We are heading back to 1967 for this edition of Classic Rock Albums Revisited when psychedelic music was new and had many bands experimenting with its many sounds. One of those bands was the British act called The Smoke, whose only album was titled, It’s Smoke Time.
About It’s Smoke Time
The Smoke – It’s Smoke Time
Genres – Garage rock, psychedelic pop, beat, freakbeat, sunshine pop
Released – 1967
Label – Metronome Records (Germany)
Mick Rowley – Vocals, Guitar [With Two Fingers]
Mal Luker – Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar
Zeke Lund – Bass
Geoff Gill – Drums
The songs on the original release were a mix of The Beatles, The Monkees, etc., and drew upon the early rock and roll movement for its other influences.
The Standout Tracks
It’s Smoke Time begins with “My Friend Jack,” released as a single on February 10th, 1967, and hit #2 on the German Charts.
The intro sounds are psychedelic and are made by what I believe is a guitar. The melody is ridiculously catchy, this is particularly true of the vocals, but the music is also perfect and indicative of the era. It’s no wonder that it charted as high as it did, as it’s written, arranged, and performed very well.
“You Can’t Catch Me” is one of my favorite tracks, with its bouncy, happy sound, great vocal performances, and an overall pleasing structure. The psychedelic elements are well placed and add a cool vibe to the track, but the main thing I heard was a Monkees and Beatles sound, which also added something unique to the song.
“High in a Room” was the second single, released in August of 1967. It was instantly my favorite song upon hearing it, and part of that was due to the John Lennon style of writing and guitar playing that permeated this song. The vocal work is the best on the record; both the lead and backing parts were well done and fit together exceptionally.
“Wake Up Cherylina” is almost as good as “High in a Room.” The melody is infectious, and everything is performed to perfection.
“If the Weather’s Sunny” is an odd one for me. It took me a minute to figure out if I loved or hated it. Ultimately, I decided it was love and that my indecision came from the intro vocals, which are really amazing; I just needed a minute to realize it. This one is also ridiculously catchy and has a slight sense of innocence within the music.
“It’s Just Your Way of Lovin'” is another very memorable track and is great for all the reasons that these other tracks are. It also has the best vocals, and the short guitar solo is a fitting addition to the song. The same can be said of “Playing With Magic,” another excellent track!
“Waterfall” had promise, but some of the backing vocals seemed to be out of key or out of place; either way, they took away from the track as a whole.
“Don’t Lead Me On” had a fantastic bass guitar intro and a nice melody, but it was just a bit repetitive.
“We Can Take It” sounded like a mix of The Doors, The Beatles, and The Monkees, though even those influences failed to make it an interesting song for me.
It’s Smoke Time is an excellent record, as even the weak tracks have redeeming qualities. Surprisingly, this is their only album, but The Smoke was very good at what they do, and I wish more from them was available.
I found the album on YouTube, but there is a reissue with 14 additional tracks out there. I don’t know if it’s still readily available, but Discogs is where I’d check first if you want a copy.
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.