Saturday, September 17, 2011
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Brewer & Shipley
Song:One Toke Over The Line
Album:One Toke Over The Line: The Best Of Brewer & Shipley
Here's a song that was a top ten hit in 1971 despite the fact that many radio stations banned it because of course the song is about smoking weed. Brewer & Shipley were even named as subversives by the US VP Spiro Agnew and placed on President Richard Nixon's enemies list. All this over a song that was written as a joke. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley were midwest guys hanging around the Los Angeles mid 60s folk scene. Brewer was from Oklahoma City and Shipley was from the Youngstown, OH suburb of Meridian Ridge. In 1966, Brewer had a duo with Tom Mastin called Brewer & Mastin. They released one single on Columbia. When that wasn't working out, that's when Brewer met Shipley. They had met a couple of years earlier in Ohio. When the A & R guy who signed Brewer to Columbia left for A & M Records, he took Brewer with him and signed Brewer & Shipley to a songwriting contract. After writing several songs for others, A & M suggested they record an album. Down In L.A. was released in 1968. They were doing OK but they didn't like LA and moved to Kansas City. A & M thought they quit the business. But they signed with Buddah's Kama Sutra label. They recorded a total of four albums for Kama Sutra. One Toke Over The Line is from the second album Tarkio. The album was recorded in San Francisco and was produced by Nick Gravenites who was lead singer of Big Brother & The Holding Company at the time. Jerry Garcia and Paul Butterfield made guest appearances on the album. The song reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite being banned by radio stations. The funniest thing is that Lawrence Welk had his orchestra perform the song on TV as a gospel song because the word Jesus is in it. The guys wrote it in ten minutes backstage at a show. That the song became a hit was a huge surprise to them. After Kama Sutra, they moved to Capitol. This budget comp is a good intro to their music. Brewer & Shipley split up in 1980. Brewer recorded a solo album in 1983 for Dan Fogelberg's Full Moon label. Shipley owns an audio visual production company. They reunited in 1987 and still tour folk festivals and record occasionally. So obviously One Toke Over The Line is a marijuana reform anthem. Here's Brewer & Shipley performing One Toke Over The Line at a 1998 NORML party in Washington, DC.