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.