Monday, March 24, 2008
The Smoke - High In A Room - The Smoke Anthology
Hailing from York, England, the Smoke formed from members of Tony Adams & the Viceroys and the Moonshots. After shortening the name to the Shots, they began to pursue a different sound from their R&B roots, which lead to their rhythm guitarist leaving and their financing being cut. In a tight spot, they hooked up with twin brother entrepreneurs, Ron and Reg Kray. The Kray brothers turned out to actually be gangsters that have since become famous in England. There's even a movie about them called The Krays. The Shots abandoned their deal with the Krays, which led to an injunction that withheld them from performing. Luckily they still had a publishing and recording contract with EMI, so they focused on recording. During this time, they changed their name to the Smoke and recorded their most famous single, "My Friend Jack." Unfortunately, the drug references were so blatant that EMI made them rewrite the song. The lyrics changed from, "My friend Jack eats sugar lumps / Oh what beautiful things he sees!" to "My friend Jack eats sugar lumps / Sugar man hasn't got a clue." Pretty fucking lame. It made it to number 45 on the UK charts but was banned by the BBC after three weeks. It became a big hit in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, which led to their relocation to Germany and the release of their album, It's Smoke Time. After they refused to return to England to record, the band parted ways. In the 70s, bassist Zeke Lund created a new version of the Smoke that's sound was much different than the mod-psychedelic pop of the original Smoke. Disc 1 of High In A Room is the work of the original Smoke, while Disc 2 collects the works of the second version. Disc 2 has some pretty strange shit, particularly "Sweet Wilfred-A Rodent of Note" which is about a homosexual rat...seriously. The songs are all pretty different, though many are attempts at glam rock. Last off, I must say that the cover of this anthology is amazing.
By the way, this post marks the Always Blue Society's first birthday.
Download High In A Room