377) Lazy Smoke — “Under Skys”
This previously unknown John Lennon song comes from his lost Lazy Smoke weekend. Don’t believe me? Well, where do you think “People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away” came from? OK, actually, it’s “Beatles-tinged psyche rock, aided largely by a lead singer whose vocals conjure John Lennon” (Jittery White Guy, https://www.jitterywhiteguymusic.com/2020/06/lazy-smoke-corridor-of-faces-1968.html) — “a vocalist with a remarkable resemblance to John Lennon.” (Richie Unterberger, https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lazy-smoke-mn0000147197/biography)
Or, was that Julian Lennon? Jittery White Guy says that “Under Skys” is “an infectious jammed-out ballad that sounds like Julian Lennon smoked a bowl before recording his first demo tape.” Stu Shea says of the song that:
[It] is among the best on the LP. It commemorates the very moment that a relationship is ending, the lyrics consisting of images already embedded in the singer’s mind. But lead guitarist Ralph Mazzota, who co-wrote the track, adds a booming, psychedelic solo—recorded in the studio while the rest of the band actually played outdoors—gives an edge of aggression to the otherwise bucolic, heartbreaking proceedings.http://tenrecords.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-song-day-lazy-smoke-under-skys.html
The discerning listener to some of Corridor of Faces’ quieter tracks may hear similarities to some of John Lennon’s ‘White Album’ material. Interestingly, Lazy Smoke recorded those tracks months before The Beatles was released. Despite being a “rock album,” C of F feels hazy, dazed, and lazy. The acoustic numbers are appropriately pastoral, with gentle guitar textures and beguiling melodies that flow effortlessly despite odd shifts in key and tempo.
And, as JWG says, the band’s lone album is “surprisingly good . . . above-average psychedelia, trippy and generally mellow . . . .” But who was Lazy Smoke? Richie Unterberger enlightens:
[It was an] obscure Massachusetts band of the late 1960s . . . . [t]heir biggest debt was to the Beatles [with] the resemblance commanded more attention due to the fairly close similarity of leader/chief songwriter John Pollano’s vocals to those of John Lennon. Pollano’s compositions bore a heavy Lennon stamp as well, often sounding like callower derivations of Lennon’s more sedate White Album-era tunes. They pressed a few hundred copies of one album for the tiny Onyx label in 1969, Corridor of Faces, before splitting. . . . Lesser imitations of the early Beatles aren’t hard to find, but it’s much tougher to locate diligent imitators of the group’s late-’60s sound. Here is one unheralded example . . . .https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lazy-smoke-mn0000147197/biography
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