1LP Vinyl – LPSBCS9
Exposing a jazz purist to most recordings involving Fonce and Larry Mizell is much like shoving a vampire into daylight. Gambler's Life, the first of two Johnny "Hammond" Smith albums featuring the brothers' ambitious handiwork, isn't an exception. Watch a purist seek shelter in his dank cave whenever this album is within earshot. Smith switches to Fender Rhodes for most of the material, and the Mizells bring their ARPs, spirited if unpolished group vocal arrangements, wah-wah guitars, and soaring instrumental arrangements made to shine on the dancefloor. Strong throughout, the album runs as efficiently and as sweetly as any other groove-heavy album of its time.