Saturday, April 25, 2009

Drugs: Sharing the Stash Edition

Fraternity of Man: Don‘t Bogart Me


I went back and forth with myself over whether to include this song in this post. Susan settled the issue with her last post. Yes, this is Don’t Bogart That Joint, with its original title. The song is an artifact from the sixties, equating drug use with communal experience. Drugs, love, sex, peace, all were things to be shared. Bogarting was “uncool, man”.

Fraternity of Man would themselves be nothing more than the answer to a trivia question, were it not for the inclusion of Don’t Bogart Me in the soundtrack to Easy Rider. The band had no other notable success of their own, and lasted for only two albums. But in that time, former members of The Mothers of Invention, and future members of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band and Little Feat passed through their ranks. Don’t Bogart Me appears on Fraternity of Man’s self-titled debut, while Lowell George did not become a part of the band until their second album, but George most likely performed the song live with them, prompting his cover of the song later as the leader of Little Feet.

Ramblin‘ Jack Elliott: Cocaine Blues


A quick listen to Cocaine Blues shows no sign of anything being shared. But I cannot think of this song without thinking of Jackson Browne’s cover from his album Running on Empty. In that version, it is clear from the multiple laughing voices at the end, and from the song’s placement on the album, that Browne and his bandmates are sharing some coke during some downtime in a hotel room during a tour. Browne calls the song Cocaine, but it is not the Eric Clapton hit. Rather, Cocaine Blues is a cover of a song by the Reverend Gary Davis. Why then have I chosen Ramblin’ Jack Elliott’s version over the original? I wanted to reflect the feel of the original as much as possible, but the only version I could find by Davis was an old recording with very poor sound quality. This was the cover that I felt best captured the spirit of the original.

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