Jimmy Smith – Chain of Fools Pt1

By , July 26, 2016 11:23 am


Jimmy Smith: The Master Wrestling With the Monster


Listen/Download – Jimmy Smith – Chain of Fools Pt1 MP3

Greetings all.

I was wandering through the hallways of the windmills of the caverns of my iPod and it occurred to me that we could all stand a dose of some midweek Hammond.

Who better to whup a little B3 on us all that the elevated past master of the organ, the mighty Jimmy Smith.

Smith is an interesting character in the annals of the Hammond – at least as far as organ 45 nuts like me go – because while he is the best known of the instruments proponents from the classic era, and recorded both as a straight ahead jazzer and a soul jazz/funk guy, he hasn’t ever really been my go-to guy for heavy, really greasy organ sides.

This has a lot to do with the fact that while a master musician, Smith was also probably the most mainstream organist of his time, with long associations with both Blue Note and Verve records. He was prolific, and fairly good-selling, so his records pop up a lot more commonly than most of his contemporaries.

He was also consistently an LP artist – thanks to his major label gigs – so he wasn’t dependent on, or laying his best stuff down for, the 45RPM format (as opposed to a guy like Hank Marr who did some of his best stuff on the smaller discs).

That said, he was no slouch, and when he wanted to he could dish out the grits and gravy with the best of them.

One of my fave Smith 45s is his version of the Don Covay (and Aretha Franklin, naturally) classic ‘Chain of Fools’ from his 1968 LP ‘Stay Loose’, on the cover of which he is inexplicably dressed in skydiving gear, and jumping up and down (though his previous album ‘Respect’ had him doing karate poses in a gi, so maybe it was in his contract).

Featuring snappy, in the pocket drums by Grady Tate and some very tasty guitar from a moonlighting Phil Upchurch (the LP was recorded in NYC), as well as a female backing chorus, Smith wails on the tune, managing to (in this first of two-parts) really do the track justice.

As Hammond 45s go, ‘Chain of Fools’ is pretty hot, and I’m sure it got more than a few feet moving when their owners dropped a nickel in the jukebox.

It would also seem that ‘Chain of Fools’ had some success (it charted locally in New York) since it was repressed a bunch of times and even got a European release.

So, if by some strange coincidence this is the first time you’ve heard Smith’s stuff (which I doubt, but bear with me) head out to your nearest used record store, garage sale or flea market and add some more Jimmy Smith to your crates, though a truckload of his Blue Note and Verve titles are available digitally, as well.

So dig it, and I’ll see you all on Friday.

Keep the faith





Also, the brand new Funky16Corners ‘Keep Calm and Stay Funky’ stickers have arrived! The stickers are 4″ x 3″ and printed on high quality, glossy stock. They are $2.00 each, with free shipping in the US ($2.00 per order shipping outside of the US). Click here to go to the ordering page.

PS Head over to Iron Leg too.

One Response to “Jimmy Smith – Chain of Fools Pt1”

  1. jb says:

    Thank you sir. Grandma said there’s always room for Jello, and on any day there’s always room for the Master.

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