LUMPENPROLETARIAT—”Smile Happy” is song, or, perhaps more precisely, a tone poem, taken from the seventh studio album by War, circa 1975, which is entitled Why Can’t We Be Friends?. Check it out.
“Smile Happy” (1975) by War
[3 AUG 2016]
[Last modified 15:05 PDT 3 AUG 2016]
Robert Mesina said:
Coincidentally, I was just going through this album on YouTube. Since I no longer have any copies of it. It’s hard to say which is my favourite song of the album, but definitely, for me, highlights are Leroy’s Latin lament, and don’t let no one get you down. My wife loves the one hit that shaggy had that was based upon the sample of the first few bars of this tune, which I consequently hate, but, to each their own. War reminds me of something our mentor Gus pointed out, as how the quality of musicians being produced has steadily declined over the last 5 decades. I listen to this album now, and I still find things I couldn’t notice before. War, and many other groups of the era are certainly worth studying today, but not to emulate or create a catchy throwback version of, but to see what they did , pick up where they left off, and find a way to make it relevant and important today.
On growing beyond one’s influences to find one’s original voice, or style: RDM just showed me a quote, after the Diaz-McGregor fight, of Die Antwoord’s Ninja, who wrote about being influenced by the greats, such as, in the case of the history of hip hop, Ghostface Killa. But, unlike Action Bronson, Ninja kept working on his craft in search of his own original delivery, voice, style. Later, his homies would say he sounded like Kool Keith. Until, one day, “after much woodshedding” (as Professor Gus used to say in the conservatory), Ninja finally developed his own original style.
I’ll have to find that quote and share it here.
Yeah. War (the band) is awesome. It’s quite unique that they had a band member, whose sole discipline was the art of the harmonica. Lee Oskar is a genius.