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Brewer & Shipley


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Kansas City MO, United States

Brewer & Shipley were a folk rock duo of the late 1960s through 1970s, consisting of singer-songwriters Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley. They were known for their intricate guitar work, vocal harmonies and socially conscious lyrics, which reflected the concerns of their generation — especially the Vietnam War, and the struggles for personal and political freedom. Their biggest hit was the song “One Toke Over The Line” from their 1970 album Tarkio. They also had two other singles which made the Billboard charts: “Tarkio Road” (1970) and “Shake Off The Demon” (1971). They continue to perform, both separately and together, usually in the Midwest.

The two Midwestern natives crossed paths numerous times at various coffeehouse gigs before settling in Los Angeles to write music together, producing their first two albums Down In L.A. and Weeds. Even though mutual friends in bands such as The Association and Buffalo Springfield also lived in Los Angeles, they left California in 1969, returning to Kansas City, where they made a meager living through playing in college towns. They derived the name of their next album, Tarkio, from a regular gig they played in Tarkio, Missouri. This album was their most commercially successful, featuring the hit “One Toke Over the Line”, which they wrote as a joke while preparing backstage for a performance.

Following airplay of the single, President Richard Nixon labeled Brewer & Shipley public miscreants. In retaliation, they referred to Nixon by name in their song, “Oh Mommy,” (from Tarkio).


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