began as a jazz vocalist and later moved into country and R&B. The Louisiana vocalist was hired to replace Joe Williams
in Count Basie
's band in the early '60s after cutting some unsuccessful records for Cadence and others in the '50s. He sang with Basie
's band from 1961 to 1963. Following a period where he sang country and even had a hit with "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp," Smith
moved into soul. His biggest hit was "Little Green Apples," which was number two on both the pop and R&B charts in 1968. His other big R&B single was "Daddy's Little Man," which reached number nine in 1969. Smith
stayed on Columbia until 1974, but didn't score any more big records. He moved to Caribou in 1976 and recorded later for Shady Brooks, Family, Motown, and Rendezvous. In 1985 he began to balance his work in the recording studio with his new passion for Christian ministry, but despite the fact that he founded his own church in Los Angeles, The City of Angels Church of Religious Science, he continued to perform and record until the time of his death on November 23, 2001.