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she smoked with elegancy

1980 she smoked with elegance

She smoked with elegance is the eleventh studio album by Tèxord based rock group bad medecine. It was recorded as a quartet and released in 1980. Papa Beer & Bello recorded it together with Lex Demarco and Daan Kasteel. It was commercially a lot less successful than ‘37 > ZACK 37’, ‘eternal dread’ and the records before the sabbatical. Even though the following tour didn't take them to the big venues, but it was one of the longest during tours bad medecine would ever do.

 

Songs


1. [4.16] dirty [demarco, k/demarco]                
2. [3.01] mr. beer [k/k, bello] 
3. [1.42] hotel [k/k]
4. [2.34] sitting at sea/seemingly [k, bello/k, bello, demarco] 
5. [7.22] [no roots in the air] kdb [k/k]
6. [2.48] main [k/kasteel, demarco, bello]

7. [2.07] dreams in the morning [demarco, k/k]
8. [3.37] passion, [demarco/bad medecine]    
9. [4.11] or an approach [of it]  [k/bad medecine]
10. [2.23] there could be anything [k, demarco/k, demarco]
11. [3.32] we shared smokes again [k/k, bello, kasteel]  
12. [5.01] i can’t [k/k] 

 

Credits


Papa Beer : vocals + guitars
Bello : drums
Lex Demarco : guitars + vocals
Daan Kasteel : bass

Lead vocals on ‘main’ by Lisa Laverre
Synths on ‘passion’ and ‘i can’t’ by Demarco

Recorded at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord in April - May 1980
Produced by Mick Oe
Engineered by Gérardo Debakker
Mixed at the Mick Studiós, Tèxord in 1980
Released at Myzelf Music inc. in August 1980

 

Background


The reception of ‘in blue’ had been rather disappointed and soon after they’d started touring with their new material, Papa Beer & Bello realised they wanted to record more with Lex and Daan before touring, so they went into the studio again after only four months of touring. Recordings took place in the beginning of 1980 and the band rehearsed a lot for the upcoming tour. Two songs were on the record that Papa Beer recorded solo, ‘eternal dread’. Gérardo and Mick took care of the technical side of the sound, leaving it very low-fi without being unprofessional.

bad medecine had begun playing the blues ten years ago and if the beginning of the seventies had led them through a symphonic and psychedelic phase, the late seventies through a more poppy and acoustic phase, now they kraut & punk influenced the musicians. The second guitar parts play a significant role and are done by Lex Demarco, who even came up with the ideas for 'there could be anything' and 'dirty'. Daan’s bass playing was simple and steady, with influences from the funk.
 


Writing and composition


The lyrics are overall metaphorical, although themes of long summer nights – in 'mr. beer' and 'sitting at sea' – and female companionship – in 'dirty', ‘we shared smokes again’ and 'passion' – are easily retraceable. Also drugs are mentioned in two songs and overall the vocals are faster and less melodic than on previous albums. Lex Demarco sings through microphones from the ‘30’s which gives him [and Papa Beer in some songs] a crack in his voice.

Two songs were recorded with industrial back ground noises. Rather than being built on a drum beat, there is mechanical machines that regularly make noise sampled as a beat. The songs are ‘passion’ and ‘or an approach of [it]’. In the other songs, Bello drums without hi-hat and in several different time signatures. Papa Beer’s guitar is more distorted than ever and he plays in a more minimalistic way than before, playing on his cracked Epiphone on ‘hotel’, ‘there could be anything’ & ‘i can’t’ and with dissonant notes on ‘passion or an approach’.

 

Reception


This album was better received than ‘in blue’ in the press and the band did a lot of interviews with magazines and radio’s. The artwork is done by someone. On the back, there is a picture of the four guys soundchecking on a small stage in a bar in Argentina. They are drinking and smoking on the picture and wearing sunglasses. The funny thing is that Lex is drumming, Daan on bass and Papa Beer and Bello with guitars. 

Not wanting to give in to the commercial side of pop music, the band refused to release a single. They were not interested in the hit charts, big venues or million selling records but wanted to make the music they felt like. This lead them to smaller venues than previous tours and the quartet experimented a lot on stage. Papa Beer and Lex often played in alternative tunings giving a new twitch to their songs and they ended their sets with noisy jams. They had done this earlier with a bluesy or psychedelic touch, but in this tour they sacrificed amps and cheap guitars to create noise which would last over twenty minutes.
 


Tour


The tour that followed took bad medecine through Europe [July – September 1980] then the United States of America [October - December] and south America [January 1980] followed by Africa [February - March] and Asia [April - May]. Once they'd travelled all over the globe, they decided to do the summer festivals in 1981 again and they didn't really want to stop. The band fell slowly apart after the everlasting tour until the Punkers invited them to record 'no wish to be dead' together.

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billy navrovski