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4.6 out of 5 stars
One Toke Over the Line: Best of
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I can relate to the comments made by a previous viewer regarding the fact that Brewer and Shipley were really one hit wonders, but they were by no means a one-trick act. On the contrary, they were very talented and very skilled performers and artists. For example, anyone who listens closely to their "Shake Off The Demon" album will quickly recognize the depths of their abilities. So, although their catalogue of hits is short, the range of their work is much broader, and it is a shame that much of that work is not included here. I would much prefer to see an anthology that addressed a lot of the excellent folk-rock releases they produced, including a lot of the material from the "Shake Off The Demon" Album. For example, their treatment of Jackson Browne's "Rock Me On The Water" is probably the single best interpretation of the song I have yet heard, yet it is not available anywhere for anyone not having the original vinyl album.
What is included here is good stuff, but there is too little of it and it is not fully representative of all their work. Once again, like a previous reviewer I feel that much more should be included from their earlier and more elemental phases. Yet this is not to deny the appeal of what is here, including "One Toke Over The Line", "Tarkio Road", "Oh, Mommy, "People Love Each Other", and a lovely cover of Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower'. Also here is "Shake Off The Demon", "Yankee Lady", and an interesting number called "Fifty States Of Freedom" which is kind of an instant ticket back to those fabled times in the sixties when such commentaries meant something. All in all, this is an interesting album, and one I am glad to own, but I am hoping for a more complete and more representative release of the corpus of their work, including the bulk of the songs from "Shake Off The Demon" someday soon. Enjoy!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2003
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I suppose Brewer and Shipley were "one hit wonders" to most, but not where I came from (Kansas). Tom & Mike were our local heroes, KC area boys who made a name for themselves doing what they loved, making music.
Much of their best music didn't get AM radio airplay. "Oh Mommy", was our pseudo-hippie anthem and, thankfully, is included in this woefully inadequate compilation.
Tom & Mike harmonize as well as any brother act. Their songs have a wonderful folkie sound that harkens back to a safer, simpler time when "make love not war" was our slogan.
I originally gave this CD 3 stars because this "collection" misses quite a few of my favorite B/S songs like, "Song From Platte River", "Don't Want To Die In Georgia", and Jackson Browne's "Rock Me On The Water".
But I added back one star because it includes my favorite B/S song, "Rise Up (Easy Rider)", and another great one "Fifty States of Freedom".
It's a shame that Rhino or some other smart label hasn't put together a decent B/S package.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Brewer & Shipley came to my attention as a teenager, with the song "One Toke Over the Line." I bought the Tarkio Road album then and was fascinated by the rest of the music I heard, and wondered why the rest of the songs weren't playing on the radio. 25 years or so later, I sing opera and jazz standards myself, but I still love Brewer & Shipley. There is nothing more inspirational and valuable than this kind of music (wish I could sing it myself). In addition, this music reflects the roots & history of our culture (and not the invention of a marketer). The songs are full of meaning and a reflection of thoughtful artists and musicians. Now that folk, blues and bluegrass are regaining some popular attention I hope that generations younger than I will discover Brewer & Shipley for themselves (and that Tarkio Road will be re-issued). And today I'm ordering this CD for myself.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I have had the pleasure and privilege of Michael and Tom's friendship for over 30 years, not to mention my being a huge fan as well. During their heyday years (1968-1973), Brewer & Shipley were not just writing acoustic songs that bordered on the folk/rock line, but anthems that truly had something to say and leave the listener with some food for thought after the song was over. Their biggest success, the once-banned "One Toke Over The Line", was written one night back stage as a song they could close with, not as the tune that everyone knows and refers to as their one hit. Many of the songs in this collection by their pens ("Shake Off The Demon", "People Love Each Other", and "Oh, Mommy", for example) still register as subjects that we can still talk about today, even with the names changed. Expert interpreters of the songs of others, B & S still have the quintessential acoustic versions of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower", Jesse Winchester's "Yankee Lady", and the late Jim Pepper's native American chant, "Witchi Tai To". To be sure, there are songs that are not represented here that many of us who followed their career do miss. Their "Tarkio" album, once in print on compact disc, is now unavailable. Much of their catalogue has never been reissued, and maybe someday, if we're lucky, it will be. For the time being, we have this to listen to...and we should be listening to it as intently under today's political conditions as we did the first time around!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
"One Hit Wonder" is an epithet usually pinned on artists whose entire catalog is one song deep. But the term is also applied to those whose lifelong artistry finds but momentary alignment with popular taste - the flashbulb of acclaim illuminating only the surface of a deep reservoir of music. Such was the case for Brewer & Shipley. Their breakthrough hit, "One Toke Over the Line," catapulted them to fame, yet their music careers neither began nor ended with this success.

Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley had been kicking around the Los Angeles folk scene for several years when their third album produced their only top-ten hit, "One Toke Over the Line." The controversy stirred by the song's lyrics prompted tremendous media exposure (a pre-resignation Spiro Agnew called the duo "subversive to American youth," while Lawrence Welk performed the song as neo-gospel), but it didn't translate into further chart success. When the spotlight faded, the duo continued to record superb albums throughout the 70s, blending country, rock, blues and folk with their perfectly matched harmonies. Four of their LPs were cherry-picked for this set, featuring guests like Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, Nicky Hopkins, Red Rhodes, John Cippollina, and Nick Gravenites.

Highlights on this fourteen-song collection include several tracks from the "Tarkio Road" album that spawned the hit, including the stellar folk-blues of the title track, the inner-travelogue, "Fifty States of Freedom," and the country-folk "Oh Mommy." Their country-folk sound is also heard on the opener, "People Love Each Other," taken from their second LP, "Weeds." Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" gains a unique edge from the duo's harmony singing, and Jesse Winchester's "Yankee Lady" fits perfectly with the overall feel of their original compositions.

Brewer & Shipley's music was clearly deeper than the one hit that penetrated the confines of Top 40 radio. This collection is a great introduction to the rest of their (mostly out-of-print) catalog.

4-1/2 stars, if Amazon allowed fractional ratings.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Looking at the track list for "The Best Of" I was hoping for more of "Weeds"-Brewer and Shipley's 1969 Kama Sutra debut. Even with 7 tracks, the powers-that-be chose to miss 3 of the best ones; 'Indian Summer,' 'Too Soon Tomorrow,' and 'Oh, Sweet Lady.' all three offer some of the best melodies and harmonies on the album.
In fact, I don't think there is a track from "Weeds" that doesn't belong on a true greatest hits, really. And, of course, "Weeds" is out of print!
"Tarkio" is a good album, too. I know you have to stop and make a choice somewhere. It seems a shame, though.
Oh yes, get this CD. All are strong tracks. A decent overview.
Brewer and Shipley left the craziness of LA for Kansas City in the late 60's. And KC still loves 'em. Wonderful to hang with and perfect match for making music. Very adequate for a duo live.
Fortunately you can now get the first two albums complete from
Collector's Choice Music with amazing liners!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I discovered this group by reading in the liner notes of the Grateful Dead's 'American Beauty' album, where it says that Jerry Garcia contributed some Pedal Steel Guitar to Brewer & Shipley's 'Tarkio' album, and then a good friend of mine played me "One Toke Over The Line" and I knew that I had to hear more.

Basically what I was dealing with a singer/songwriter duo that easily rivals Simon & Garfunkel, America, and CSNY. However, their sound has a more country twang. Starting off with the hippie anthems "People Love Each Other" and the title hit, I knew that there was something special with these guys.

These guys do good political songs like "Oh Mommy", nice folk tunes like "Ruby On The Morning", and good road trip anthems like "Rise Up (Easy Rider)" and "Tarkio Road". They even jam out a little with "Fifty States Of Freedom" and their superb covers of Jim Pepper's "Witchi-Tai-To" and Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower".

If you like the country-rock stylings of Gram Parsons, The Flying Burrito Brothers, New Riders Of The Purple Sage, or The Grateful Dead, you'll love Brewer and Shipley, and this is the best place to start with their music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Unfortunately, this compilation is limited to the Brewer and Shipley material released on Kama Sutra/Buddha. Brewer and Shipley originally started out on the A&M label with a single eponymous album. The quality of the music on the A&M album was a magnitude better than that released on Kama Sutra/Buddha, inasmuch as it was more "progressive/underground FM" oriented. It would have been nice to include some of the tracks from the A&M label (my fave is "Green Bamboo")on this compilation through cross-licensing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Yes, and I mean, HITS plural. Brewer and Shipley were definitely NOT a one-hit wonder band, as at least one reviewer here said. I remember 3 Brewer and Shipley hits from the radio: "One Toke Over the Line" (gotta love the '70s!), "Tarkio Road", and "Shake Off The Demon". This is a fine collection of their best. There is another compilation with their two albums on one disc, but it does not contain "Shake Off The Demon". So this is ultimately the preferable disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a nice overview of Brewer & Shipley's work. It includes their one big hit, the classic "One Toke Over The Line", and their minor hits "Tarkio Road" and "Shake off the Demon." It also includes some hippie favorites like "Rise Up Easy Rider", "People Love Each Other", and "50 States of Freedom." A solid collection of early 70's hippie music!
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