Monday, October 30, 2006

Canadian CD releases this Week

Tom Cochrane - No Stranger

While I have never loved Tom Cochrane, I have always admired his work, and have a few songs on my must play list. For some reason, however, I am looking forward to this CD.

You can get a sneak preview tonight on Q107, as John Derringer is doing a premier party at 10:00. If you aren't in the Toronto area, listen in on the Q107 web site.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Singles Scene # 9

Ottawa: The Capital Region. My wife has a sister who lives in Ottawa, so the kids & I decided to make a pilgrimage. It's a good trip, with many responsibilities as a tourist fulfilled: Dim Sun for breakfast, the war museum, Parliament Hill, including tours of the East Block, the Center Block and the Peace Tower.

The Parliament Hill trip is especially successful: The tours were interesting and kept the kids focus, the boy was especially interested in the East Block tour, asking a lot of questions and generally behaving well. Only two downsides: The Mounties seemed more interested in getting their pictures taken with tourists than investigating crooked politicians, and it was hot! Hot for July! Hot for July in Florida! Hot for July in Florida with Tia Leoni! 100 degrees hot!! So hot... we went for coffee afterwards!?!

My sister-in-law owns some coffee shops, P.A.M.'S. Coffee & Tea Co.. Two of them, including one in the Lincoln Fields Shopping Center. We go for some eats, some Slushies for the kids, and treats for the adults. I love their White Hot Chocolate, and subsequently their White Hot Chocolate Mocha Latte. In the summer they have an ice-cap version that I can't wait to taste. There is one other positive to the coffee shop: A record store in the mall, right across from P.A.M.'S.

Legend Records is a great shop, jam packed with anything in the music field. New and Used. LP's, DVD's videos, cassettes and 8 tracks for Christ sake. In all the time I have been hunting 45's for The Singles Scene, I have never run across 8 tracks in any measure. But here they are, boxes of them in full view, at the front of the store. Videos, taped off the TV, right at the entrance. So why can't I find 45's? I actually find a classical guitar section; take a test next time your in a record store, find a classical guitar album. I have looked and I assure you, only the good ones have any kind of classical guitar selection. This place has a pretty good one, and I grab 4( buy 3 get 1 free). But 45's? I can't see them.

A second time around the store leads to the discovery that below the displays, there is more, and different stuff. Whole sections. It is underneath one of the CD displays that I find banana boxes stuffed with 45's. No order, no placement, but 45's jammed higgledy piggledy into big boxes. A Loverboy* right on top of the first one. I'm about to dive in to that box when my eye catches a light blue Aquarius label at the top of the second box. Sure enough it's April Wine, surprisingly the first that I've found since I've been doing A Singles Scene. Within a minute or two I've added Rock and Hyde and found another Aquarius: Teaze Sweet Misery. I remember the band, and I'm almost certain their CanCon. So, at $1.00 a piece, $2.00 for the Rock and Hyde picture cover, plus one free on the buy 3 get 1 free deal, $4.00 gets me 4 singles I'm almost certain to like.

First on the turntable after I get home is Teaze's Sweet Misery. Teaze was one of those very hard rock bands that the 70's tended to spawn. They had some modest success selling albums (which is the only sales that mattered to any self respecting 70's hard rock band): I well remembering one of there albums often got played at parties I used to go to. This song wasn't what we listened to.
Sweet Misery is standard a ballad/country rock affair. It's not bad but entirely forgettable. This is clearly a song designed to be a hit. It succeeded, but at what cost? In recent interviews I have seen the band members lament the effect this song had on their career, as fans would come to their concerts expecting more of the same. Reminds me of when BTO was starting to play the music that would be their first album under the name Brave Belt, and fans would be calling for Dunrobin's Gone; This is cited as one of the main reasons they changed the name.

Side b, On The Loose, is a) not the Loverboy song and b) more like what Teaze sounds like; a cross between Triumph & Black Sabbath - a Canadian Slade. The Problem is Moxy, another Canadian band, did it better.

I flip on the April Wine next. The b side is Gimme Love, a bad song from a good album - "The Whole World's Goin' Crazy" - and listening to it now it is dated. Yet better than the a side She's No Angel . This is not the original from the "Crazy" album, but the version from ''Live at the El Mocambo." The El Mocambo album was recorded when April Wine opened for the Stones at their famous El Mocambo gig for their "Love You Live" album. April Wine's record company decided that a recording of a famous gig might be profitable. April Wine disagreed and the album was promptly released. Problem is April Wine wasn't very good and the recording was worse. This song sounds like a bar band recording itself.

Last up is ex Payola$ members Bob Rock and Paul Hyde's band, Rock & Hyde's single Dirty Water. This album saw a lot of time in my CD player at one time. I have a lot of time for Bob Rock, and I am a Payola$ fan. Listening to this I remember it well. A lot of bands were doing songs like this, Tears for Fears come to mind, but Rock & Hyde did it better. This is, in short, a great song that I enjoy listening to now as much as ever.

