Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Andy Kim Article

One day before The Andy Kim Christmas Show, Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington has an article on Andy Kim's career:

Andy Kim Answering The Call

You never know how your life can change with the ring of a telephone.

And you never know what you can do to change things for others by picking it up. Andy Kim knows both.

He knows what it's like to be on the bottom and he's enjoyed the fruits of being at the top. It's the journey he savours the most.

"I never thought my life was a race with someone else's," he said yesterday.

He tells kids, "Every day is the day to do your best."

So, for the second year in a row, he's hosting The Andy Kim Christmas Show, presented by Mix, 99.9 at The Mod Club on College with proceeds going to the Children's Aid Society.

The 54-year-old Canadian rock'n'roll legend is hoping to help somebody because he believes when there is a positive action, there is always something positive that comes from it. "We want to help the kids."...

Read the whole article here.

Singles Scene #10

Back to the Basement: Christmas music has been around since there has been Christmas. Many songs composed by Bach in the 1600's, for instance, make up our annual Christmas soundtrack. Canada itself has developed it's own Christmas songs. Before there was the celebrity Christmas album, before Diana Krall or Sarah Mclaughlin could release an album of all Christmas music (or Twisted Sister even) and still be seen to have a credible career, there was the Christmas song. The Beatles did it, as did Elvis. Bruce Springsteen made it cool, and George Throrogood showed us just how much Christmas could Rock and Roll.

Canadian Acts have always been in the game; I have spent many years looking for Murray McClaughlin's Let The Good Guys Win. Featuring the Payola$ Bob Rock and Tom Cochrane, it is among my favourite Christmas songs (along with the Pogues' Fairytale of New York and Otis Redding's Merry Christmas Baby). Marvellously sung, with the three stars sharing the vocals, this Celtic influenced guitar and mandolin piece is magical, if not actually a Christmas song:

Ring the Old Year Out
Ring the New Year in
Bring s all Good Luck
Let the Good Guys Win
I used to go to Encore Records in Brampton, and for years they had a copy of Johnny Bower singing Honky The Christmas Goose on the wall. It was a steeply priced at $25, and I eyed it for years but could never dust off the wallet and grab it. Of all the records through the years, it is the only one I ever regret not getting: $25.00 is probably cheap by today's standards and it would be great to pull out Honky for the family on Christmas Eve, to go with my Bob Rivers Twisted Tunes CD. Besides, as I have never heard the song, it would be a special treat to own at this stage.

Corey Hart of course did Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but possibly the less said about that the better (although it was once explained to me that as Corey played the underdog, Rudolph was a most appropriate song for him, as Rudolph himself was the penultimate underdog).

Going Through my 45's, I actually have very few Christmas singles. The Eagles, Springsteen's Santa Claus in Coming to Town of course , but little in the way of Canadian. Except... Bryan Adams Christmas Time.

My copy, which was bought when it was a hit, is green with a red label. Kids today can't concieve how records that where almost always black, could occasionally be made alternate colour, which was considered exotic. Instead of stamping artwork on the CD, we had a small label with actual information on it. But these occasional coloured vinyl records where always a treat, and still are. My kids, who are firmly of the CD/DVD era, respond with a '"cool" when they see a coloured vinyl record. Bryan Adams, Christmas Time is one of the coolest.

The songs not bad either, A good old sing along, you can imagine the bic lighters during a concert. A reasonably simple accompaniment behind solid Christmas lyrics, this song is in the great tradition of Christmas songs. However, the song feels dated and could use a re-do, someone to modern up the sound, and if they could, cut the tripe-laden PC (circa 1985) 2nd verse.

The B side has much less of redeeming value. Reggae Christmas stands up less well. Not that it was a good song then, but now... The late seventies and eighties Reggae was stylish, The Police made a career out of playing rocked up reggae. Bryan Adams, however, made a career not playing reggae, and it shows.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Andy Kim Christmas Show

UPDATE: It appears the date is wrong on this. Actual show is Dec 20th, at the mod club - tickets available through ticketmaster. However, I found some pictures, listed as Andy Kim Christmas Show December 5th. Question is, Dec 5th of what year? All other information seems to be accurate, and I apologize for any confusion.

The Andy Kim Christmas Show will be this Saturday, December 2nd, at the Mod Club Theatre in Toronto.
Kim, singer of Baby I love You, Rock Me Gently, and co-writer of the Archies Sugar Sugar, will be joined by guests Stabilo, Emm Gryner, Serena Ryder, Tomi Swick The Bycicles.

Proceeds will benefit the Children's Aid Foundation.

Tickets are $19.99, available at Ticketmaster.ca - although I couldn't find them when I looked.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Milk Crate Classic #4 - Triumph

Triumph had a series of great, and popular albums through the 1970's and 80's. It is the first Triumph album, Triumph, that I turn to when I want to listen to them. Recorded in 1976, Triumph is still a great sounding album that carries itself well 30 years on.

Starting with the marvellous 24 Hours a Day, this album stays strong throughout. 24 Hours a Day would define Triumph for years to my mind, starting soft, with a gentle sweet lyric about playing in a band, before getting hard and hot, becoming anthemic through the chorus: "Everybody Party, 24 hours a day"; Triumph was, throughout their career, a great party band, and the theme of rock and roll life weaved its way through all their music.

Even on this album, the other great track, Side two opener What's Another DayStreet Fighter covers the same theme. But ultimately the songs that bring this album to life are the side closers, and Street Fighter Reprise, on side one and Blinding Light Show/Moonchild on side two.

Blinding Light Show/Moonchild goes to all the places Triumph would dominate in their music, hard, heavy and melodic intro, soft guitar over pitch perfect vocals for the verse, and a Spanish guitar solo in the middle. Nobody stops a song,or an album, for a Spanish guitar solo these days, and it's a pity. Blinding Light Show/Moonchild is not just a good Rock song, it is a top fight piece of music that encompasses styles, shows true musicianship while still being a good song unto itself.

Blinding Light Show/Moonchild ends the album in the same vein it begins, Offering something else modern albums never do, completion. It is not just a collection of songs, but Triumph's Triumph is a complete thought unto itself, beginning with tech singer complaining he can't sleep because the music is running through his head, "and I can't tell if it's Carnegie Hall or just some local bar." It ends with him in the centre of the rock concert, the Blinding Light Show. In between, it's taken "a long time to make it this far."

A complete, and solid collection of songs that, 30 years on, still sound good and fresh, if not just a bit to musical to be made of modern stuff.