Box Set Review: Lynyrd Skynyrd -The Definitive Lynyrd Skynyrd Collection (1991 Canadian 3 Cassette)

After hearing the shitty news that Gary Rossington, the last surviving original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd had died, I wanted to do a tribute to him. I wanted to review a Skynyrd album, but which one. I have the infamously banned and relatively rare “flames” version of Street Survivors on vinyl(the album cover was issued with a photo of the band engulfed in flames 3 days before the band was in a fiery plane crash that claimed the lives of some of the band members and crew and was quickly recalled), but I couldn’t bring myself to look at that while listening. It’s a bit painful even almost a week after his death. Maybe some more obscure stuff such as Rossington Collins Band, or his solo albums from the ’80’s. Then I remembered I had this 3 cassette set I had bought a while back at Mike Ladano’s old record store that I had never listened to. It seemed like the perfect time to rectify that.

This set has 47 songs, so for the sake of not boring you even more than my writing usually does I will focus on the demos, unreleased and what some may consider b sides.

Free Bird (demo, previously unrealeased) – The first song on cassette one is definitely not the version we are used to. In 1970, the band had been together for 5 years, mostly touring non-stop. Their new manager arranged a recording session at Quinvy Studios in Alabama. It’s more raw, but showed the talent was there early on.

Junkie (demo, previously unreleased) – Holy crap. This sounds nothing like Skynyrd. I would say a Hendrix, Cream, Blue Cheer mix that sounds awesome. Who knew Skynyrd played heavy, wah pedal filled psychedelic guitar blues?

He’s Alive (demo, previously unreleased) – Another winner here with some more tasty guitar licks

Gimme Three Steps (original, previously unreleased) – Muscle Shoals Sound Studios sound producer Jimmy Johnson heard the above 3 demos recorded at nearby Quinvy Studios and he offered the band free recording time at his studio so that he could shop the recordings around and hope to get a percentage of album sales. Those recordings never had any takers. Obviously they didn’t know a good thing when they heard it. This version is pretty close to the album version we all know and love. It didn’t take Al Kooper much to clean up the sound a bit and open up Ronnie’s vocals a bit.

Was I Right Or Wrong ? (1974/1991, previously unreleased) – Al Kooper was the band’s producer at this point, and this song was part of the Second Helping album recording process. For whatever reason, this song was cut from that album. In fact, the song wasn’t actually finished until this compilation started to come together and this song was mixed and completed. Thankfully this happened. It’s a great song that could probably slide right onto a Bad Company album. The theme of the song is about a man that leaves home to find fame and fortune in rock n roll against his parents wishes, and when he finally achieves it, he returns home only to find the tombstones of his parents. The guitar riff is quite obviously the one that was used in Gimme Three Steps, so it is kind of like if Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd had went into the studio together to do a Papa Was A Rolling Stone themed song. I still wish they would have found a new riff, or changed it to make it onto an album. Oh well, at least it eventually showed up.

Four Walls Of Raiford (undubbed demo, previously unreleased) – 38 Special guitarist Jeff Carlisi often jammed with Ronnie into the wee hours of the morning helping him write new songs for the band. It has a Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues/Long Black Veil feel to it. Another one that should have made it onto an album.

What’s Your Name (alternate mix, previously unreleased) – This one starts off with a Mel Tillis stutter, and has a a weird section that thankfully was removed from the album version.

The Ballad Of Curtis Loew – This is the plain old studio album version, but since it’s my favourite Skynyrd song, I just had to throw it in. I played it 7 or 8 times today and belted the lyrics out full force. If ever I do a karaoke song, this will be it. The only problem is this is one of a handful of songs that literally make me cry tears of joy every time I hear it.

This boxset focuses on the 1977 and earlier, pre-plane crash version of Lynyrd Skynyrd that we all remember so fondly. However, it isn’t just another greatest hits collection. The booklet included along with this boxset is one of the better ones I’ve seen, and the inclusion of so many variants, demos and unreleased songs make this worth the price of admission alone. It was also available as a cd version and the prices are reasonable. I am so glad I chose to review this boxset, and that I went in cold without even looking at the track list. I heard tons of songs/versions I had never heard here, and it was an absolute joy to listen from start to finish. No fast forwarding, just a lot of rewinding. I strongly recommend to buy this boxset, especially if you thought you had all the Skynyrd you would ever need. Hint, you were wrong.

