One Toke Over the Line by Brewer and Shipley

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One Toke Over the Line by Brewer and Shipley

One Toke Over the Line by Brewer and Shipley

If you think that “One Toke Over the Line” is a song with a reference to drugs, you are correct.  Singer-songwriters Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley had become part of the Los Angeles folk scene. They wanted to return to their Midwestern roots and went on tour there. They wrote this song with the idea of being prodigal sons, of a sort, after living large. The phrase one toke over the line refers to taking one hit too many from reefer.  Shipley has said that “if you listen to the lyrics of that song, ‘one toke’ was just a metaphor. It’s  a song about excess. Too much of anything will probably kill you.”The song  “One Toke Over the Line” was on their 1970 album Tarkio and also released in 1971 as a single, backed with “Oh Mommy.”

A trivia tidbit is that  Vice President Spiro Agnew considered the song to be subversive, and some radio stations would not play it because of the drug references. However, in 1971, The Lawrence Welk Show had the song performed by Gail Farrell and Dick Dale. After the performance Welk said, “there you’ve heard a modern spiritual by Gail and Dale.”


Another trivia tidbit is that Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead played steel guitar on the album sessions. You can hear him on the B-Side “Oh Mommy.”


Here are the lyrics to “One Toke Over the LIne” by Brewer and Shipley:

One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Awaitin’ for the train that goes home, sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the train is on time
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Whoooo do you love, I hope it’s me
I’ve been a changin’, as you can plainly see
I felt the joy and I learned about the pain that my momma said
If I should choose to make a part of me, surely strike me dead
And now I’m one toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
I’m waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the train is on time
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

I’ll sail away a country mile
And now I’m returnin’ showin’ off a smile
I met all the girls and loved myself a few
Ended by surprise like everything else that  I’ve been through
It opened up my eyes and now I’m
I’m one toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Don’t you just know I just a’ waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the train is on time
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

Don’t you just know I just a’waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the train is on time
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line

I want to be
One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Don’t you just know I’m a’

waitin’ for the train that goes home sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the train is on time
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Sittin’ downtown in a railway station
One toke over line
One toke, one toke over the line

For More 70s Tunes

The System has daily featured music from all sorts of genres of 1970s music. You’re welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections in The System. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed “One Toke Over the Line” by Brewer and Shipley.

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