"Music in Porn. Have you heard a song while you were watching porn that you actually took notice of? If you have, it was probably an Elegant Angel release." So begins the press release accompanying Smokin', the first album by Roscoe Bowltree's Blues Revue -- or Roscoe's Bowltree, as they're puzzlingly called on the back cover -- and the first release on Elegant Angel's record label. Elegant Angel, as you porn connoisseurs know, is one of the leading hardcore studios, known for such series as Buttwoman, Young and Tight, Bunghole Harlots, Where the Girls Sweat, Filthy First Timers, Tails of Perversity, The Blowjob Adventures of Dr. Fellatio, and the very popular Sodomania. Most of all, they're famous for Cumback Pussy, a series that had gotten to its 40-second volume at the time Smokin' was released -- and this is indeed a related occurrence, since the title song "inspired the series Cumback Pussy" (again, taken from the press release) and marked a turning point in Elegant Angel's history and the life of its founder Patrick Collins, convincing him that porn was crying out for real music. And so, Collins -- who has appeared in his own films, particularly the Bottom Dweller series, under the names Mr. Fazano (LOVE that pseudonym) and, lo and behold, Roscoe Bowltree -- hooked up with "multi-talented musician/teacher" Doug Scott to produce blues music for Collins' adult films, based on Dickie Williams' (whoever that may be) title song for Cumback Pussy. The term "blues" is used pretty loosely here, meaning only clean, drum machine-driven grinders that would have been used as background music in beer commercials from the first Bush presidency if it wasn't being used as a soundtrack in jack-off videos in the second Bush administration. This is arid, processed music, largely due to the sequenced rhythm tracks and cavernous production of vocals, harp, and guitars, but it isn't amateurishly done -- perhaps if it were performed with a live band, with a little more imagination, it could have been a contender for legitimate release among contemporary blues labels, since it's competent and musically commercial, but it is true that the subject of tunes like "Big Bottom Sadie" and "Sodomania" would be a sticking point; they're filled with enough dumb, sleazy lyrics that make Luther Campbell seem eloquent (not to mention that they reveal just how tremendous Kid Rock's words really are). The thing is, Smokin' just falls into a netherworld -- it could be argued that it is better than most porn music (though there's more charm and personality in Vivid's attempts to ape contemporary songs or in classic wah-wah drenched '70s flicks than this), but it certainly can't hold its own against even the dullest Malaco release, nor does it have enough spark to be a novelty. It's just an oddity, which isn't quite enough.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine