Album no. 28/1001
Jimmy Smith helped popularise the Hammond B-3 electric organ, so how you feel about electric organs will influence how you feel about Jimmy Smith. One of us liked him, one of us didn’t.
Jimmy played a few different instruments before settling on the organ. According to wikipedia “He purchased his first Hammond organ, rented a warehouse to practice in and emerged after little more than a year.” That seems crazy! Did he have food brought in to him? Did he take time out to see the sun? Did he practice by himself, or were there folks he was jamming with? Where did you get this information wikipedia? I want to know more! Where are your references?
Have you listened to this album before?
CL: With an album title like that… no. I really don’t know what I’m getting myself into here.
NK: Never heard of Jimmy and/or the Chicken Shack.
CL: This is kind of like if jazz and country music got together and got funky. There’s still no lyrics though, and all the songs go for about a million hours, so that’s a downer. It was very difficult for me to pick a standout track because they all blurred into one. Like, I actually can’t pick one.
NK: The title track is the best, but I enjoyed the whole thing. I thought it was more bluesy than country. The songs are long, but they’re pretty relaxed. They don’t try and play too many notes, the solos are pretty reserved. You might have to be in the right mood for this.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
CL: Maybe on a farm? But maybe that’s just in my head because of the title of this stupid record. So given the absence of a farm, just don’t listen to it. It’s rubbish.
NK: I respectfully disagree. Listen to this when you want to relax. It’s in no hurry to go anywhere, everyone takes turns to have a go, very chill all round.
Why has this album been included on the list?
CL: Perhaps this is one of the first albums to really feature the organ as a key instrument. According to 1001 Albums:
“Smith transformed the organ’s lamentable image with his soulful synthesis of bebop, blues, and gospel, creating a powerfully grooving new sound.”
Sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good album guys.
NK: Yeah I read that he “…helped popularise the Hammond B-3 electric organ, creating an indelible link between 1960s soul and jazz improvisation”. But there are a couple of things that stand out about this. The organ is obviously something different, but the makeup of the band overall is pretty different. No bass, just organ, guitar, drums and sax. Pretty unusual compared to most of the jazz we’ve heard. Reminds me of Booker T and the MGs, who I am really looking forward to. They’re the 1960s soul part of the equation I guess.
Will you be listening again?
CL: God this was boring. No. Bleh. It put me in a bad mood because it just kept going and going and going and I would have rather listened to anything else. Old mate should have gone back to the chicken shack and stayed there. Permanently.
NK: I’m surprised you hated it so much! I can see it being boring, but it’s pretty inoffensive. I’ll listen to it again if I’m in the right mood. It’s very soothing.