Doctor Birds – Smoking

A reggae obscurity, this hymn to marijuana lives up to its title both lyrically and in a production swathed in dub effects – all echoes and strange sounds.

The identity of the artist, however, is something of a mystery that has baffled me ever since this tune came out in the summer of 1978. Something at the back of my mind tells me I first heard this on John Peel, but that may be my imagination.

“Doctor Birds” is presumably a pseudonym, as there was a vintage reggae label in Jamaica called Doctor Bird, but I’ve no idea who he or producer PA Scarlett really are. 

I do know that this sounds especially good with the effects swirling around on headphones, and that somewhere in my collection I still have the 12-inch which seems now to be worth a few bob, including the brilliantly bonkers dub version (Rock With Me) included here.

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