Open Smoke

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    • RiaD on July 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

  1. having viewed your essay prior to your opening comment, I was beginning to wonder if this was a projective personality test, sort of an abbreviated Rorschach.  

    Since our responses to ambiguous stimuli can be quite revealing, I chose not to comment, since during a test situation, no response, a brief response or a detailed response can convey much about the actual or potential client.  

    Having been trained in graduate school to use such instruments, I continue to be horrified with the abuse of such tests, where clinicians arrive at premature conclusions based upon limited information. Personality tests are useful as adjuncts when the results are in synch with information obtained through a clinical interview, review of historical records, and contacts with collateral sources of informatin. If the tests suggest something different, then the real detective work begins.

    But, since this is about music, here are a couple more smoking-related songs…

    The Patsy Cline number “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray” performed by k. d. lang, from about 1990…

    Here’s another Patsy Cline-like number by k. d. lang and the Reclines, “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette”, as performed on BBC television around 1990. One of the two composers of this song, Harlan Howard, had the distinction of having 15 songs he’d composed on the country top 40 charts at the same time in 1961, a feat never since equalled.

    The other co-composer, Billy Walker, had just finished a performance in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1963, when he received a phone call informing him of an urgent need to return to Nashville. A bandmate, Hankshaw Hawkins, offered him his commercial plane ticket. Hawkins instead returned on a private flight with Cowboy Copas, Copas’ son-in-law/pilot Randy Hughes, and Patsy Cline. The private plane crashed near Camden, Tennessee, killing all of the occupants. Hawkins was killed much later in a late night car crash in Alabama in 2006.

    “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette” was written and performed by Tex Williams, and can be heard during the opening credits of the 2006 film, “Thank You For Smoking.” A version by Phil Harris reached the #1 spot on the pop charts in August, 1947, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. Here is a great version by Asleep at the Wheel, accompanied by some great black and white vintage video footage…

    And, just to show that the topic of smoke (although not cigarettes in this case) has not been ignored by rock groups, here are a couple…

    Bubble Puppy was a Texas-based psychedelic rock band in the late 1960s, and scored their biggest hit with “Hot Smoke and Sassafras”, which reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1969.

    Deep Purple released what one of the more successful smoke-related songs, “Smoke on the Water”, which first appeared on the Billboard Top 40 charts in June, 1973, topping out at the #4 slot.  In 2004, it was ranked at #426 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  In 2005, Q Magazine ranked it at #12 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks and was designated at #4 in the BBC’s “Top 20 Greatest Guitar Riffs Ever.” This version has had more than 13,000,000 views.

    And, finally there’s a rock song referring to smoking (tobacco?), i.e., Brownsville Station’s #3 hit from 1974, entitled, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”

  2. where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

    “Fire”, from Jimi Hendrix’ 1967 album, “Are You Experienced?”…

    “Fire”, the #2 hit by Arthur Brown from 1968…

    “Fire”, the #1 hit by the Ohio Players from 1975…

    “Fire”, the #2 hit by the Pointer Sisters from 1979…

  3. Long Lost Lady & the Blues

    LONG LOST LADY & THE BLUES.

    • RiaD on July 17, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    (which is what i thought you’d put with that lovely pic)

  4. I suppose “Tobacco Road” would qualify as well.  This great cover song enjoyed its first success following its 1964 release by the Nashville Teens, rising to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  

    Here is an interesting cover version, from Woodstock on August 18, 1969, with Johnny Winter on the guitar and brother Edgar performing vocals.  Please be patient, the tempo of the song picks up a little at about the 2:40 mark…

    And, here is a version by Hank Williams, Jr., seemingly departing just a bit from his country-western roots…

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