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11 Mar 2017

Sarofeen And Smoke "Sarofeen And Smoke"1971 US Psych Blues Rock

Sarofeen And Smoke  "Sarofeen And Smoke"1971 US Psych Blues Rock
Sarofeen's vocal style has been compared to Janis Joplin, Ellen McIllwaine, & the Shocking Blue's (recently deceased) Mariska Veres, and if you like those vocalists you should give her a chance. Even if you don't like that heavy, bluesy 60's female vocal style you should still give it a try. Sarofeen & John Martin (especially the latter) wrote some excellent material for the album and the band  is strong:
Anne Sarofeen also performed on broadway in A Hard Job Being God and later recorded a second album (sans Smoke) entitled Love In A Woman's Heart, which I didn't find as good as this release. Smoke (& Sarofeen presumably) were originally from Auburn, NY, and at least one member of the band, guitarist Ed "Duke" Shanahan continues to perform in that area. He also recordedd with the band Siddhartha (for RCA) in the year before this release and has performed with blues and r&b legends like Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Bobby Comstock, & Bo Diddley.............

Other than the fact namesake Anne Sarofeen was apparently from Auburn, New York and the group's self-titled 1970 debut was released by the New York-based GWP label, I can't say I know much about the outfit. Produced by Andy Wiswell (Bobby Comstock handling arrangements), "Saforeen and Smoke" clearly sought to showcase Sarofeen, which was kind of a mixed blessing. We've seen a couple of reviews that compare her voice to Janis Joplin, or Fear Itself's Ellen McIllwaine and that seems to be the main selling point here. While it's true Sarofeen shared a rugged and bluesy vocal delivery, that's about as far as the comparison went. Moreover, if you thought Joplin had a tendency to over-sing, then you're liable to have major problems with material such as "Susan Jane", "Cream of Nowhere" and "You Make It So Hard". Maybe it's just me, but Sarofeen's voice also had a weird little quiver that proved particularly irritating. On a couple of tracks she actually sounded as if she were singing with an accent; in the process baring a mild resemblance to Mariska Veres whom some of you may remember as the lead singer for Shocking Blue - yeah the "Venus" band. Crap, forgot to mention there are also BS&T-styled horns on tracks such as "Lady Tragedy" and their cover of Martha Velez's "Swamp Man". So by now you should be wondering is there anything here worthwhile? To give credit where due, the backing from Smoke (bassist Dave Arliss, keyboardist John "Zilch" Martin, guitarist Ed "Duke" Shanahan and drummer Jim Watts) was never less than impressive. Shanahan redeemed himself with several nice guitar solos, though the dreaded horns frequently all but drowned him out ("Cream of Nowhere"). In spite of those earlier slams, we'll readily admit Sarforeen herself had a couple of nice moments - particularly when she settled back into second gear - to hear her at her best check out the ballad "It's Love" and the mid-tempo rocker "Witch"....Bad Cat...........

Yes, yes, I am still sick, there is such a protracted muck, which, it would seem, is almost harmless, but it complicates life. Nevertheless, she is life, and continues to get acquainted with two albums of a wonderful vocalist, Anne Sarofin. Ie, I'm not sure that the long "e" in the surname of our Ani allows us to pronounce it in this way and even suspect that there are some Armenian roots there, but as it turned out, do not blame me. By the way, in Syracuse (New York) this name is quite common and I'm almost sure that all these Sarofeen_and_Smoke_1970.jpg people of our today's heroine, popping up on the Net - businessmen, managers and various ordinary mortals - relatives and, possibly, members of what Something of a glorious local dynasty. But to cultivate and carefully water the genealogical tree, there is neither time nor desire, so let's move on to music. If you did not miss Fear Itself, a publication from 24.12.2008, then you will understand approximately what is at stake, as the style and voice sound like our old friend, Ellen McIlvine (McIlvine), and for me personally this is a sign of quality. There is already no strong hippie spirit that was felt in the earlier record of Fear Itself and the blues base is much more concrete, but some compositions from there, for example. For Suki, they could be on the plate of today's and would be perfectly harmonious
Next to the other things.

Psychedelic, sometimes dreamy, sometimes quite aggressive blues, with serious blotches of folk, here and there - jazz, an excellent work of the guitarist - a native of the same Syracuse, Ed Shenahen. Both records are deep, sensual, not superficial, very strong and in my opinion, could stand if not in the first row of the musical heroes of the generation, then in the second officer's rank - exactly.

I do not know how Anna's future fate was, but in one of the local newspaper's numbers, Syracuse New Times for 2012 found an announcement announcement about the performance of the blues band with the guitarist ... Ed Schenaken. Keep it up, veteran!

Strictly recommended to all fans of folk, blues, good female vocals.

Opener Susan Jane from the first longplay.................

Anne Sarofeen — vocals
Ed «Duke» Shanahan — lead guitar
Dave Arliss — bass
John «Zilch» Martin — keyboards, harmonica, guitar
Jim Watts — drums

A1 Susan Jane
A2 Cream Of Nowhere
A3 It's Love
A4 Lady Tragedy
A5 Swamp Man
B1 You Make It So Hard
B2 Witch
B3 Tomorrow
B4 Rocky Mountain Blues

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..