R.I.P. Gary you were strong enough to survive a major plane crash but old age and health eventually catch up to even the best of us.



Genitallica – McCarthy’s -Playa del Carmen, Mex. 2/24/2023

Whenever I travel, I always try and line up some sporting event or a concert to check out. Before leaving it looked like the only thing that might have lined up with our dates was a Lucha Libre wrestling match (which unfortunately we missed). While we were in Playa Del Carmen my wife and I stopped in front of a restaurant with a sandwich board that showed the entertainment was Electric Funeral. We asked the lady at the front what type of music did they play (please be Sabbath). She told us it was fun pop music (booo). I was almost giving up hope to find some entertainment on this trip.

One of the days was a relaxing day we spent by the pool, so I went online and started searching for things to to. I will be honest, my Spanish is pretty basic. Not bad for a tourist from Canada, but most of the words sail over my head. I wasn’t having much luck until I found a band name that really stood out to me. Genitallica. Cool. I love tribute bands. This one had a great name too. This would be a night were we know what was coming. We could just rock out to all the hits from Metallica.

We got to the venue at around 8pm and the place was packed. I noticed early on that there were no gringos inside. Playa del Carmen is loaded with tourists like myself who were non-Hispanic (gringo), and it was an Irish pub on a Saturday night, so I wrongly assumed this place would be packed with tourists. I saw a small stage setup at the back, but just to be sure I asked the bouncer if there was a band tonight. He said it was a Mexican band. Ok, so myself and my wife, being Canadians, were going to an Irish bar (I was the only half-Irish lad in there, so I sort of belonged) filled with Mexicans, in Mexico, to see a Mexican band. Got it. The bouncer told me it was $500 to get in. Luckily it was 500 pesos (about $36 CAD) for the 2 of us. We paid him the cash and went in. We grabbed some beers (about 2 bucks each) and made our way to the stage. If you’ve ever tried getting to the front of a concert in a packed venue, you know the deal. During covid I got even more adverse to my fellow humans being close to me. This place was on a whole other level though. There wasn’t one square inch of real estate not filled with one of my Mexican friends.

We chose a spot right up near the front/side, stage right, and close to the bathrooms (because I’m old). I can attest to the fact that capacity laws have no meaning in this place. Fire Marshall Bill would not be showing up to speak to management with his catch phrase “LET ME TELL YA SOMETHIN”.

The bar played some Spanish rock songs that the enthusiastic crowd sang along to. My wife and I didn’t know the songs, or the words for that matter, but no mind. The night was starting off on a fun note. The young lads in front of us were really giddy about being there. My wife has this thing about her that people radiate towards. Probably because she’s always smiling and friendly. Complete strangers will end up pouring their souls out to her. She could have easily become a counsellor or therapist. Anyway, the young lad in front of us started chatting with her. It turns out he is 23 (he looked 15 to me) and he and his cousin were in a band. He played bass (he pronounced it bose), guitar and keys. His cousin played drums. They asked me if I had seen some of their favourite bands (which I had), and they thought was so cool. They had that youthful energy about them, and barely stopped moving. They would often lead the chant “GENITALLICA!!! GENITALLICA!!!…” and the crowd would join in. The band was doing it’s best Axl Rose impersonation though. One Spanish song after another and more “GENITALLICA” chanting.

Then the band hit the stage and the place went completely nucking futs. The band were on fire and I could tell right away this was not a Metallica tribute band. They played original tunes all in Spanish. If I had to compare them to music I know, I would say a bit of Faith No More, some Red Hot Chili Peppers, maybe a bit of Green Day/Blink 182, some 90’s alternative, and the best of the early 2000’s Nu Metal bands thrown in for good measure. No matter the comparisons, the crowd ate them up. They resonated on every word and note played. They sang along, they jumped for joy and everyone had a good time.

As I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of being too close to others, but that couldn’t be helped here. I shielded my wife from the young guys I mentioned earlier in front of us. They were just so overcome by being able to see a huge band in their country, that usually plays large festivals in a small venue such as this. They were bouncing around so much it was almost like a slam dance. I put up with it because even though it was intense, it was fun. It reminded this old dude what it was like seeing a band I love right up at the front of the stage. Memories of seeing Van Halen, Green Day, Tragically Hip etc. back in the 80’s/90’s just made me smile. My wife and I really got into the groove. If there is no such thing as a magic potion to make you feel young again, then going to a show like this is the way to go.

