Toke of the Town realizes that many of you are going to get blotto on New Year’s Eve, and there’s no denying that’s the traditional thing to do.
But as Mason Tvert has told us, marijuana is safer. So if you want to have the best time possible this December 31 as you bring in a fresh 2010, maybe you should have a pot party instead of a beer bash.
At the very least, if you must get drunk, smoke pot while doing so. Scientific studies show that marijuana helps protect your brain cells from the damaging effects of bingeing on alcohol.
Towards the goal of reducing the incidence of nasty hangovers, projectile puking, and waking up in bed with people you don’t know, and in the interest of promoting parties that are safer and more fun, here are 10 songs you don’t want to miss when compiling a playlist to bring in the new year in high style.
10. Reefer Head Woman ~ Aerosmith
This is a pre-“drug free” Aerosmith at their blown-away bluesiest, from the 1979 album Night In The Ruts.
I got a reefer headed woman
She fell right down from the sky, good Lord
Got a reefer headed woman
She fell right down from the sky
Well, I gots to drink two fifths of whiskey
Just to get half as high.
~ J. Bennett/Jazz Gillum/Lester Melrose
9. Mexico ~ Jefferson Airplane
The immortal Grace Slick composed this stoney lament in response to the legendary Great Marijuana Drought of 1969, caused by Pres. Richard Nixon’s War On Drugs and the Border Patrol blockade (and massive traffic snarls at the border) that ensued.
“Mexico” originally appeared on the druggy 1974 rarities collection Early Flight.
Grace’s free-form wail proves to be ideal for expressing the pothead angst of “no weed in town.”
There used to be tons of gold and green
Comin’ up here from Mexico
A donde esta la planta, mi amigo, del sol?
[The translation is: “Where is the plant, my friend, of the sun.”]
But Mexico is under the thumb
Of a man we call Richard
And he’s come to call himself king
But he’s a small-headed man
And he doesn’t know a thing
About how to deal for you
How to deal for you
There are millions of you now
I mean it’s not as if you were alone
There are brothers everywhere
Just waiting for a toke on that gold
And God knows how far it can go
~ Grace Slick
8. Wildwood Weed ~ Jim Stafford
How do you make something Middle America finds new and thus potentially threatening into something funny and familiar? With cornpone country humor – at least that’s how Jim Stafford mainstreamed then-exotic marijuana with this catchy 1974 hit from his debut album.
Stafford’s gentle, folksy take on the properties of pot opened more than a few minds to thinking maybe there’s a more productive response to marijuana than fear and hatred.
Plus, it’s a damn funny song.
The very next day we picked a bunch of them weeds
And put ’em in the sun to dry
Then we mashed ’em up and we cleaned ’em all
And put ’em in the corncob pipe
Smokin’ them wildwood flowers got to be a habit
We didn’t see no harm
We thought it was kind of handy
Take a trip and never leave the farm!
~ Don Bowman/Jim Stafford
7. I Like Marijuana ~ David Peel & The Lower East Side
Blip.fm audio file: http://blip.fm/profile/alapoet/blip/30947949/David_Peel_&_Lower_East_Side_Band-I_Like_Marijuana
David Peel made his name in the 1960s as a busker on the Lower East Side of New York City. He’s still remembered for his 1968 underground hit, “I Like Marijuana.”
Years later, Peel made a cameo appearance (singing this song!) in the film Rude Awakening, which stars Cheech Marin and Eric Roberts as two hippies who return to modern life after years of living on a Central American commune.
One of the coolest things about Peel is that he’s still a street musician and a political activist on the Lower East Side.
These hilarious, parent-horrifying-by-design lyrics are hard to beat; at this point in our societal evolution, one can only imagine the impact they had more than 40 years ago when they first entered public consciousness.
I want to be a hippie on the Lower East Side for
I want to be a runaway I want to get high for
It’s my life and I’ll do what I want
It’s my life and I’ll do what I can
I want to smoke pot and I want to smoke a lot…
~ H.B. Barnum/David Peel
6. Kaya ~ Bob Marley & The Wailers
Reggae king Bob Marley, of course, sang a number of ganja-themed songs, and this 1978 cut from the album of the same name is one of the very best.
