Johnny "Hammond" Smith

Johnny Hammond Smith Cooks with Gator Tail

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This Smith/Jackson joint session is typical early-'60s Prestige soul-jazz, with all the good and bad that implies. The good? It hits a lockstep earthy groove with funky organ by Smith, smoky sax from Jackson, and some smooth guitar from Eddie McFadden. The bad? Well, it's not bad, really, just predictable. The compositions usually have easygoing, unchallenging bluesy progressions, and the whole thing has the agreeable ambience of a good-time bar where the music fades more into the background the longer it continues. Smith wrote four of the seven songs, the program balanced by Jackson's "Y'All" and covers of "Besame Mucho" and the traditional "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." "Sonja's Dreamland" goes the furthest into ballad territory, while "Neckbones" swings the hardest. The album was combined with Hammond's 1965 LP The Stinger on the Smith CD compilation Good 'Nuff.

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