I can’t give you a setlist as I knew none of the song titles, or even most of the words for that matter. Again, no matter. A great band is a great band. A great live show is a great live show. No matter the language or the location.

I am glad they weren’t a Metallica cover band. The place might have been full of drunk, loud, obnoxious tourists and the night may have ended in a bar brawl. Discovering a new band and reliving some memories of youth were worth the odd elbow and foot stomp. We left the bar as the band was doing their last song, and after getting through the Playa del Carmen Irish bar version of a zombie apocalypse, we stepped outside to see the line up of people hoping to get in stretching as far as the eye can see. Luckily we got there when we did or we would have missed out. Hopefully 2 happy people got to take our place inside.


Album Review: The Monks – Bad Habits (1979 Canadian LP)

This band (featuring ex-members of Velvet Opera,The Strawbs, Hudson-Ford) was a spoof on punk bands and was all but ignored in their native UK. The only issue is someone forget to include Canadians in on the joke. This album went to double platinum in Canada(which means 1 in every 120 people in Canada bought it) and was on constant replay on rock radio in the early ’80’s. Canadians loved The Monks so much that the band released a second album (Suspended Animation) that was released exclusively in Canada, and the bands only tour was a 21 day romp around Ontario, Canada. The band only lasted for 3 years, but many Canadians still remember this album fondly, and it is often seen in the used section of most record stores across the country. For me, I vividly remember sitting in my cousin’s living room at a farmhouse near Drayton, Ontario just like it was yesterday. For my 11 year old, strict Catholic upbringing self, seeing the front cover photo on the album which had a guilty looking nun smoking a cigarette with her skirt hiked up to show off her thigh high stockings. This was nothing like the nuns that taught me, let me tell you. Then the back cover showed her clothing discarded on the floor and the woman exiting dressed for a night on the town. Even if this album had sucked, it already had me hooked.

Johnny B Rotten – Johnny Rotten must not have liked the reference because he called the band “patronising rubbish” and “a poor imitation of the Sex pistols”. Apparently Canadians were not the only ones that were not in on the joke.

Drugs In My Pocket – The song starts off with footsteps, a tin can being kicked and a hypnotizing bass beat. My favourite part has to be the dialect about a mock drug deal with a Cockney buyer and a drug dealer with a Jamaican accent. The police siren and the guys running away end the song off with flair.

Love In Stereo – A song about a threesome relationship. “ wants to stay at home, the other wants a night out, one wants to read in bed, the other wants the light out. I don’t know what to do, ’cause I’m in love with you…..and you…” Sounds like a lot of work. One woman is enough for me thanks.

Bad Habits – More hypnotizing bass and vocals that went up a few octaves highlight this one. The creepy computer noises in the middle are as confusing in 2023 as they probably were in 1979, but they take little from this pretty decent song.

Spotty Face – Of note for me is the guitar work. I am 100% sure that the band Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet played the shit out of this album before they formed. This song is about not really fitting in with the “in” crowd. His “mates” will invite him along to buy beer but not really listen to what he has to say, and the girls run away from him. It reminds me of grade 9 when I wore my concert shirts with long hair, and the cool crowd was a bunch of posturing, preppy new-wavers. I didn’t try and fit in with them though. I found like minded people who thought I was cool just the way I was.

Dear Jerry, Don’t Try To Kill Me With Your Love, Norman – Songs title aside, this one has a really cool beat. It kind of reminds my of Police mixed with The Clash. Also more Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet sounds before that band even existed can’t be a bad thing.

Nice Legs Shame About Her Face – Side 2 starts off with this non-pc song, which was the only single to even get noticed in England. A mix of late 50’s Buddy Holly/early 60’s Dylan mixed with pub rock. I wonder if this song had a bit of influence on The Northern Pikes with their song She Ain’t Pretty.

Inter-City Kitty – More wicked bass work, and the distorted guitar work is pretty cool too. The exaggerated Cockney accent really stood out to this lad in the late 70’s.

Out Of Work Musician – Cool drumming mixed with sweet guitar work. This song might be the only song that drops an f bomb on an album with a nun on the cover that comes to mind.

I Ain’t Gettin Any – More Shadowy Men guitar work here accentuate this fun little ditty about a young man not having much luck with the ladies.

No Shame – A very Cars like song that Ric Ocasek would have been proud to call his own.

Skylab (Theme from The Monks) – A great guitar riff from the surf rock days accentuates this one. Although they were just one of the long line of British former folk musicians, spoofing on punk rockers while playing California surf music mixed with sci-fi mixed with spaghetti western, and appealing to mostly Canadians. Get in line lads.

