Little Jimmy Smith – Rock That Boogie

10th December 2021 · 1940s, 1949, Music, Rock'n'Roll

I can’t find out much about Jimmy Smith, except that this one is not the famous jazz musician of the same name, who popularised the Hammond B-3 organ that became a signature sound in soul music.

He may be Little Jimmy Smith; he might by Kansas City Jimmy Smith (though I can’t imagine why, as he apparently came from South Carolina); and he may well be James P. Smith, who performed with his brothers regularly in New York.

Beyond that, it’s hard to be certain – but the song certainly merits a mention in the annals of early rock’n’roll from the late 1940s.

Rock That Boogie was recorded in California, on 22 August 1949, and the story goes that Smith knew the jazz pianist Sammy Price, who had played on another of those formative tunes, Hole In The Wall by Albennie Jones.

That was recorded in the early months of 1949, so it’s entirely possible that it’s Price who plays the rollicking piano on this song, which is so obscure it only seems to be found on a compilation album called Obscure Blues Shouters, Volume 1.

Jimmy Smith is certainly one of those, and even if this is the only song he recorded (I can’t find any others) he deserves his place at the top table of influences on rock’n’roll.