Clemmon Smith

Clemmon Smith Came from New Orleans, another of the seemingly endless stream of talent from that most musical of US cities. His earliest 45a are the Eight Ball and the Alon. The ballad side of the latter 45 is ListenAll Alone which is set in a dead slow beat and accompanied by a girl chorus above which Smith sings about his plight. This is a charming little ballad which could have been cut nowhere except Louisiana. His Alon single ListenThe Sweetest I Knew is in a similar style and features the same rather cheesy organ - indeed they could even have been cut at the same session - but has a really strange horn line, not based on the standard chord structure at all. It takes some getting used to but after a couple of plays it really sinks in.

But his best effort has to be ListenI Want To Thank You Baby for Wardell Quezergue's Big Q label. It is obvious after only a couple of bars that this was cut at Malaco - that syncopated drums/bass combination is unmistakeable. But since this 45 didn't get another release it is clear that Clemmon Smith didn't fare as well as many of the Crescent City artists who went up to Jackson, MS to record. It's a real pity as the song is a really fine melodic beat ballad featuring the usual quality arrangement from the great man. And Smith never sounded more convincing or gritty.

The sweetest I know - ALON 9037 I want to thank you baby - BIG Q 1001


ListenAll alone / Land of love ~ EIGHT BALL 1563 (1967?)
The thrill is gone / ListenThe sweetest I know ~ ALON 9037 (1967)
ListenI want to thank you baby / Life ain't worth living ~ BIG Q 1001 (1972)
Are you sleeping brotherman / Pt 2 ~ INSTANT 3300 (1974)


Thanks to Peter Hoogers and Bob McGrath for the Instant 45 details.


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