising is the indisputable fact that he can pull it off, with no small credit going to arrangers Jerry Peters and Michael Viner, the later of whom must have had a big hand in the repertoire selection. The one song that falls flat here is Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doh,” although I am biased because its a song that I just don’t like. It might have done better here if Smith had not made a stab at singing it — Hell, if I don’t like it when Tina Turner sang it, I’m not going to dig Jimmy Smith giving it a turn. I am guessing that the first mix of this tune probably used an arrangement like some of the other tracks here that have a few female vocalists singing only some parts from the choruses and leaving the rest instrumental; ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doh’, for all its New Orleans glory, just doesn’t have that much going on in it musically and so I can imagine Smith and company being frustrated at the mixing desk and decided to record a take or two of lead vocals for the entire song. Bad move.

I suppose another reason for jazz snobs to hate on this album would be the use of uncredited session musicians.

This may not be the landmark that ‘Root Down’ was a few years before it, but this is still a cool album, long-cherished by crate diggers and beat seekers.
———————————————-

REVIEW FROM DUSTY GROOVE:
A record that’s way way different than the sound of Jimmy Smith Blue Note work — and a much-loved set by fans of 70s funk! Jimmy’s organ is still very strongly out front of the arrangements — but it’s soaring over the top of grooves done by Jerry Peters and Michael “Incredible Bongo Band” Viner — tracks that have a harder, hipper style than most of Smith’s other recordings from the time — in a groove that often comes close to the best blacksploitation soundtracks of the time! The drums are plenty heavy on many numbers here — kicking in a hard and heavy bottom that gives the record a few key breaks — and other numbers even use a bit of chorus vocals, but in a way that never overwhelms the tracks, just supports them with a nice righteous edge. Titles include the classic break version of “I’m Gonna Love You Just A Little More Babe”, plus “Something You Got”, “Wildflower”, “Hang Em High”, “Groovin”, “Pipeline”, “Why Can’t We Live Together”, and “Joy”.

————————————————————-

VINYL RIP specs. Ripped in December 2008 on the old rig ->
Music Hall MMF.5 Turntable with Goldring 1012GX cartridge, Gyger II diamond stylus, and MK II XLR Ringmat –> Projekt Speedbox II -> Parasound Z Phono Preamp -> Marantz PMD 661 digital recorder at 24/96khz. Declicked on very light settings with Click Repair -> DC Offset and track splitting in Adobe Audition 2.0

Dithering to 16-bit in Isotope Rx (I think! Honestly don’t recall). Converted to FLAC and mp3 with DbPoweramp

 

Liked it? Take a second to support Dr. Vibes on Patreon!
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply