“Black Butter, Past”

“Black Butter, Past” is the first in a trilogy of songs that closes Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 LP Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow.

A straight-ahead rock song, “Black Butter, Past”, true to its title, seems to hearken back to a musical era before the song’s own — a mere two years prior, perhaps, around 1966 when garage rock was just coming into its own. The first half of the song may indeed be in that spirit, but the last half of the short song is a jam that seems to slowly get more and more psychedelic, with a keyboard solo and the band crunching along behind it.

Apparently leading to “Black Butter, Present” and “Black Butter, Future”, “Black Butter, Past” contains the striking lyrics that show up in one form or another in each of the trilogy’s songs:

“Pick out something you really need
Take it in your hands and touch it
If you strike it, will it bleed?
If it dies you’ll hear the cries and know the meaning of
Black butter”

The grungy electric guitar is the star in this song, with some great, busy chord work and some moments of great soloing.

Appears on

LP: Wake Up… It’s Tomorrow (1968)
LP: Changes (1971 compilation)
CD: The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology (1993 compilation)

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3 thoughts on ““Black Butter, Past”

  1. I think I know the meaning of…. Black Butter.

    I believe it’s a drug reference, speaking about “cannabutter”. The butter turns black after all its time heating and is used to get people high via eating. 😛

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