October 10, 2014

Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sassafras (1968)

Rod Prince (lead guitar) and Roy Cox (bass) put together this band in San Antonio, Texas, 1966, after their previous band, the Bad Seeds, had disbanded. Although they were beat to the punch by The 13th Floor Elevators and The Golden Dawn, they’re regarded as one of the first psychedelic rock bands out of the state of Texas. Their name was inspired by a children's game played in Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. They were also one of the first psychedelic bands anywhere to use dual lead guitars- featuring the technique as early as 1967- a full two years before Wishbone Ash and the Allman brothers, who popularized the technique. Rounding out the band was Todd Potter (second lead guitar) and David “Fuzzy” Fore (drums).

The band had their first and most prominent taste of success in the spring of 1969, when their song heard below (and recorded in 1968) made it to number fourteen on the Billboard 100. The title of the song came about when somebody in the band misheard a line on an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. The song’s success led them to recording their first album, A Gathering of Promises, in 1969, which unfortunately sold poorly.

A falling out with the band’s label, International Artists (who had also signed The 13th Floor Elevators and The Golden Dawn) led the band to hire Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf as their manager and move out to Los Angeles. They changed their name to Demian to avoid any contractual issues, and to erase any connection to the bubblegum pop genre. As Demian, they released one self-titled album in 1971 and split up in 1972 after the album’s lack of success. Since, the group has gotten back together at various times, reuniting under their Bubble Puppy name. They released an album, Wheels Go Round, in 1987 and have performed live as recently as 2012.

album art

Bubble Puppy - Hot Smoke & Sassafras (1968)

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In the mist of sassafras
Many things will come to pass
And the smoke shall rise again
To the place above where it began

Time will bring the fire and flame
Surely as it brought the rain
But in the gardens of the moon
Time is held within the silver spoon

If you're happy where you are
Then you need not look too far
If you've found your place at last
Then you need not use the looking glass

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