http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr37/Spooky_Sheena/jimmy-smith-hammond-b3-jazz-legend.jpg
My precious Momma bought me a Hammond B3, and I tried to jam just like Mr. Smith in the 60's. I even taught my 'Birdie', Evan a few tricks when I could. Jimmy made the organ
famous to me and had that distinctive soul sound like no other.
It is one of the classic injustices of the music business that credit is not always given where credit is due. The past few years have seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of the Hammond B3 organ. Artists like Medeski, Martin and Wood are now bringing the B3 back into the public eye especially to a younger audience. A mass of wood, pedals, stops and keys, the B3 is not an easy instrument to play but its sweet distinct sound is unmistakable. Not surprisingly, many listeners are unaware of the man who is truly the master of the B3: Jimmy Smith. Smith has not received the attention that his legacy and talents so richly deserve. Until now.

Dot Com Blues (Blue Thumb) is the new album by the supreme organist in music today. Featuring an all-star cast of supporting musicians including B.B. King, Etta James, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, and Keb Mo, Dot Com Blues proves that though Smith is often thought off as only a jazz organist, he can play the blues with the best of them, which he does literally on this album!

"When we speak about the Hammond B3," states Ron Goldstein, President of The Verve Music Group who worked closely with Smith on Dot Com Blues, "there is nobody better than Jimmy. Though the organ faded into obscurity for a while, now it's on everybody's records! I thought, 'why should the man who is the master remain in obscurity?' I figured the best way to swing the spotlight back around to Jimmy was to have him cut something outside of the jazz marketplace. Why not the blues?"

Goldstein brought in friend and producer John Porter, who has worked behind the boards with an eclectic range of musical acts, from The Smiths to The Go-Go's to John Lee Hooker & Eric Clapton. He's produced five GRAMMY -winning albums, and has also graced several breakthrough crossover blues albums; most notably Taj Mahal's acclaimed Phantom Blues and B.B. King's award-winning, all-star project, Deuces Wild. The result is an extra special, well-rounded, bluesy 11-song Jimmy Smith album that definitely stands up to his finest works.

Each and every track on Dot Com Blues sparkles with the spontaneity and chemistry that filled the studio. Gathering all this talent in the same recording studio was a rare feat. (Don Was and Bette Midler, who were cutting a record next door, stopped by just to watch.) A man of few words, Smith succinctly, but jokingly, described Etta as "fun," Taj as "crazy," and Dr. John as "a mess." With Smith on organ, Harvey Mason on drums, Verve labelmate Russell Malone on guitar, and Reggie McBride on bass, the core band sounds as if they've been playing together for years.


The album kicks off with "Only In It for the Money," featuring the inimitable Dr. John on vocals and piano. Smith opens the up-tempo shuffle with his trademark blazing organ licks. Next up is the organist's own tune, the funky instrumental "8 Counts for Rita," which has standout solos from Smith and Malone, along with the added flavor of Lenny Castro's percussion.

Taj Mahal delivers a scintillating performance on his composition "Strut." Comping tastefully behind Taj and Smith for most of the tune, Malone steps to the forefront for a searing solo that is one of the album's high points. Smith grabs the spotlight on the next track, the blues perennial "C.C. Rider."

In a true meeting of legends, Etta James offers up a smoldering vocal on Willie Dixon's "I Just Wanna Make Love To You," confirming that her vocal chords are clearly as strong as ever. Smith's spry playing on this track is ably assisted by the Texicali Horns and Was (Not Was) vocalists Sir Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson.

The tone of the album shifts wonderfully for the next track to Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo". While listening to playbacks during the session, Smith dozed off momentarily and when he awoke, he immediately corralled the other musicians (including the fabulous John Clayton on upright bass) back into the studio to cut a strong, spontaneous version of this standard.

Contemporary blues star Keb Mo, a longtime Smith fan, was thrilled to contribute his vocals and guitar licks to Smith's lowdown rendition of Keb's newly-penned "Over and Over." B.B. King was also happy to team up with Smith, and their collaboration, "Three O'Clock Blues," finds the old friends reuniting and proving why they are living legends.

The disc's title track, "Dot Com Blues," is inspired by Jimmy's observations on the troubles our high-tech world has created. It not only features classic Smith organ work, but another stand-out solo by Malone as well. This track is followed by the funky instrumental "Mr. Johnson" which again pairs Smith with Dr. John. The latter's influence is clear as the tune features a classic New Orleans vibe.

Dot Com Blues concludes, fittingly, with "Tuition Blues," a slow blues and showcase for Smith's peerless organ prowess; he's still capable of stunning listeners.

Switching into a blues gear in the new millenium, Smith makes the jump to the Verve Music Group's eclectic Blue Thumb label for this new record. By showcasing his enormous talents and including a few old friends, Jimmy Smith's Dot Com Blues should finally bring this master musician the recognition he deserves.

Jimmy Smith, who made the organ into a standard instrument in jazz, died February 9, 2005. Smith began his career in the early 1950s and is credited with creating the distinctive sound of "soul jazz."

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Comment by JazzWorld on December 1, 2008 at 4:16pm
Wow..no, thank YOU!
Comment by gmack on July 2, 2008 at 10:30am
Thanks edie
Comment by gmack on July 2, 2008 at 10:30am
I kick off with Jimmy Smith as a young man. I never knew of a black who wrote music for a movie until then.... Walk On The Wild Side.. Then later in life we met at the Gate in NYC and later with my sons as a single parent we met again In Sacramento Calif and I learn that was his home.

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Introspection

Spotlight | Maze




The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 


As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.

 

The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
   
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
   
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
 



Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Sounds

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪

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