After seven high-quality years with Blue Note, organist Jimmy Smith switched over to the Verve label for a lengthy and fruitful run lasting from 1963 until the early '70s (Smith would eventually return to the company for two fine albums in the mid-'90s). This 1965 Verve release, Got My Mojo Workin', finds the B-3 innovator mixing it up with organ and guitar combo swingers and big band charts compliments of arranger Oliver Nelson. On the first half of the disc, Smith delves into the day's chart-topping terrain with passable shots at the Stevie Wonder hit "High Heel Sneakers," Jagger and Richard's "Satisfaction," and the pop candy of "1-2-3." While Smith certainly avails himself nicely on the organ, his grunt-and-sweat vocal interjections threaten to derail things. This askew, Ray Charles-esque vocalizing continues on the Muddy Waters title track, but thankfully takes a hike for the trio of big band cookers -- including fine readings of Billy Strayhorn's "Johnny Come Lately" and Ellington's "C-Jam Blues" -- that close out the album. Aided by the stellar likes Kenny Burrell, Ernie Royal, Phil Woods, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate, Got My Mojo Workin' is not a top Smith release, but one dedicated fans will probably want to check out. ~ Stephen Cook
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- That Jimmy Smith Sound (Various Artists)