Jimmy Smith recorded for Blue Note so frequently during the late '50s that many of his sessions remained unreleased for years. The music that comprises Lonesome Road sat in the vaults for years, until the Japanese division of Blue Note released the album in the '80s. Since Smith had so many albums on the market, it's understandable that Blue Note wanted to limit the number of records they released from him, but the music on Lonesome Road is almost as fine as that on The Sermon or Groovin' at Small's Paradise. Smith, guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey play a selection of eight standards, but the songs don't sound stale; they sound fresh and alive. A few of the ballads are a little slow and treacly, but many of the numbers cook, with a couple of the songs featuring Smith at his hottest. It doesn't have the mastery he would later demonstrate on Back at the Chicken Shack, nor is it quite as consistent as The Sermon, but Lonesome Road is worthwhile for any fan of Smith.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine