One Worth Hearing

I was listening to Greg Proops’ podcast, “The Smartest Man in the World” (aka “The Proopcast”), and his wife, Jennifer, dropped in a bit of a recent Blue Note Records release from Dr. Lonnie Smith and Iggy Pop. I liked it and maybe you will too.

Dr. Lonnie Smith has been playing the Hammond B-3 organ since his teens. He started in a band with Grover Washington Jr., played as both a sideman and a band leader for decades, and now at 78, has released his 29th solo album, “Breathe.” Smith is either called “Doctor” because he likes to “doctor up” melodies with improvisations – or maybe because he didn’t want to be confused with keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith.

A lot of “Breathe” is 2017 live cuts, recorded about the same time as Smith’s 2018 record “All in My Mind.” The first and last tracks though are new studio work, both covers with Iggy Pop on vocals and Blue Note President Don Was producing. (Was also took that photo of the two up top.) A big part of the collaboration is that both Smith and Pop live in the Miami area now and Pop sat in on some of Smith’s live shows.

The first song on “Breathe” is Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together.” Even if you don’t know the tune, it’ll sound familiar because Drake sampled it for “Hotline Bling.” Here’s the final track on the record, Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” Iggy Pop is in the crooner mode he’s progressed to over the last decade. The song’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a lot of fun.