Search - Smiley Lewis :: Best of

Best of
Smiley Lewis
Best of
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1


CD Details

All Artists: Smiley Lewis
Title: Best of
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Capitol
Release Date: 11/3/1992
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 077779882427

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CD Reviews

Shame Shame Shame indeed
Jason Kruppa | New Orleans, LA United States | 05/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Smiley Lewis' obscurity is a travesty shared, unfortunately, by many New Orleans rhythm and blues artists. From the postwar period up to the early sixties, New Orleans flourished as a musical Mecca, a fact that is regrettably ignored in the face of much Sun Records/Sam Phillips/Elvis Presley hyping that prefers myth to history. Lewis was an important part of the Crescent City scene: his voice was panoramic, a mighty, blue sound that is as overwhelming now as it was fifty years ago; those that knew him and saw him perform remark that he didn't need a microphone. His material, produced and often written by the canny Dave Bartholomew for Imperial records, was uniformly strong, often brilliant. His self-penned first record in 1950, "Tee Nah Nah," for example, is one of the most haunting blues ever recorded.Typically, Lewis was the voice of the hard working, hard playing man, and there is ample evidence that he lived the life about which he sang. His quintessential song may be Bartholomew's "Blue Monday," which details the misery of the hard work week one day at a time and rejoices in the release brought by the weekend. Not a revolutionary idea now, to be sure, but it's a tight piece of writing and after a couple of listens you're right in the groove with Lewis and Bartholomew's epochal band (which, over dozens of sessions with dozens of artists, laid down the blueprint for Elvis and everything after). "The Bells are Ringing," "Lillie Mae," "I Hear You Knocking," "One Night" - hell, all the rest - are on regular rotation on an oldies station in some alternate universe where people who record great music, if not given stardom, are at least spared the indignity of having their efforts largely forgotten.While sadly never anywhere as successful as labelmate Fats Domino, Lewis' music came from a similar if sometimes more bleak well. This is propulsive New Orleans rhythm and blues (some of which was recorded before anyone imagined calling it rock and roll) and is as essential a purchase as a good Fats Domino collection for anyone interested in learning about this city's music. If you can afford the Bear Family box set of 4 CDs (everything Lewis recorded), you'll be rewarded with an insightful essay by musicologist Rick Coleman that reveals the difficult man behind the music, but for the more budget minded this one disc set is an excellent overview full of songs no one should be shy about calling classics."
Who Remembers Smiley Lewis?
Eclectic Revisited | Arizona | 11/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There was a wealth of really good bouncing Black music during the 1950s but there was much segregation to the point that it only played on all-black stations. As I often mention in reviews, the young Elvis Presley was a fan and recorded a lot of it, first for Sun Records where for a time Sam Phillips had a lot of black recording artists (the music didn't sell well). After Elvis moved to RCA, he recorded "One Night" but the still puritanical times dictated that " night of sin is what I'm now paying for.." be changed to something more tame. Of course the original by Smiley Lewis (the good version) is in this package. Contrary to what another reviewer said, Smiley's "I Hear You Knockin'" was a hit for him, just not to the degree of Gale Storm's. Black music still did not get the air play it deserved, but it was being recorded by white singers left and right afte Elvis' success. Smiley Lewis had another real hit, "Shame, Shame, Shame" way back in 1952 before most of us white boys ever heard the expression "rock and roll" (a black euphemism of the time for sex and not an Alan Freed creation). Fats Domino did justice to his "Blue Monday" and here's hoping Smiley got some royalties (sometimes Fats didn't even get them). Smiley, who was born Overton Lemons, died of stomach cancer in 1966, unfortunately just a footnote in music history. He was only 53. This package captures the great sound of a very different time and I highly recommend it."
Great JUMP BLUES, taht will get you jumpin'n'jivin'
rockabilly-greaser | iowa | 05/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This music is 100& GREAT and PURE jump blues. Smiley Lewis' piano playing is the greatest among the New Orleans piano players of teh 50's(including Fats Domino). Lewis' playing is more jump and boogie oriendted, as apposed to Dominos' more commercial oriented riffs. Also Lewis' vocals are wild, and loud like Big Joe Turner. This cd is great and features all his essential sides. Lewis' version of Blue Monday is difinitive. This cd features good time vocals, great boogie and early rockin' rollin' jump blues piano along with wailing and honking saxaphones. Teriffic jump blues cd, and if you are into rockabilly, you'll enjoy this as much as a Carl Perkins cd, and if you like blues, or Joe Turner or rock'n'roll or Fats Domino, you'll love this cd, and Smiley. In fact you'll love this cd so much you'll be smiley all the time!!! I listen to this cd in my garage while I work on my 1951 Lincoln Mercury! Just buy the Smiley Lewis cd, you'll love it."