Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette   6 comments

A recent news article about cigarette smokers finding a cheaper way to feed their habit caught my attention, reminding me again how lucky I am to have stopped smoking over thirty years ago. I don’t mean to sound smug about it because I have plenty of other bad habits, and since I was never a heavy smoker that might have helped, but I was somehow able to quit.

Anyhow, it seems that a few retail shops are now installing a new automatic cigarette-making machine, one that allows customers to participate in the process (by pushing the ‘start’ button). When combined with the use of a coarser cut of tobacco usually found in pipe blends, the savings in taxes lowers the price enormously. If I understood correctly, cigarettes end up costing less than half of full retail.

Thinking about the high costs of smoking — and I don’t mean just in dollars — reminded me of an old song I’ve always liked, “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.” I mentioned it in an earlier piece about Commander Cody, but it was also recorded by a number of others, including its co-writer Tex Williams, Phil Harris, Asleep At The Wheel (video below) and a guy who might surprise you — Sammy Davis, Jr.

A superstar in just about every facet of show business, Sammy recorded the song as part of the collection of tunes on his album, Country Classics. Since he was a heavy smoker himself, one who was seldom seen without a cigarette in his hand, his 1990 death from throat cancer was sadly ironic.

Sammy Davis, Jr. – “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette”

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6 responses to “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette

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  1. I can be even smugger – I have never smoked. I had the great good fortune of being born into a non-smoking family. Pretty unusual for that period. Dad didn’t smoke even though he was in the army during the war and ciggies were part of normal rations.
    I make up for it in other ways: trying single-handedly to reduce Australia’s wine surplus.

    It wasn’t just ironic that poor Sammy died of throat cancer, it was almost inevitable.

  2. You’re right, Peter. Apparently cigarettes were furnished free to the troops (at least to the Allies — not sure if the Axis powers did too). I guess they thought it was good for morale. My dad fought the habit for years, switching to cigars, then a pipe, interspersed with spells of quitting. He was still occasionally puffing at a pipe when he died at 59 (but not from cancer).

  3. This is funny I haven’t heard about this song for years. My father was a country musician and he used to play this song at his gigs.

    My mother used to make us go outside and play if we were at one of his gigs when they were playing this song. Ironically we could still hear it from the outside.

    It was actually a really catchy tune.

    “Tell St. Peter at the gates, that you hate to make him wait, but you got to have another cigarette”.

    This song would never fly nowadays.

  4. Dawson, you’ve put your finger squarely on one of the many reasons I enjoy music from the past — things were a whole lot less PC in those days. 😉

  5. I don’t know who Dennis Cunningham is but he did one heck of a job on putting that video together!

  6. I agree. I’ve been amazed by the quality of some of the videos that are out there.

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