Smoking Tracks: Roll these 12 blaze-worthy songs from Texas artists into your 4/20 playlist

These smoker's anthems cross multiple genres, from rock and jazz to country and conjunto.

click to enlarge Celebrated Lone Star stoner Willie Nelson has written several moving tributes to weed. - Wikimedia Commons / Larry Philpot
Wikimedia Commons / Larry Philpot
Celebrated Lone Star stoner Willie Nelson has written several moving tributes to weed.

Texas music is as diverse as the state itself. It's yielded an amazing bounty of blues, conjunto, hip-hop, country, jazz and rock artists who create world-class work.

And an interest among musicians that appears to cross all those genres is getting high. After all, one performer's jazz cigarette is another's blunt is another's hierba, or something like that. Little surprise that this applies to Texas musicians, who seem to have recorded a lot of songs extolling their love for weed.

So, if you're looking to fatten your 4/20 playlist with new tracks, consider adding some or all of these fine smoker's anthems by Texas artists.

1. Chamillionaire "Ridin'"

At the risk of starting with the obvious, Houston rapper Chamillionaire may have penned the ultimate song about puffing while driving — along with a bevy of other moving violations. This one resonated with plenty of listeners, becoming a No. 1 Billboard hit and earning a 2006 Grammy for Best Rap Performance.

2. Sweet Smoke — "Mary Jane Is to Love"

Fort Worth's Sweet Smoke rose from the Texas '60s garage rock scene to become unapologetic purveyors of a psychedelic lifestyle. The name of the band and the name of this, their first single, left no question as to where they stood, which probably explains why they blew conservative Texas for Europe not long into their career.

3. Butthole Surfers — "The Bong Song"

The San Antonio-birthed Butthole Surfers' post-punk psychedelia was steeped in weed worship, but nowhere more overtly than in this song which features the gurgling of an actual bong loud in the mix.

4. Sam Price and His Texas Bluesicians — "Do You Dig My Jive"

This 1941 jazz classic may not be the most overtly weedy tune in the lyrical department. Folks had to be a little more subtle then. But by the end of the tune, it's obvious just what kind of "jive" they mean.

5. Peter Rowan with Flaco Jiménez — "The Free Mexican Air Force"

Although he no longer calls the Hill Country town of Blanco home, bluegrass icon Peter Rowan was nonetheless a longtime Texan. This track he cut with conjunto legend Flaco Jimenéz is pro-weed, anti-war and a counterculture classic that remains one his most-requested tunes.

6. Randy Garibay and Cats Don't Sleep — "Toke y Toke"

San Antonio's Randy Garibay was adept at sweetening his Chicano blues with influences ranging from jazz and doo-wop to a variety of south-of-the-border sounds. He went for the latter on this infectious, singalong-ready tribute to the devil's lettuce.

7. The Asylum Street Spankers — "High as You Can Be"

Austin acoustic blues and jazz traditionalists the Asylum Street Spankers recorded an entire 2000 album, Spanker Madness, devoted to weed songs. While every tune's a winner, this slinky number's sultry chorus and wailing harmonica make it an undisputed high point.

8. Mitch Webb and the Swindles — "H.E.B."

The opening track from this long-running San Antonio garage rock outfit's 1997 debut is a catchy homage to the working folks forced to forgo both their weed and their dreams to hold down a job. Sometimes we've got to tip our hats to those who want to get high but can't.

9. Sir Douglas Quintet — "Stoned Faces Don't Lie"

This track penned by San Antonio music legend Doug Sahm may be one of the finest Sunday morning wake-and-bake songs ever written. The laidback delivery and beautiful piano work make it a highlight of The Return of Doug Saldaña, a 1971 album many consider the band's finest.

10. Fearless Iranians from Hell "Iranian Hash"

San Antonio's prime '80s-era punk export had a blast satirizing fundamentalist fuckheads both at home and abroad while hammering audiences with pulverizing riffs. For those who enjoy "uneasy listening" while getting blazed, this song packs a lot of firepower into two minutes.

11. Mark Weber y Los Cuernos "Where's the Weed?"

While San Antonio conjunto singer-accordionist Mark Weber never really lets us know whether he's pro-weed in this country-inflected song from his 2019 album Moonshine and Mexicans, he uses biting humor to make it clear what bullshit it is to be pulled over for driving while Brown.

12. Willie Nelson "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die"

Come on, you knew we had to throw at least one Willie tune on this list. While there are more than a few to choose from, this 2012 song has become a crowd-pleaser and set-closer for the country legend for good reason.

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About The Author

Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.


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