Music » CD Reviews

Kenny Smith

One More Day (Shake It)

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Cincinnati's Shake It Records has been documenting the Ohio Valley's vibrant music scene since its milestone first release, a long-overdue anthology of Midwest punk legends the Customs.

The imprint's Cincinnati Soul Spectrum Series aims to archive far more than just vintage soul music, but it's fitting that One More Day kicks things off, unveiling the career of one of the city's finest unsung stars. Active between the years 1964 and '73, Kenny Smith never recorded for King Records — the Cincinnati powerhouse that detonated the genre via James Brown — but it certainly wasn't for lack of talent.

Worshiped in Northern Soul circles for his desperately pleading "Lord, What's Happened?," Smith devastates on track after track, from the horn-drenched soul of "My Day Is Coming" to the wily "Here Comes the Law" and the drum-break tour de force "Go for Yourself." Melodic ballads like "Deep in My Heart" and "Same Old Story" reveal Smith's roots in doo-wop, while "Keep On Walkin' Baby" walks the line between tough R&B and garage punk.

The one constant in Smith's music is its directness, which lends it a timeless edge that lifts One More Day to the top of the soul reissue sweepstakes.

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