It was a good trip to Ottawa: a good visit with relatives, beer in a European monastery styled pub (did I forget to mention that bit?) and at the end of the day, I came home with 3 bands I remember well, even if it's only 1 song I remember fondly!

* Since this occurred, I have written the review, had a catastrophic hard drive failure that took the initial review down with it, and re written the review. In that time the Loverboy single has been mis-placed. I don't even recall what the Loverboy single was, thus it is not reviewed here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Canadian CD releases this Week

Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor releases his third solo CD today - "Aphrodite Rose". His previous releases where 2005's "Seven Songs for Jim" and 1997's "Gone".

International releases of note today:

Lindsay Buckingham - Under the Skin
Rod Stewart - Still The Same - Great Rock Classics of Our Time
Sting - Songs From The Labyrinth

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Canadian CD Releases

For Tuesday October 3rd, 2006

Vancouver band Delerium will release their 16th CD, Nuages Du Monde

International releases of Note:

Beck - The Information
Jet - Shine On

New Canadian CD Releases

For Tuesday October 3rd, 2006

Vancouver band Delerium will release their 16th CD, Nuages Du Monde

International releases of Note:

Beck - The Information
Jet - Shine On

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Singles Scene # 8

Just Up The Road: Cambridge in May! As romantic as it sounds, it can only really mean one thing: garage sales. First Friday in May I come home from work at 3:00, and 4 houses up the road there is a garage sale. Not Saturday mark you, Friday. Early afternoon. Yet it's reasonably busy. This can only happen in a garage sale town.

After sorting out the school bags and running to get propane, the boy and I wonder down the street. The neighbours in question are downsizing now that their kids are grown up, and are cleaning out the junk. And junk it mostly is. A box of books is all fairly high brow stuff, philosophy, German philosophy, physics and the like. Not a Clancy, King or Grisham to be found (presumably they aren't parting with the good stuff). Stuck in there, however, is a Charlie Brown Christmas. We have the video, now we have the book. The boy also likes a Skydome placemat that shows Toronto from a lake view standpoint, and we grab that. Myself, I find a pair of bookends for my desk, something I have have been looking for a while. Everything is priced fairly high, but when I ask about price, I get quoted a next to nothing price. Bookends say $20.00, he tells me $2.00. Charlie Brown book says $2.00, he says 50c. This is going well.

Then I spot the records. There where LPs I noted earlier, a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan and a Perry Como or two, but nothing I'm interested in getting. The 45's are about the same, with a few Simple Minds and that sort of thing thrown in; probably stuff that belonged to the kids back when they were kids. "A buck and a half for the whole rack" he tells me as I start looking. There is nothing however, in Canadian music and I want Canadiana for my buck and a half. They are in the last half dozen or so records: Stompin' Tom Connors singles. Two of them: Tillsonburg b/w "Wop" May and two songs I have never heard of Luke's Guitar (Twang Twang) b/w Log Train. I opt for just the two, instead of the whole rack, and he says $4.50 for everything: I only have $4.00 but he's in the mood to make a deal so I steal away with my 4 bucks worth of goodies.

The records are in very iffy shape, scratchy, scuffed and crayoned by the looks of it. Sound is not much better, but the music's there. Tillsonburg is everything you expect from Stompin' Tom. Basic country feel, cheesy lyrics about a smallish Canadian town: only thing missing is the stompin'. It's a familiar song and anytime I take the 401 west of here, I pass Tillsonburg signs of the highway and always sing a round of this chorus as I pass:

My back still aches when I hear that word

Hey, it ain't Shakespeare, but it's no Paul Anka either. I'll take it.Wilfred R. "Wop" May

The b side, Wop May, is a song about famed WWI Canadian fighter Pilot Wilfrid R. "Wop" May. Without digging into too much history, Stompin' Tom seems to have is facts straight and presents them in a simple ditty style, complete with a lovely Italian sounding guitar line in the Chorus.

The other record, Luke's Guitar (Twang Twang), I've never heard before, and it's classic Stompin' Tom. More upbeat than Tillsonburg, words that make virtually no sense. He even growls in one of the choruses, which basically goes

Twang-twangadee Aratwangadeedle a twange a dang twang
my wife will be old and blind before I sell my old guitar.

Or something like that anyway.

The flip side Log Train starts off mentioning my favourite getaway place Parry Sound. Only Stompin' Tom could rhyme of tiny towns like Kirkland Lake, Owen Sound, Manatou, Mattawa, Kirkland Lake and so on and get away with it. Funny that after listening to four Stompin' Tom songs, I never heard the old Foot stomp. I guess, all though I never noticed before, that he only does this in concert.

If there is any Can-Con more Can than Stompin' Tom Connor's, I've never heard it. It's not the greatest music, or the greatest poetry in the world (thankfully, though, it's no Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England), but I was looking for Canadiana: funny I should find it 4 doors from my home.