The video below features the 1 night only show in 2012(which I am quite upset I missed), in which a who’s who of Canadian musicians played along with original Monks member John Ford. Please read the video description to see who played. Also go to for more info and music.

This album has both the brattiness of punk, and the catchiness of pop. Great writing, wonderful musicianship. catchy hooks. This album has it all. I even read a famous Canadian musician chose this as one of his desert island picks. It really is that great. You owe it to yourself to search this one out, or just come to an Ontario record store. It won’t be hard to find there.


George Martin Tribute/Album Review:Jeff Beck-Blow By Blow(1975)

For some other tributes please visit mikeladano , keepsmealive , and 1001albumsin10years

When I heard this morning that George Martin had passed, I wanted to do a tribute. I did not want anything Beatles related because although I love them, that is mostly all he is known for. I searched the internet to find out what other projects he worked on. It turns out, I have a few of his non-Beatles gems, but I knew this album by Jeff Beck would be a fitting send off. This album was Jeff’s first instrumental album, and was the first ever instrumental album to crack the Top 10. George was interviewed years later about the recording of this album and he said “I’m a simple person when it comes to recording. The sounds you get are 99% what you get in the studio.” He also told Jeff before recording this album “I’m not gonna give you any magic if you’re thinking of that; I’m not gonna give you sounds that you’ve never heard before.” and “The sounds are gonna have to come from your guitar, and you’re gonna have to work on ’em.”

You Know What I Mean – Ok. Right off the bat, you know this is not going to be like any Jeff Beck album ever heard. Jeff is one of the best rocking blues guitar shredders of all time. This was something different though. A side of Jeff we did not know existed. Don’t get me wrong, he still shreds, but the music accompanying him is very jazz influenced with some funk slid in for good measure.

She’s A Woman – If someone told me they were going to do an instrumental Beatles cover song, in a sort of Do You Feel Like We Do/Rocky Mountain Way talkbox meets Reggae backbeat I would have called them crazy.

Constipated Duck – I am really upset I didn’t go through school to become a vet. If I would have been able to listen to this as part of a lesson, all those spays and neuters would have been worth it. Maybe the duck is not really constipated, and is just holding it so he can hear the rest of this song. Who knows?

AIR Blower – Funky, chunky bass start this song off and continue all the way through. The drums keep a nice, steady beat. This leaves Jeff free to be able to what he does best, and that is wail. OH BOY does he ever wail. There is a nice addition of some well played keyboards that blend in nicely with the style of the song. The guitar work varies between higher pitched screams and lower toned grooves. They both feel right. There is sort of a spacey, trippy feeling to the song near the end that finishes it on a high note. The AIR in the title is in reference to the AIR Studios in where the album was recorded.

Scatterbrain – A reserved, but well thought out drum solo starts this off, and Jeff blends in like he so often does. Soon he decides it is not time to blend, but move his guitar to the fore front. This is a Jeff Beck album after all. Some wah pedal techniques, and a faster pace fill the middle of the song. Then the orchestra lets us know they want to be included. George Martin did the arranging here, and he did a damn fine job. Then the song takes a different turn. It has some wailing at the end that must have influenced Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) on the song Jesus Christ Pose. This is almost like 2 or 3 songs in one. A faster, more frenetic pace fills the last 30 seconds or so of the song.

We must now either choose to play Side A again, or flip the record over (I voted for the first option, since it was so damn fine).

Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers – Jeff’s playing here is more like his bluesy stuff of albums past. His guitar tone is so, so good. I suggest to find a comfy chair, sit back, close your eyes and let the waves of awesomeness envelope you in a sea of ecstasy. This was written by Stevie Wonder, as partial payback for Beck coming up with the song Superstition.

Thelonius – This stuff is so grooooovy, it could straighten the hair on Linc from the Mod Squad. Funky, wah pedal, soulful goodness. The bass thumps the large drivers right out of the speakers, and the clavinet is amazing. It should be. Not only did Stevie Wonder write this song, he plays clavinet on this song uncredited.

Freeway Jam – If I got to hear this awesome little number every day, I would drive the freeway during rush hour in the slow lane. The guitar licks repeat throughout most of the song, but the funky 70’s bass, and pounding drum keep us from getting bored.