The loopy groove and irie lyrics perfectly capture the dreamy lassitude of getting high on a rainy morning.
Wake up and turn I loose
For the rain is fallin’
Got to have kaya now
For the rain is fallin’.
Well, I feel so high, I even touch the sky
Above the fallin’ rain
I feel so good in my neighborhood, so
Here I come again!
~ Bob Marley
5. It’s So Nice To Be Stoned ~ White Witch
The simple sentiment of this song rings true, almost 40 years after its original 1972 release.
White Witch are a largely forgotten footnote in the history of 1970s rock and roll, but makeup and all, they’ll live on forever in these immortal lines:
A proclamation was issued today
By the government of the U.S.A.
Up to 99 years in jail
For illegal possession or sale
How can they think they’re right when they’re wrong?
I guess they’ve never been stoned…
Bombs and tanks and riot gas
Can’t keep you from smokin’ grass
Now listen to me, brother, and I’ll tell you true
Marijuana is good for you,
~ Ronald Goedert/Hardin Pendergrass
4. I Wanna Get High ~ Cypress Hill
With their marijuana-themed lyrics and their 1992 High Times cover, Cypress Hill broadened the musical horizons of a lot of potheads.
For those open-minded enough to give the Hill a try, B-Real’s nasal whine and stoned-ass delivery — along with the group’s highly influential, hypnotically slow, rolling loops and fried funk — kept them coming back for more.
These strengths were never more effectively displayed than on the opening track from their second album, 1993’s Black Sunday.
(“Hits From The Bong” would be on this list too, except I’m limiting myself to no more than one song by any given artist.)
Yes I smoke shit
t off the roach clip
t off the roach clip
I roll shit
Fold the blunt
To approach it
Make you sway like the ocean
The herb is more than just a powerful potion
What’s the commotion?
Yo I’m not joking around, people learnin’
’bout what they’re smoking
~ Louis Freese/Lawrence Muggerud/Senen Reyes
3. A Passage To Bangkok ~ Rush
Those of us who grew up stoned in the 70s will never forget the electric moment of first discovering Canadian pothead power trio Rush, particularly their 2112 album from 1976, which is hands down one of the greatest stoner rock discs in history.
Our first stop is in Bogota
To check Colombian fields
The natives smile and pass along
A sample of their yield
Sweet Jamaican pipe dreams
Golden Acapulco nights
Then Morocco, and the East
Fly by morning light
We’re on the train to Bangkok
Aboard the Thailand Express
We’ll hit the stops along the way
We only stop for the best.
~ Lyrics by Neil Peart; Song by Alex Lifeson/Geddy Lee/Neil Peart
2. Legalize It ~ Peter Tosh
It doesn’t get any “realer” than this.
Peter Tosh, after years of being in the massive artistic shadow of Bob Marley as a member of The Wailers, stepped out on his own for the very first time with his 1976 opus Legalize It.
The title tune charmingly presents Tosh’s best arguments for freeing the weed.
Singers smoke it
And players of instrument, too
Legalize it, yeah yeah
That’s the best thing you can do
Doctors smoke it
Nurses smoke it
Judges smoke it
Even the lawyers too
So you’ve got to legalize it
Don’t criticize it
Legalize it, yeah yeah
And I will advertise it.
~ Peter Tosh
1. Sweet Leaf ~ Black Sabbath
From the opening cough, to Ozzy’s stoner banshee scream, to Tony Iommi’s power chords, to Geezer Butler’s apocalyptic bass and Bill Ward’s sludgy drums, to the lyrics — which are an unabashed and heartfelt love song to Mary Jane — “Sweet Leaf” is the ultimate stoned classic, top to bottom.
The lead-off track on 1971’s Master Of Reality, Black Sabbath’s third effort, this song demands to be turned up righteously LOUD.
When I first met you, didn’t realize
I can’t forget you or your surprise
You introduced me to my mind
And left me wanting you and your kind
I love you!…
Straight people don’t know what you’re about
They put you down and shut you out
You gave to me a new belief
And soon the world will love you, sweet leaf.
~ Geezer Butler/Tony Iommi/Ozzy Osbourne/Bill Ward