Tarkio (album)

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Tariko album cover.JPG
Studio album by Brewer & Shipley
Released 1970
Recorded Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco
Genre Folk rock
Length 36:43
Label Kama Sutra Records
Producer Nick Gravenites
Brewer & Shipley chronology
Shake Off The Demon
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Tarkio is the third album by Brewer & Shipley. Released in 1970, the album (also known as Tarkio Road, as that title was printed on the labels of original pressings of the LP and pre-recorded tapes) yielded the hit singles "One Toke Over the Line" and "Tarkio Road."

The title came about when they left California in 1969 returning to the Midwest, this time to Kansas City, Missouri, where they played college towns in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. The title referred to songs that came to mind when they were driving to and from Kansas City to their gigs in Nebraska and Iowa on the 2-lane U.S. Route 275 which went through Tarkio, Missouri. The route has subsequently been supplanted by Interstate 29. In 2011 they held an outdoor concert in downtown Tarkio to celebrate the anniversary of the album. Some reports have erroneously indicated the album was inspired by a 1969 concert at the Mule Barn at Tarkio College[2] but the group has maintained the song was based on the road.[3]

"Tarkio Road" reached #41 in Canada.

Jerry Garcia contributed a distinctive steel guitar intro to the track "Oh Mommy," which was purportedly a plea to throw Richard Nixon out of office. The album also features John Kahn and Bill Vitt on bass guitar and drums, respectively; they were regulars of The Jerry Garcia Band.

One Toke Over the Line[edit]

The single, "One Toke Over the Line," peaked at #10 (#5 in Canada) was the group's biggest hit. Spiro Agnew said the song with its reference to marijuana use was "blatant drug-culture propaganda" that "threatens to sap our national strength."

Mike Brewer can give this account of the origin of the song, "One day we were pretty much stoned and all and Tom says, “Man, I’m one toke over the line tonight.” I liked the way that sounded and so I wrote a song around it.” [4]

Cover versions were performed (by Gail Farrell and Dick Dale) on The Lawrence Welk Show, which billed it a "modern spiritual."[5] The song is notably mentioned in the opening of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and was notably "sung" by Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in the film of the same name.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Brewer & Shipley except where marked

Side A

  1. "One Toke Over the Line" – 3:16
  2. "Song from Platte River" – 3:15
  3. "The Light" – 3:09
  4. "Ruby on the Morning" – 2:15
  5. "Oh Mommy" – 3:03

Side B

  1. "Don't Want to Die in Georgia" – 3:45
  2. "Can't Go Home" – 2:29
  3. "Tarkio Road" – 4:30
  4. "Seems Like a Long Time" (Ted Anderson) – 4:12
  5. "Fifty States of Freedom" – 6:49

A CD reissue in 1996 added the following tracks