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Rock Masters: Huey "Piano" Smith

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Album Review

For years, Huey "Piano" Smith lacked a comprehensive overview of his recording career, and no compilation ever appeared on CD in the United States. The budget-line label Music Club rectified that situation in 1998 with the release of This is Huey Piano Smith, an 18-track collection that features all of his hit singles for Ace plus several failed singles and New Orleans staples. Smith's hits and standards — "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu," "Don't You Just Know It," "High Blood Pressure," "Pop-Eye," the original version of "Sea Cruise," with his vocals instead of Frankie Ford's — are so good that it's an inevitable disappointment to find many of the songs here are blatant attempts to get back on the charts ("Tu-Ber-Cu-Lucas and the Sinus Blues," "Would You Believe It (I Have a Cold)"). These fall flat, as do a couple of the other cuts, but unfortunately, that's an accurate portrait of Smith's career — he had a handful of wonderful, essential songs and was a hell of a performer, but he wasn't a consistent hitmaker. Nevertheless, the strong stuff is so good — even essential — that this is still highly recommended for New Orleans R&B fans and R&B fans in general.

Customer Reviews

I Think They're Jiving Us

Huey Smith is one of the most influential and original performers in early r&b, but this is a real mish mash of a very few of his best combined with b-side stuff from much later in his career. Don't You Just Know It, Little Chickee Wa-Wa, and Rockin' Pneumonia (curiosly the original is the one labeled "alternate version) are three of his best (all with Bobby Marchan on lead vocal). If you like these I encourage you to search out more as there is a catalogue of at least a dozen more outstanding tunes that do not appear here.

Biography

Born: January 26, 1934 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Christmas

Years Active: '50s, '60s

Huey "Piano" Smith was an important part of the great New Orleans piano tradition, following in the footsteps of Professor Longhair and Fats Domino to take his place among the Crescent City's R&B elite. He was also one of R&B's great comedians, his best singles matching the Coasters for genial, good-time humor, although his taste often ran more towards nonsense lyrics. Smith's sound was too earthy to match the pop crossover appeal of Domino or the Coasters, which limited his exposure, and...
Full Bio
Rock Masters: Huey "Piano" Smith, Huey "Piano" Smith
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, R&B/Soul
  • Released: Apr 21, 1998

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