We can’t have two goes round the grinder and not top the trilogy off with the original (and let’s be honest) the best version. Steve Marriott of the Small Faces went full blown Memphis Blues when he formed Humble Pie with Peter Frampton (he of Frampton Comes Alive fame) on guitar, the bass player from Spooky Tooth and a teenager on drums. Black Coffee is their biggest tune but they also laid down the classic I Don’t Need No Doctor and the anti war anthem Tin Soldier among enough singles to make a greatest hits collection most bands would trade their roadies in for.
In a era when coffee is conflated into something akin to an art form by corporations who dominate our high streets and airports and train stations and every avenue where there are people with contactless payment devices about their person. Black Coffee can be overlooked.
Boiled Bean juice is also somehow now a symbol of self expression, it’s bizarre that the simple jug kept hot on a plate and good for (at least) three cups is seen as crude and unrefined.
You can take your Venti, your mocha, your arabica/coco-caracha hybrid beans and your Frappa-iced-ultramegaok-exress-undressed-tall-skinny-short-fat-goose-bat-mouse-follicle-americano in chinos with a dash of soy bois and you can put a little plastic terror dome on top of it and drink it through a straw (as long as it’s not plastic) the width of a drain pipe and you can charge the price of a decent album for it and I will be taking my business elsewhere. The simple mainline hit of black coffee is what I need. It’s here three times today because I need three of them to build my slow human clay form from the ruins of the previous nights sleep. I wake up every day with assembly instructions which read ‘Stir and add boiling water and ground coffee beans and stir’ just like most of the functioning western world.
Cup one puts the lights on. We are now able to move and wave and systems begin to boot up. Cup two renders communication systems on line. We can now smile and wave and joke and ponder and consider the world around us and the tasks that lay ahead. Cup three? That’s the charm. That’s the moment we start to do our own thing. I’m unique, I’m clever, I’m funny. I’m the right candidate for the job in hand and I’ll do it with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.
Yep. That sweet spot between cup number three of coffee and Life messing with your plans is the best part of the day. Here’s to ya then. A legendary song that builds it’s reputation from the ground up. This performance below features the amazing Blackberries on backing vocals and is introduced by the voice of the BBC from my childhood Whispering Bob Harris.
Coffee and Pie. Breakfast of Champions.