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Humble Pie

A&M SP 4342
Released: March 1972
Chart Peak: #6
Weeks Charted: 34
Certified Gold: 9/8/72

Greg RidleyJerry ShirleyClem ClemsonSteve MariottHumble Pie have persevered. Their first record company (Immediate) went out of business, vile-tempered record reviewers slandered their early albums from here to Zanzibar, and their early tours were total duds.

Humble Pie - Smokin'
Original album advertising art.
Click image for larger view.
But, like another English group, Yes, Humble Pie stuck it out until they got their hit: Rockin' The Fillmore. Never mind that the Pie are a walking anachronism, a group full of mannered old Cream-like histrionic tricks more laughable than they are quaint in the face of modern Alice Cooper/Grand Funk/Sabbath power rock. For Humble Pie are such all-time losers they almost wind up winning.

Smokin' is (save for the live album) their worst yet. Except for "30 Days In The Hole," a perfectly competent Free imitation, this album must win the Wretched Excess award of the budding young decade. And I'm not saying that just because of the glorious 8:53 "I Wonder." Smokin' abounds with highlights aplenty that together compose an object lesson in how not to play rock and roll.

"Roadrunner" is slowed down to a tortoise crawl, maybe to showcase the just plain stupid one-note organ solos. "C'mon Everybody" is horrific, especially when compared to the heartwarming early-Blue Cheer-ish version by UFO (a real Third Generation British rock group, not sham posturers, and a fine one) on their debut album last year.

Other cuts aren't so much bad as they are nondescript, ultimately boring because of their length: for example, "Sweet Peace And Time" and "The Fixer" is four minutes spent around mainly two chords, which'd be fine were it the Stooges or Black Sabbath or even the Kingsmen or the Music Machine, but it's not even rock -- a mere ballad, for Chrissake, and a boring one at that.

"Old Time Feelin'," on the other hand, is offensive: the end-of-the-side WhiteBoy country blooze conceit in its worst form yet. The Stones play good slide guitar, but Humble Pie -- pssshew!

Mainly Humble Pie are just another less than mediocre English rock group aside from T. Rex, Black Sabbath, and UFO. I wouldn't care if they all collapsed tomorrow. To me, America is where the exciting young talent is: Fanny, Nils Lofgren, Dust, Black Oak Arkansas, the amazing Blue Oyster Cult. Even Van Morrison lives in the USA! But that's yet another story.

In the meantime, my next-door neighbor said, I didn't: "Smokin' makes a great Frisbee." A killer group, a killer album -- check it out for yourself.

- Mike Saunders, Rolling Stone, 5/11/72.

Bonus Reviews!

Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review:
Performance - Rockin'
The Fillmore

Humble Pie Lyrics

Humble Pie Videos

This is the Pie's first album since the departure of the erstwhile "face" of 1969, Peter Frampton. His replacement, Clem Clemson seems an insistently fervent guitarist and a welcome addition to the group. Top cuts include a surprisingly beautiful number "You're So Good To Me," a rendition of Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and a lusty rocker "30 Days is the Hole."

- Billboard, 1972.

Humble Pie, via Steve Marriott, has its roots in the roots of the Faces and they present the same approach to the music as they smoke their way through "C'mon Everybody," the Eddie Cochran flagwaver, and "Road Runner," although they debut some of their own material (particularly "You're So Good To Me") which remain firmly in the tradition of Anglican r&b. The Pie are getting the in-person exposure and developing the following. This album will be a big help to them.

- Hit Parader, 10/72.

With Mariott firmly in control, Smokin' featured grittier blues-based hard rock, with tracks like "Hot & Nasty," "C'mon Everybody," and the FM hit "Thirty Days in the Hole." * * *

- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

1971's Performance and 1972's Smokin' bookended Humble Pie's best album, Performance - Rockin' the Fillmore, and are as consistent as Humble Pie ever got on its studio albums. The latter has "30 Days in the Hole." * * *

- Gary Graff, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

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