Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When You Act Like Meat, You're Bound to Get Cut

It's a testament to the artistry of the late great Benjamin Smoke that he could make suburban straights like me feel the depths of despair in his lyrical tales of losing his heart to male hustlers ("Chad"), or being sexually degraded ("Beeper Will") and then being accused of "asking for it" ("Guilt").

Benjamin bared his soul, and his hopes and fears, through Smoke's music. Heartbreak is heartbreak: the themes of love, lust and loss are universal, no matter who the players are. These songs are from a March 1994 performance on WREK. Buy a Smoke record here.

1. Hole
2. Guilt
3. Ballet
4. The Trip
5. Hank Aaron
6. I Do
7. Freak
8. The Pond
9. Awake
10. Luke's Feet
11. Beeper Will
12. Good Boy
13. Sand
14. instrumental

I'm not sure of the title of track 12, a song that may date back to the days of Freedom Puff. The refrain is, "It's hard to be a good boy and a good thief too." Benjamin introduces "Hank Aaron" as a Blackgirls cover. I asked Steve Pilon about this, and he wrote: "Benjamin 'borrowed' some of the lyrics to 'Hank Aaron' from a Blackgirls song called 'Hope' that was on their CD called 'Procedure.' He didn't mention that until after the CD covers were printed, so he tried to give credit during the shows as often as he could. Benjamin called his version 'Hank Aaron' because 'Handkerchiefs' was too hard to spell on set lists. 'Handkerchiefs' was his original title." Benjamin's introduction also makes clear the connection between 714's (quaaludes) and Hank Aaron's 714th home run, which broke Babe Ruth's record.


At 9/04/2007 8:36 PM , Blogger chnkltgy said...

Stellar post. Thanks. It makes me miss how shitty Cabbagetown used to be.

At 9/04/2007 9:34 PM , Blogger jonder said...

Thank you, chonklit guy!

At 9/19/2007 1:51 AM , Blogger Disco:Very said...

Wow, good stuff...not sure I've ever heard of him before...must buy some...

At 9/19/2007 5:27 PM , Blogger jonder said...

You never saw the Jem Cohen documentary "Benjamin Smoke"?

At 9/25/2007 11:20 PM , Blogger BIGALKE said...

Thank you!!!

At 9/26/2007 1:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is sooooo appreciated. THANK YOU! Smoke and Hubcap City are by far the best bands to ever grace and occasionally escape tha ATL. Cabbagetown forever!

At 9/26/2007 10:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When smoke played, I went to see them ritually. I still have photographs I took during some of there shows at the Point. I was just talking to a guy the other day about BLT's up on 11th, and how one of my most memorable shows was Smoke and Pagan Holiday. Hard to believe it was over a decade ago.

At 12/19/2007 8:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12/21/2007 9:51 AM , Blogger jonder said...

Thanks for the link to the myspace. It's cool to know that Bill Taft is aware that these songs are posted here, and that he's OK with it.


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