Cannabis Time Capsule, 1963: Jazzy Pot-Song King Hits Aspen
Danny Barker, middle, plucks a banjo.
Hey there, all you hep cats gearing up for the big 4/20 shindig/hootenanny this a’here weekend! How about we catch you cool daddies up on some jivin’ jazz history — Colorado cannabis style!
In our never-ending historical search through Colorado’s historic newspapers for pot-related stories, we sometimes go off on tangents. For example, the other night we were smoking a joint and listening to some Miles Davis when it hit us: jazz musicians were known for smoking reefers. And if jazz was going on in Colorado, so was some reefer puffin’!
Now, 1963 was more than fifty years ago — not all that far off in the scheme of things. But we did find this interesting article in the Friday, September 13, 1963 Aspen Daily Times about an all-night jazz party being thrown at the Hotel Jerome by some recent Denver transplants to Aspen.
Most of it is pompous, boring socialite stuff — but we have to give credit to Mr. Richard D. Gibson for his love of Dixieland jazz and for bringing what now accounts to probably the very beginnings of the Aspen Jazz festival to the valley in one way or another.
With them likely came a little ganja as well (not that there wasn’t already plenty in the valley in the early 1960s).
Follow along, as we’re going to get really meta here. One of the musicians on the bill was guitarist Danny Barker.
Who is guitarist Danny Barker, you ask? Well, aside from being known as one of the jazz greats, he’s the guy who played on one of the most famous old-school jazz songs about weed ever: "Light It Up" by Buster Bailey’s Rhythm Busters.
And what better time to light up to that tune than right now?
The lyrics read:
Light up! Lets all get mellow,
Light up! It's smoking yeah all right?
Light up! Get hip I say fella
Light up! Say.. what is this Jive?
Light up! Let's all get ready
Light up! I Know how you feel.
Light up! Now don't be a Freddy, you'll find what I mean in any old field!
8,9,10 and then 11.
Hold up, now get your date going.
Hang up, I say that’s a thing (?)
Light up! Don’t let the man get you!
Just puff on your cig and blow the smoke rings
Also, there's a pretty cool house remix of the tune over on Soundcloud, thanks to Skeewiff. If it doesn't get you ready for 4/20, nothing will.
Get the Marijuana Newsletter
Stay informed of the latest marijuana news and views with updates about dispensaries, strains, products, changes to the law, and special offers in your area.