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Smokie - 1978 The Montreux Album

ARTIST: Smokie
ALBUM: The Montreux Album
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2007, 7T's, GLAM CD 40


LINEUP: Chris Norman - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards * Alan Silson - guitars, lead And backing vocals * Pete Spencer - drums, lead And backing vocals, tenor sax * Terry Uttley - bass, lead vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Girl Can't Help It * 02 Power Of Love * 03 No More Letters * 04 Mexican Girl * 05 You Took Me By Surprise * 06 Oh Carol * 07 Liverpool Docks * 08 Light Up My Life * 09 Petesey's Song * 10 For A Few Dollars More

WEBLINKS: www.smokie.co.uk

By the time 'The Montreux Album' was released, the Smokey had changed the spelling of their moniker to 'Smokie' due to a potential lawsuit from Motown crooner Smokey Robinson. Money talks, but not that it mattered much in the States where Smokie where virtual unknowns. Why the band never broke in a big way stateside is a mystery although lead vocalist Chris Norman would strike gold in the lower 48 in 1979 with Suzi Quatro and 'Stumblin' In' and was never heard from again. After the absolute tripe of that tune, is it any wonder? Meanwhile back in Europe, Smokie had a string of hit singles under the direction of glam rock power couple Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman and while the band at this time were trying to move away from the duo, their influence can still be felt on this record.

The Songs
For those unfamiliar with the sounds of Smokie, think Pilot, Blue, Jigsaw and Sherbet with a smattering of Sweet. In fact, Norman's vocals on the Chinn/Chapman written 'Power Of Love', 'Oh Carol' and 'For A Few Dollars More' bare an uncanny resemblance to Brian Connolly, although Smokie always seemed to lack that extra spark that made Sweet so special. As far as original material, the group does pretty well with the completely un-pc 'Mexican Girl; sounding very much like The Hollies, while 'Liverpool Docks' and 'Light Up My Life' show the bands rockier side, yet I can't help shake the feeling that with all the attempts to try an original sound, Smokie simply wanted to be and lighter version of Sweet, not that there's anything wrong with that?

In Summary
Smokie would continue to release albums into the early 80's, before slipping out of site and into the oldies circuit, but still continue to record it seems. Chris Norman would have a somewhat successful solo career, in Europe of course but hasn't been heard from since. Most of the Smokey/Smokie albums are easy to find on CD among the dozens of compilations that have been released over the years. While I'm not a big fan of comps per say, with Smokie they might be your best bet.

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Tags: Smokie 
#1 | jefflynnefan on August 28 2007 03:26:48
I have a Smokie compilation which I listen too every so often. I'll admit the first time I heard of him was the 'Stumblin' In' song. It's more a sentimental song for me much like 'I'm On Fire' by 5000 Volts. You know puppy love and all that stuff. If your a westcoast fan you should like Chris Norman. You can pick up a cd fairly cheap. Go to 'oldies.com' they have lots of great older cd's there for a reasonable price.
#2 | gdazegod on February 04 2011 10:51:24
The later Smokie compilations are very good. I have 3 of them (one from 1997, two from 2007).
#3 | Tom Redmond on October 12 2012 23:35:04
Superb band, still touring to this day albeit with a changed lineup. Well worth checking out their albums from early to late 70's
#4 | gdazegod on October 13 2012 02:04:19
They are still a popular draw among the old fogeys here in Western Australia. Which probably is indicative of the culture and attitude here to be honest.. still stuck in the 70's.. lol!
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