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Hot Smoke and Sasafrass

by

Bubble Puppy



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was inspired by an episode of the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies where Granny said, "Hot smoke and sassafras, Jethro, can't you do anything right?" The group liked the phrase and wrote the song around it as an ode to meditating while smoking marijuana.
Bubble Puppy was an Austin, Texas group founded by guitarist Rod Prince out of a previous band called the Bad Seeds. Their name is a reference to the children's game "Centrifugal Bumble Puppy" in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Many listeners at the time thought the name was a reference to smoking marijuana out of a water pipe.
Bubble Puppy was signed to the short-lived International Artists label, which was also home to Red Crayon and the 13th Floor Elevators. The song became a hit when it was featured on American Bandstand, but it never got airplay in big city radio stations, possibly because International Artists refused to give payola to the men who controlled those markets. The group eventually left the label and signed with ABC-Dunhill, changing their name to Demian, after the Herman Hesse novel. When the band fell apart, the members went on to pursue individual careers in music. (thanks, Ekristheh - Halath, for all above)
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Comments (4):

On February 9th 1969, "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" by Bubble Puppy entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and on April 6th it peaked at #14 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #15 on the Canadian RPM Top singles chart...
Was the groups' only record to make the Top 100.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I first heard on XM Radio, and if I didn't see the name of the song and group, I would have thought it was by The Moody Blues. Yes, the music is psychedelic to the max, but the voices sound so similar to the Moody Blues. At to me it does.
- Farrah, Elon, NC
The first time I heard it, I thought it was by Yes. It's the ultimate psychedelic tune and I think the philosophy expressed it accurate.
- sharon, atlanta, GA
We used to hear this on WLS Chicago. It entered the charts at #38 on 17 February 1969, jumped to #27 the next week, and peaked at #6 by 24 March before sliding back down to #22 on 7 April and off. It spent only eight weeks on the chart, but was a favorite WLS "souvenir" that summer. I remember sitting with a friend on a hot July afternoon, listening to it over a transistor radio, and talking about the "good energy" of the guitar solo in the instrumental bridge. It did not make 1969's Top 89, much to my surprise. I thought it was one of the best drug songs I'd ever heard. Still do.
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
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