Midnight Special

Al Smith

Midnight Special OBCCD 583 2
  • CAT # OBCCD-583-25

    1. Five Long Years 7:01
    2. You're A Sweetheart 4:34
    3. Don't Worry 'Bout Me 3:33
    4. Ride On Midnight Special 2:36
    5. The Bells 4:12
    6. Goin' To Alabama 3:22
    7. I'll Never Let You Go 3:40
    8. I Can't Make It By Myself 3:31

Al Smith was a “soul-blues singer” before critics invented the term. The Ohio-born vocalist had been a member of Leon Lumpkins’s innovative Gospel Clefs, and his singing retained the same “hugely surging passion,” in the words of Nat Hentoff, after he made the transition to rhythm and blues. This 1960 session, the second of Smith’s two for Prestige/Bluesville, found him applying his amazingly elastic tenor pipes with soul-stirring urgency to a set of blues and ballads, with the solid support of an r&b combo featuring the barking Texas tenor saxophone of King Curtis, the biting Chicago blues guitar of Jimmy Lee Robinson, and the big-toned, church-hewn organ of Robert Banks.

with King Curtis, Robert Banks, Jimmy Lee Robinson, Leonard Gaskin, Bobby Donaldson

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Although Al Smith was a gospel singer by trade, having toured with the Gospel Clefs, he dabbled in the blues. And while he had no intention of… More