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The Smoke from a Distant Fire

44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 13, 2004
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Editorial Reviews


1. Smoke From A Distant Fire
2. Mollah Moo Mazuma (Sin City Wahh-oo)
3. Oriental Gate (No Chance Of Changin' My Mind)
4. Shake It To The Right
5. Squire James
6. Does It Have To Be You
7. Lou
8. Sunshine In My Heart Again
9. In For The Night
10. Rainbows Colored In Blue

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Collector's Choice
  • ASIN: B0001CKRBE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,782 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Raleigh Mckeever on September 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I think I first heard "Smoke From A Distant Fire" about a year ago on the radio. When I did, I LOVED it. And not just the sound. I loved the story and concept, too. A cheating woman getting busted and sent packing? Sure beats the stereotypical "cheating man" songs I usually hear.

Anyway, I finally found out the name of the performer, but was surprised that I couldn't find any of their albums anywhere; music stores, online stores, etc. I finally caught it as a "Pre-order" item on Amazon and had to wait about a month for it. And was it ever worth the wait!!!

I finally received it about a month ago and have not gotten tired of it yet. And not just "Smoke From A Distant Fire". I'm talking about the ENTIRE CD. And that's unusual for me because I'll usually buy an album for one song and EVENTUALLY get into the rest of them; sometimes years afterward. This time, I took to ALL OF THEM like old friends.

If you like Hall & Oates, you'll love these songs. I say that because in some songs, John Townsend hits notes that sound like Daryl Hall; specifically in "Lou". The only difference is, there is more of a southern-flavor to these songs (not country...southern).

Also, if you like Kenny Loggins, you'll also love this CD, too. He shares a lead with Townsend on "Oriental Gate" that is CLASSIC Loggins; not to mention the backing vocals he did on "Does It Have To Be You".

I have this album saved to Media Player at work and on my home computer with the CD living in my car. As I said, I have not become tired of listening to it yet. I think mostly because they are all well told stories that display not only the range of the singer, but also of the songwriters.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jim Wood on September 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you took Firefall,Seals and Crofts and Orleans put them into the same studio you would have the same general sound and feeling this album generates. The title track "Smoke from a Distant Fire", is an upbeat tune which tells the story of love rejected and illustrates the old saying "What goes around, comes around". Nothing violent or anything of that nature, more simply stated the grass is not always greener on the other side. When this song came out in the mid-70's the title track got very little airtime which is a shame as it is truly a remarable tune.The rest of the album is far from disappointing. The track "Oriental Gate" is another moving tune that will have you wondering why didn't a tune of this caliber get any airplay. The rest of the CD does not disappoint, a collage of rock,classical influence,outstanding vocals and lyrics makes this one a must have.This is one of those rare albums that has and will stand the test of time.I have waited 20 years for this to reissue and it sounds even better the second time around.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "bradlee001" on March 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I hate to do a "me too" review, but I first want to confirm what the other reviewers have said about this record. Yes, the musicianship and production values are truly top notch. Yes, the vocal work is excellent. But on this recording, what matters are the songs. This is, indeed, one of the greatest pop recordings of all time. I, too, am simply amazed that such an incredible album could be released on a major label (Warner Bros.), only to fall into almost complete obscurity. This may be the best album that you have never heard. I can only assume that the record company was focusing their attention on some other type of music, and failed to promote the recording. For the most part, the album is very funky and danceable, mixed in with some slower stuff such as the beautiful blues track, "Rainbows Colored in Blue" and the delightful "Squire James," which is a musical ghost story. It's hard to imagine somebody who wouldn't love this record. Incidently, I would like to point out that this album has been released under two titles. It was originally released as "The Sanford Townsend Band," which is the title it is listed under here. However, it was later re-released as "Smoke from a Distant Fire," by Sanford and Townsend. Same album. Same incredible music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I originally saw this band in Hollywood at The Roxy in 1977. They were virtual unknowns at the time, opening for Dion - of all artists! I owned the 12" LP, but lost it somewhere in a move. I have been anxiously waiting for the release of this CD.
Although Smoke From A Distant Fire is their best known hit (peaked at #9 in 1977), there are other strong tracks on this CD. Among them, "In For The Night" demonstrates the vocal range and songwriting abilities of both Ed Sanford and John Townsend.
The lyrics are especially compelling. Most of the songs tell stories (a la Gordon Bok). Whether they be of love lost, love found or one of my favorites -- "Lawdy Lou", a story of a friend who loses another to an overdose -- they are presented along with compelling arrangements.
This is late 70s pop-jazz, Steely Dan-inspired music at its best. Good lyrics, instrumentation. This is a "musicians band" if ever there was one.
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