Sarofeen and Smoke

Band members               Related acts

- Dave Arliss - bass

- John "Zilch" Martin - keyboards, harmonica, guitar

Anne Sarofeen - vocals

- Ed "Duke" Shanahan - lead guitar

- Jim Watts - drums, pecussion




- Anne Sarofeen (solo efforts)



Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Sarofeen and Smoke

Company: GWP

Catalog: ST-2029

Year: 1970

Country/State: Auburn, New York

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: was sealed; opened to listen to it

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $20.00


This one's kind of interesting in that someone must have found a stash of them since unopened copies briefly flooded the market. 


Other than the fact namesake Anne Sarofeen was apparently from Auburn, New York and the group's self-titled 1970 debut was released by the New York-based GWP label, I can't say I know much about the outfit. Produced by Andy Wiswell (Bobby Comstock handling arrangements), "Saforeen and Smoke" clearly sought to showcase Sarofeen, which was kind of a mixed blessing.  We've seen a couple of reviews that compare her  voice to Janis Joplin, or Fear Itself's Ellen McIllwaine and that seems to be the main selling point here.  While it's true Sarofeen shared a rugged and bluesy vocal delivery, that's about as far as the comparison went.  Moreover, if you thought Joplin had a tendency to over-sing, then you're liable to have major problems with material such as "Susan Jane", "Cream of Nowhere" and "You Make It So Hard".  Maybe it's just me, but Sarofeen's voice also had a weird little quiver that proved particularly irritating.  On a couple of tracks she actually sounded as if she were singing with an accent; in the process baring a mild resemblance to Mariska Veres whom some of you may remember as the lead singer for Shocking Blue - yeah the "Venus" band.  Crap, forgot to mention there are also BS&T-styled horns on tracks such as "Lady Tragedy" and their cover of Martha Velez's "Swamp Man".  So by now you should be wondering is there anything here worthwhile?  To give credit where due, the backing from Smoke (bassist Dave Arliss, keyboardist  John "Zilch" Martin, guitarist Ed "Duke" Shanahan and drummer Jim Watts) was never less than impressive.  Shanahan redeemed himself with several nice guitar solos, though the dreaded horns frequently all but drowned him out ("Cream of Nowhere"). In spite of those earlier slams, we'll readily admit Sarforeen herself had a couple of nice moments - particularly when she settled back into second gear - to hear her at her best check out the ballad "It's Love" and the mid-tempo rocker "Witch".    


"Sarofeen and Smoke" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Susan Jane   (John Martin) - 2:23

2.) Cream of Nowhere   (Dave Arliss - Anne Sarofeen) - 2:10

3.) It's Love   (John Martin) - 3:58

4.) Lady Tragedy   (John Martin - Anne Sarofeen) - 3:35

5.) Swamp Man   (Martha Velez - Bellinger) -2:15


(side 2)
1.) You Make It So Hard   (John Martin - Anne Sarofeen) - 2:40

2.) Witch   (John Martin) - 2:48

3.) Tomorrow   ( Anne Sarofeen) - 4:03

4.) Rocky Mountain Blues   (F. Haywood - M. Tucker) - 4:40


For fanatics, "Susan Jane" b/w "Tomorrow" (GWP catalog number GWP- 523) were lifted as an instantly obscure single.  There's also a sophomore Sarofeen solo LP ("Love In A Woman's Heart") with a different backing band.  We've never seen or heard the second album.


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