Sweet Smoke - Just a Poke - German release Krautrock 12" Vinyl LP Album

  "Just a Poke" is the first album by the Krautrock band "Sweet Smoke", this album was recorded shortly after the band moved from the USA to Germany. "Just a Poke" was released in 1970, engineered by Conny Plank.

 

High Resolution Photo SWEET SMOKE Just Poke Germany

Album Description:

The early 1970s were a pivotal time for the music world, marked by the rise of various genres that would forever change the musical landscape. Among these transformative movements was Krautrock, a genre that emerged primarily in West Germany and represented a unique fusion of rock, electronic, and experimental music. One of the genre's iconic releases during this period was "Just a Poke" by the band Sweet Smoke.

The Birth of Sweet Smoke

To understand the creation of "Just a Poke," we must first explore the origins of Sweet Smoke. The band's roots trace back to the United States, where its members initially formed as a jazz-influenced group called "Ashkan" in Brooklyn, New York. In 1969, the band decided to relocate to Europe, where the music scene was experiencing a period of tremendous experimentation and innovation.

Settling in Germany

Upon their arrival in Europe, the band decided to settle in Germany, a nation that was becoming a hotbed for musical experimentation. It was here that the group underwent a transformation and a change in both their musical style and name. Ashkan rebranded themselves as Sweet Smoke, embracing a more diverse and progressive approach to their music.

"Just a Poke": The Genesis

Sweet Smoke's debut album, "Just a Poke," marked a significant turning point in their musical journey. Released in 1970, the album is a sprawling, two-track masterpiece that epitomizes the Krautrock movement's penchant for lengthy, improvised compositions.

"Baby Night" and "Silly Sally"

The album consists of two tracks: "Baby Night" and "Silly Sally." "Baby Night" opens the album with a mesmerizing blend of rock, jazz, and Eastern-inspired instrumentation. Clocking in at over 20 minutes, it showcases the band's ability to create complex, ever-evolving soundscapes that take the listener on a transcendent voyage.

"Silly Sally," the second and final track on the album, is another sprawling epic that spans over 22 minutes. The song incorporates elements of psychedelia, blues, and rock, featuring intricate guitar work and powerful vocal harmonies.

The German Release

"Just a Poke" was initially released in Germany, where the Krautrock movement was in full swing. The album's release on 12" vinyl LP in 1970 was met with critical acclaim and established Sweet Smoke as a force to be reckoned with in the Krautrock scene.

Legacy and Influence

"Just a Poke" and Sweet Smoke's unique sound had a lasting impact on the Krautrock movement. The album's fusion of diverse musical influences, extensive improvisation, and experimental approach inspired countless other artists in Germany and beyond.

While the band did not achieve the same level of mainstream success as some of their contemporaries, Sweet Smoke left an indelible mark on the world of progressive and experimental music. Their legacy endures, and "Just a Poke" remains a cherished artifact of the Krautrock era, a testament to the band's commitment to pushing musical boundaries.

Music Genre:

  Krautrock Psych Acid Fusion Jazz Progressive Rock
Collector's info: 

The song "Baby Night" is the perfect introduction to the band, displaying their progressive jazz fusion style at the time. The song can be divided into three main sections, the highlights being the instrumental sections.

Liner notes by Om Shanti

Album Production Information:

  The album: "Just a Poke" was produced by: Rosie Schmitz and Winfried Ebert.
Sound engineers: Conny Plank, Klaus Lohmer
Album cover by Jan Fijnheer '70

Conny Plank (Birth-name: Konrad Plank )

Conny Plank was a visionary and influential music producer, sound engineer, and musician. Born as Konrad Plank on 3 May 1940, in Hütschenhausen, Germany, he would go on to revolutionize the world of music production and leave an indelible mark on the industry. Throughout his career, Plank became synonymous with innovation and experimentation, pushing boundaries and shaping the sound of countless artists across various genres.

Plank's passion for music began at an early age. He grew up in a musical household, with his father being an accomplished pianist. Inspired by his father's talent and love for music, Plank developed a deep appreciation for sound and its creative possibilities. In his teenage years, he became interested in electronics and began experimenting with audio equipment, building his own amplifiers and speakers.

In the late 1960s, Plank established his own studio, the legendary Conny's Studio, located in the remote countryside near Cologne, Germany. The studio quickly gained a reputation as a hub for avant-garde and experimental music. Plank's approach to production was marked by a unique blend of technical expertise and artistic intuition. He embraced new technologies and techniques, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible in the studio.

Plank's breakthrough moment came in the early 1970s when he collaborated with the influential German rock band Kraftwerk. He produced their landmark albums "Autobahn", "Radio-Activity", and "Trans-Europe Express", which showcased his ability to merge electronic sounds with traditional rock instrumentation. Plank's meticulous attention to detail and his talent for sculpting sound helped create the distinct and futuristic sound that would define Kraftwerk's music.

Following his success with Kraftwerk, Plank's reputation grew, and he became sought after by artists from around the world. He worked with a diverse range of musicians, including Brian Eno, Neu!, Can, Cluster, Devo, and many others. Plank's production style emphasized collaboration and experimentation. He believed in creating a comfortable and inspiring environment for artists, encouraging them to explore new ideas and sounds.

One of Plank's notable collaborations was with British musician Brian Eno, with whom he worked on several influential albums, including "Before and After Science" and "Cluster & Eno". Their partnership resulted in groundbreaking sonic landscapes that combined ambient textures with pop sensibilities, setting the stage for the development of ambient music.

Tragically, Conny Plank's career was cut short by his untimely death on 18 December 1987, at the age of 47. Despite his relatively short career, Plank's impact on the music industry was immeasurable. His innovative production techniques and sonic experiments laid the foundation for many subsequent musical movements, from electronic music to post-punk and beyond.

Conny Plank's legacy continues to inspire musicians and producers to this day. His willingness to challenge the status quo, his openness to new ideas, and his unwavering commitment to sonic exploration remain a testament to his enduring influence. Plank's contributions to music production and his ability to shape the sound of an era make him an irreplaceable figure in the history of popular

Record Label Information:

  Columbia 1C 064-28 886 (064-28886)

Media Format:

  12" Vinyl LP  Gramophone Record
Album weight: 200 gram  

Year & Country:

  1970 Made in Germany
Band Members and Musicians on: Sweet Smoke Just a Poke
    Sweet Smoke's Band-members, Musicians and Performers
  • Andy Dershin
  • Jay Dorfman
  • Marvin Kaminowitz
  • Michael Paris
  • Steve Rosenstein
Track Listing of: "Just a Poke"
    Side One:
  1. Silly Sally
    Side Two:
  1. Baby Night
Album cover photos of : Sweet Smoke Just a Poke
Photo of "Just a Poke" Album's Front Cover 
High Resolution Photo SWEET SMOKE Just Poke Germany /td>
Photo of "Just a Poke" Album's Back Cover  
High Resolution Photo SWEET SMOKE Just Poke Germany  
Close-up Photo of "Just a Poke" Record Label 
High Resolution Photo SWEET SMOKE Just Poke Germany  
Note: The images on this page are photos of the actual album. Slight differences in color may exist due to the use of the camera's flash.