Jazz organ genius Jimmy Smith cracked the Billboard Hot 100 charts no fewer than 12 times. One of his biggest successes, “Hobo Flats,” achieved that feat on May 18, 1963. Ranking somewhat incongruously just below Chubby Checker’s “Bird Land” and just above Jack Jones’ “Call Me Irresponsible,” the single was reissued after the chart success of the album of the same name.
Hobo Flats was Smith’s second album for Verve and was arranged by Oliver Nelson, who would work with Smith on a number of albums. This set peaked at No.11 on the Billboard chart, but Smith’s single would also find an audience overseas, on his EP titled Swinging With The Incredible Jimmy Smith.
Extended play releases, or EPs, usually featuring three or four tracks, were extremely popular in the 1960s. They appealed to those who wanted more than a 45rpm single but perhaps didn’t want to commit to, or just couldn’t afford, a full album. Trade magazine Record Retailer published EP charts in the UK from the end of 1959 until 1967, but these don’t usually feature in chart history books, or in the Official Charts Company’s own archives.
A lesser-known chart entry
Nevertheless, the EP charts make for fascinating reading, and often include now-rare, long-deleted releases and surprising appearances among the bestsellers. Record Retailer’s ten-position EP rundown for July 23, 1966 shows the Walker Brothers at No.1 with I Need You and the Beach Boys at No.2 with a Hits EP. The Walker Brothers’ release was in the fourth week of an epic ten-week stint at the top, both preceded and succeeded by the Beach Boys’ EP, which featured four of their best-loved songs to that point.
Smith’s EP cropped up at No.10 on that lesser-known countdown. The three-track EP was assembled by Verve Records from a number of his recent albums, and although the disc itself is long deleted, the great tracks from it live on.
Buy or stream Jimmy Smith’s Verve Ultimate Cool album, featuring “Hobo Flats.”