The Smoke (self-titled)

Smoke

This was a Michael Lloyd studio band that released just one album which mysteriously appeared in 1968. The Smoke’s self-titled album is a much better soft popsike record than Lloyd’s earlier release, the October Country LP (which is also worth seeking out).

The above record was created while Lloyd was in between stints with the crazed, ill-fated West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. The Smoke dedicated this obscure release to Stuart Sutcliffe and the band cannot help but pay homage to their obsessions, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. There are no duff tracks on this soft pop masterpiece which was housed in a beautiful white jacket that recalled the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine album artwork. Cowboys and Indians led off the program with buzzing organ and a nice brief guitar solo. It’s been suggested that this was Lloyd paying tribute to his idols The Beach Boys and their legendary Heroes and Villians single.

Self-Analysis is really weird in a British psych pop sort of way with lite orchestration, perplexing lyrics, probing John Lennon-like vocals, and some beautifully sharp melodies. One song, Fogbound, even had commercial potential, with a to-the-fore horn arrangement and “Lucy in the Sky of Diamonds” quotes during the fade out. Two other masterpieces on this album are October Country and Odyssey. October Country is driven by harpsichord flourishes and a peculiar intensity while Odyssey is suite-like and full of beautiful, complex passages.

Fans of the Left Banke, Millennium, and Sagittarius really need to own this lost classic.

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“October Country”

[ search eBay for THE SMOKE ]


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12 Comments.

  • Michael Lloyd

    Many thanks for your very kind comments about my old record. It’s been an interesting ride from 1960 (when I started) till now. Still fun making music – no matter what year – – or decade. . .

    Best, Michael

  • Brendan

    It pleases us to no end to hear from you, Michael, as we are big fans of your music, especially the above, WCPAEB, and the October Country LP. The Smoke (California, US) is often confused with the other Smoke (UK) and I imagine this might be frustrating. Are there any plans in the works for a reissue? I would love to see that.

    Thanks for stopping by and do let us know of your other projects!

    edit: ML informs me via email that we may be looking at a reissue soon. excellent news.

  • tom

    Thanks much for having this information available! I;m listening to a tape of this great LP. Love the tunes and also the commercial for stereo! Look forward to the reissue…

  • Dan

    I bought this album back in 1968 when it was fresh off the press. I still have it although the sleeve is a little worn on the corners the LP itself is still is pristine condition and I listen to it
    occasionally. After all these years it’s still amazing. Has there been a re-release of this album on a CD? I know it was being negotiated and I would love to find a copy of it if so. Glad to see you’re still around still making music. Regards.

  • Hey Michael,

    I’m doing my masters thesis on cartoon bands at the moment. My favourite cartoon band is of course the Cattanooga Cats. You are truly an amazing man. Any chance of an interview?

    Much respect,

    Michael Henry

  • S. M. Body

    Yeah! One of my favourite albums. I realy like this album, but I can’t find lyrics or tab from this great band. Well, I’m not quite right, I found ‘Fog Bound’ lyrics in this site: olds.hupont.hu/24 . But I’m very sad, because there’s no lyrics for my favourite track ‘Cowboys And Indians’. I could be happy if you send me the lyrics (or TAB) of ‘Cowboys And Indians’.
    Thanks

  • DJK

    Great album I bought mine in the 1980s for $1. Always wondered about the wonderful music within. It was my introduction to psych-pop and no better example !

  • Body Again

    Hi,
    You will find (almost) all the lyrics of this album at olds.hupont[dot]hu/24
    and Smoke songs by the Smoke from York (with My Friend Jack), and some by the NZ Smoke.

  • Hi Michael Henry………..just happened to see this again and saw your comment from 5 years ago. Sorry I didn’t see it then – but you can reach me thru facebook.
    Best, M

  • Tom

    Hi Michael, any chance we can get the complete url to your Facebook page? Oh, I think I got it https://www.facebook.com/michael.lloyd.756

  • Viktor

    Hi, Michael Lloyd. I just want to say thank you for your music. Cheers from Russia.

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