Friday, November 10, 2006

The Forgotten Records #7 - Hot Smoke and Sassafras

Today it seems that a new band pops up every day, courtesy of avenues like MySpace. Affordable digital technology, a few instruments and a hook (hopefully) is all it takes to get your music out there. Forty years ago, probably the same number of young aspiring bands existed; it was just infinitely more difficult to get heard. The British Invasion inspired nearly every kid to put together three chords and prayer. But instead of ProTools, mp3s and the blogosphere, it was the parent’s garage, cheap guitars, Farfisa organs, and a slim, slim chance of getting a record made. The best document of the garage rock era is Nuggets, but there are also countless other one-hit wonders that didn’t make it on that retrospective.

Bubble Puppy, from Austin, was a flash in the pan circa 1968 that combined garage rock and psychedelic pop. Linked musically and geographically to the 13th Floor Elevators, their only memorable tune is the immortal Hot Smoke and Sassafras. Consider these lyrics:

In the mist of sassafras
Many things will come to pass
And the smoke shall rise again
To the place above where it began
Time will bring the fire and flame
As surely as it brought the rain
But in the gardens of the moon
Time is held within the silver spoon
If you're happy where you are
Then you need not look too far
If you've found your place at last
Then you need not use the looking glass

A mist of sassafras? Hot Smoke hit #14 across the country in the summer of ’68. Weird times, indeed, but imagine my surprise to find that these guys have a new record coming out! Check the official Bubble Puppy web site to read founding member Rod Prince’s tale. Among other things the Puppy opened up for the Who sometime in 1966. Love that album cover, A Gathering of Promises.

Buy the Nuggets
Buy Bubble Puppy



Anonymous teri said...

In 1968 I was ten years old. My uncle had this disc and gave it to me. Later, when I was in high school, I saw this album cover on the wall at the local music resaler with a $100 pricetag on it. Wonder what the hype was? All I could think was wishing I had my copy to sell them. At the same time he gave me that album, my uncle also gave me a Canned Heat album... I actually liked it much better. Ah, The Owl, heh.

9:45 AM  

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