The Smoke seemed destined to be the greatest British band of the 60’s. Read on for their sad tale of record industry greed, radio station indifference, distribution mishaps, managerial exploitation, personal tragedy, substance abuse, mental instability, and an apathetic, capricious and philistine public…
Just kidding! They seem to be a classic 60’s case of one-hit wonders. I’d never heard this song until it popped up in my YouTube feed the other day. It became a big hit in Germany in ’67 (the year I moved, so I never heard it), but in England its progress up the charts was knee-capped by the BBC for drug references (the BBC did such a great job keeping young Brits off drugs). The most remarkable thing about this band is that not one of them did anything noteworthy before or after this song. Usually when you look into British bands with a hit during this period, you’ll find that at least one or two of them before or after played with someone you’ve heard of. But not these guys. Anyway, it’s a pretty good song and worth hearing.
Maria Alyokhina (above left), a member of Pussy Riot, has managed to escape Russia. She posed as a food carrier to get into Belarus, and then an Icelandic performance artist convinced a European country to issue her a travel document, which got her safely into Lithuania.
Great recap of the entire cloak-and-dagger operation here. After multiple instances of being jailed for proclaiming Russia’s suckitude over the past decade, she got out. The picture of relative incompetence of the authorities that she paints matches the extensive coverage on Renfield’s website.
“I don’t think Russia has a right to exist anymore,” she said. “Even before, there were questions about how it is united, by what values it is united, and where it is going. But now I don’t think that is a question anymore.”
The Icelandic performance artist was not Bjork, but being Icelandic, he is of course related to Bjork.
Well, Gwyneth has done it. She’s developed a pill that will put an end to the “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” excuse, for only $55. What’s it called you ask… DTF. No lie. As in Down To F**k. I’m think this and that vagina scented candle she’s selling will make great stocking stuffers for Mrs Droogie this holiday season.
Having just re-watched The Kids Are Alright (thanks, Makerbot), I thought I’d post the original of this song in case any of you bastards are unfamiliar. I purchased Live At Leeds in the early 70’s and for years just assumed YMB was a Townsend song. I didn’t hear this original until the early 80’s.
The Who weren’t the first to do a heavy cover of Mose Allison. Acid-rockers Blue Cheer and blues-rocker Johnny Winter recorded “Parchman Farm,” a song about the infamous Mississippi Delta prison camp (Mose was from Mississippi). Below is the Blue Cheer version, which for some reason they changed to “parchment” (to skirt copyright?) Although I’m not a huge Blue Cheer fan, they’re interesting enough for a separate post, if for no other reason than they were considered the loudest band in existence. They also get credit for representing the dark, aggressive underbelly of the late 60’s San Francisco scene. Some believe them to be the first heavy metal band, and they’re probably right. Hell’s Angels in particular liked them. One Angel said that when Blue Cheer played, the air turned to cottage cheese. I think that was his way of saying they were really loud, although acid might have been involved.
Not-so-fun fact: Vernon Presley did time at Parchman.
You can hear a lot of Mose (and Chet Baker) in Alex Chilton, who put me on to both of them. My upbringing was jazz-deprived.
I promise I’m not trying to turn this into a highbrow blog. Since I posted about an imposter earlier this week, I might as well post about the real deal. Probably the best female pianist ever, and better than a huge majority of males. And without a doubt the prettiest. Still as good as ever at age 79.