1001 Albums 0028-0029

Published February 17, 2013

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0028: Jimmy Smith: Back At The Chicken Shack (1960)

Considering its ubiquity on recorded music throughout the Sixties, it's hard to understand that there was a time when the electric organ was regarded as anything but hip. But then along came Jimmy Smith, who is largely credited with making it a very cool instrument indeed.

This album is supposedly one of his very best, although I have to say that to my ears it sounds as if the Hammond organ takes a back seat to Stanley Turrentine's saxophone and guitarist Kenny Burrell.

I found this album a bit boring, to tell you the truth. I wouldn't mind it plyaing as background music in a bar or at a dinner party, but it's nothing I would listen to as "an album".

Verdict: Not enough Hammond organ.

0029: Muddy Waters: Muddy Waters At Newport (1960)

Full disclosure: I am not a blues fan. I do realise that it's the basis of much of modern popular music, but in it's purest, most rootsy form, it just doesn't speak to me most of the time. So Muddy Waters being something of a blues legend I approached this album - which inspired many of the names that went on to form some of the most famous names in Sixties and Seventies rock - with some trepidation.

I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed this a lot more than I had expected, and if nothing else it was interesting to hear some of the blues classics in the versions that inspired the many other recordings that followed. If you're a blues fan I can certainly understand that this album would appeal to you. The band is really, really tight, there's plenty of excitement and energy in the performance, and Muddy Waters is a great singer.

At the end of the day, however, this is not my cup of tea and it's not an album I will seek out again.

Verdict: A great recording, but of limited appeal to this particular listener.


Jimmy Smith: Back At The Chicken Shack.


Muddy Waters: Muddy Waters At Newport.