Dr. Lonnie Smith: People Make The World Go Round


People Make The World Go Round


Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ, vocals)


Rise Up! (Palmetto Records 2138)

Buy Track


Dr. Lonnie Smith (organ, vocals), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Donald Harrison (alto sax), Herlin Riley (drums),

James Shipp (percussion), Matt Balitaris (guitar)


Composed by Thomas Randolph Bell and Linda Epstein


Recorded: Maggie’s Farm, PA May 5 & 6th , 2008


Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

The Stylistics originally introduced the song “People Make the World Go Round” in 1972 and with lyrics like “Buses on strike want a raise in fare, so they can help pollute the air,” it was popular music with a message. Sung falsetto with a soulfully slow, voice-dominant Motown approach, it was a hit and it had a memorable melody. With a commanding grasp of the power and expression that the Hammond B3 can release when properly employed, Dr. Smith puts a unique and engaging spin on otherwise familiar song.

With Herlin Riley’s funky, syncopated beat, Dr. Smith takes the basic song structure and weaves it into a modern multi-dimensional piece. With a driving beat that is both disquieting and infectiously captivating, he retains the song’s familiarity but makes it a much more interesting vehicle of expression.

The soulful alto of Donald Harrison evokes memories of Maceo Parker. Harrison is allowed to bellow away in front of the full sound created by Smith, Riley and Shipp and wails with a funky, passionate cry. Berstein’s solo is more restrained. Time signatures vary and when it’s time for Smith to solo he remains undaunted in his grunt-accompanied B3 riff explorations fronting Riley’s droning drums and James Shipp’s steady cowbell. Midway the song takes on a modern almost modal feel. Smith is a master of building tension with his sustained notes, holding them just long enough before skillfully breaking them abruptly as he does in the finale. A nice remake of an old Motown favorite.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

Tags: · ·

Comments are closed.