From 1968 until the early ’80s, Little Rock’s True Soul Records established a reputation for putting out rough-edged, positively visceral soul and funk records, of which Ren Smith’s “Smog” is only one example. The track—supposedly written by Smith after a visit to Los Angeles—is included on Now-Again Records’ 2011 four-LP compilation True Soul: Deep Sounds from the Left of Stax, which assembles what I can only assume is a fairly comprehensive look at the Arkansas label’s output. Joining Smith on this track is saxophonist York Wilborn, whose recordings with his group Psychedelic Six are also well-represented on the comp. Smith himself is still active, playing with surviving True Soul alumni Thomas East, John Craig, and Clifford Hawkins as Lorenzo Smith and the True Soul Band.
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