Thank You for Smoking
I’m not sure if Joe Cain ever clacked a clave or squeezed his knees around a set of bongos, but his contributions as conductor/arranger on a series of killer Latin percussion albums in the fifties and sixties earned him instant induction into my personal Mambo Hall of Fame.
Most people know his early work as a faithful interpreter of the David/Bacharach catalog and other Brill Building fare, but Lou’s last couple of LPs—this, his most recent, was recorded in 1971—are way rootsier affairs. Co-produced by the New Orleans soul geniuses Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn, With You in Mind is a smoldering stewpot brimming with chunky organ riffs, manic brass wailing, and sassy backup vocals (not to mention the occasional sitar flourish). The must-hear highlight is the eight-minute psyched-out lovesick epic “Transition.”