Monday, May 16, 2011

Reefer Tunes - Music about Cannabis, back when it wasn't such an issue

As I said Friday, Blogger was down for a couple of days, so I released my Thursday blog Friday and this was to have been Friday's blog. Well, here it is now. Enjoy:

Someone posted this song, previously unknown to me, today on facebook and it got me thinking, what great tunes are out there, banned or unknown, just because they related or referred to something unacceptable by the Zeitgeist of the times?

The first one, mentioned above, is one on YouTube, performed by Cab Calloway, one of my favorite musicians of the past.

Smoking Reefers - Cab Calloway
Reefer man - Cab Calloway

This one, from the Harlem Experiment, with Taj Majal, is just too funny and anti-Bush (Jr.) so I had to include it - Reefer Man

Another, this one by a group I never heard of , but it's incredibly good.

Weed Smoker's Dream - Harlem Hamfats. According to the poster, MoleDFigg: "Despite their name, the "Harlem" Hamfats were a Chicago band in the 1930's whose members came from various places; for example, the McCoy brothers hailed from Mississipi, Herb Morand, John Lindsay and Odell Rand were from New Orleans and Horace Malcolm and Freddy Flynn came from Chicago!!"

Sweet Marijuana Brown - (may be) Barney Bigard Sextet
The closing music used on the second segment of the community cable access television series, 'Time 4 Hemp', hosted by Casper Leitch. To find out more about the first television series to ever focus on the topic of marijuana, check out where you can find over 80 free video and 100 free audio downloads. 
Time 4 Hemp © Casper Leitch - 1991

When I Get Low I Get High - Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb and His Orchestra. 

My brother mentioned this to me:

"You gotta keep one thing in mind about those old tunes by black folk, they almost always had  double meanings, first one be for white folk, the ordinary just what you hear, the second one would be the black man's code for slamming the man [government], or whitey, or what or who ever, and also lots about sex, a lot of it had sexual hidden references. Or as Shrek would say, "the blues is like an onion, with many layers."

"You ever heard Henry Thomas doing Bull Doze blues? they be Playing it now on the BB King Blues channel See if it sounds familiar: Bull Doze Blues by Henry Thomas

"This one might jog your brain if you didn't recognize Henry's tune revised version

"Gotta love that You tube for preserving this kinda stuff."
And that was what my older brother had to say about it all.

Yes, we have more obviously, contemporary artists, like Neil Diamond, a great artist, but not a great song
Pot Smoker's Song This is from his album "Velvet Gloves and Spit". I think this was an anti drug song. But like many, it was mixing up the good with the bad. 

Do I think coffee should be included with cigarettes and alcohol? No. Is it questionable? Yes, but as with most things, only in its misuse. Research has shown many positive qualities to coffee. And the same with Cannabis. The fact that both give the users a pleasant, euphoric boost, shouldn't have any bearing on the positive effects. Can you say that about cigarettes, heroin, cocaine? Yes, but the I would argue the downside of those drugs, that should be categorized as narcotics, were as Cannabis should not, is an important consideration.

Speaking of coffee, here is Black Coffee by Ella Fitzgerald. I honestly can't make up my mind after listening to a few versions of this song, if I like (other than Ella) Peggy Lee's version or Sinad O'Connor's. I didn't like Julie London's version, or some others I heard (KD Lang). But then, in an entirely different vein, there was Henry's Black Flag version; maybe they should have called that "VERY Black Coffee with shots of espresso".

Getting back to the original concept here, of course there are other more recent artists who have turned out a good tune or two and mentioning those everyone knows, is boring. 

Here is Red Wine and Reefer from poster ellisdrecords by BURNETTE DOWN & THE ASHES (Ellis Parrish, Travis Brawley, Joe Carroll, & Martin Penman filling in for Jarad Wilson) burn it down and leave the place in ashes! This one features EllisD on vocals! Originally "Champagne & Reefer", the champagne opposed lead singer changed the lyric to reflect his own taste in spirits. This wine drinking, joint smoker's anthem was recorded in December of 2006 at Fenian's Pub in Jackson, MS and was their second show EVER! Video footage recorded by John Bragg.

A Muddy Waters Cover by the Legendary Jones Gang - Champagne and Reefer

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Buddy Guy's Champagne & Reefer

And the original Champagne Reefer by Muddy Waters.

Well, I could go on and on, deeper into the blues at this point, but I think you get the drift.

Have a great day!

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