Diamond Dust – A softer song with a mellower, but equally awesome guitar. The best guitarists in the world don’t always need to have their instruments scream to make you notice them. Another song with an orchestral arrangement by George Martin. What a fitting way to end an album, and say goodbye to a legend. So long George, say hi to John and George H. for us.

Apparently, Jeff never seemed to be satisfied with his work on this album. He recorded the solos over and over until he felt they were perfect. George Martin got a call months after the recording was done and it was Jeff wanting to change one of the solos again. George had to tell him “I’m sorry Jeff. The album is already in the record shops.” I’m not sure what solo it was, but I would have also told him you can not perfect on perfection.



Top 10 Baseball Songs

The baseball playoffs are here and my Toronto Blue Jays are a wild card team. They have home field advantage in the wild card round, and they have the slugging power to beat any team in the league. Their defence can be scary though, so who knows? Anyway, here is my Top 10 songs with a baseball theme.

10) Enter Sandman – Not really a baseball song, per se, but it was the entrance song for possibly the best closing pitcher ever in baseball. I know that he played for the hated Yankees, but he was freaking awesome.

9) Ok Blue Jays – Not the best song ever, and it’s a total “homer” song in more ways than one, but I had to wash the thoughts of the Yankees out of my foggy, covid riddled brain.

8) Baseball Glove – Another not so great song, and it’s country at that. But Gord Bamford is Canadian and the sentiment of a little kid dreaming about a baseball glove seems to hit home. Plus any mention of Roy Halladay is a plus in my books.

7) Glory Days – The first verse of this song is a real account of Bruce Springsteen meeting his old high school baseball buddy years later.

6) The Greatest – Kenny Rogers and some of the greatest baseball players ever in the same video. Sign me up.

5) Catfish – Another Yankee song. Uggghhh.

4) Tessie – a Boston Red Sox song. Double uggghhh.

3) Centerfield – I just love John Fogerty’s voice.

2) Paradise By The Dashboard Light – A song about a different kind of home run.

1)Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Album Review: Voivod – Nothingface (1989, 2022 RSD vinyl reissue)

Voivod are one of those bands that I always try and tell people about. They are fairly well known in the metal world, but most Canadians have never heard of them. They have been slugging it out since 1982, and I feel the only reason they survived this long is because of the thriving metal scene in Quebec, Canada. It must be hard to be considered one of the best Canadian bands by people from other countries, but not ever get radio play in your own country. I felt Canada Day was a great day to give Voivod some love. I have been searching for Nothingface on vinyl for around 30 years, so when it was released on the June Record Store Day (pushed off from the April date) I had to pounce. It’s been a favourite of mine for a long time so I will try and be as objective as I can, but no promises.

The Unknown Knows – Right off the bat I get a Megadeth meets the heaviest parts of Rush vibe. The band moved to a more heavy thrash/prog lane for this album, and the first song sets this tone for the album. Piggy (R.I.P) also throws his hat into the jazz circle with his playing. Snake’s vocals have a bit of a Dave Mustaine nasally tone which I love, but some my find polarizing. Heavy prog meets thrash with a cool jazzy twist. Sign me up.

Nothingface – If Rush were trying to emulate an early 70’s Yes song and had a cross between Dave Mustaine and Alice Cooper do the vocals, this would be the result. The 4 minutes and 15 seconds seem to take a much longer time to tick by when listening to this song. It seems like one of those epic 70’s era prog songs, only much less pretentious.

Astronomy Domine – Covering a Pink Floyd song, especially one from their early Syd Barrett era usually results in a cheap imitation. This is not that. This may not only be one of the best Pink Floyd covers ever, it may be one of the best cover songs ever. It may even be one of the few cover songs that is better than the original. A unicorn as it were. I’m on the fence about that but either way, here it is. Soak it in. SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!

Missing Sequences – This one not only mixes thrash with prog, but I hear some heavy rocking funk as well. As if Mike Patton was visiting Montreal when this was being recorded and decided to join incognito.

A really great A side. Let’s see if side B is as good.

X-Ray Mirror – This song has some cool lyrics “I am, he is, the face I hate, hate..I can’t believe this is my image. Like the mirror without a frame…the glass is broken but I look the same.” The instrumentation sets it apart from the wannabes as well.

Inner Combustion – A fast paced punky romp.

Pre-Ignition – With a song title that sounds like it was taken from a Boston album, this one may disappoint the classic rock crowd, but those of you that love late 80’s/early 90’s funk metal mixed with a punky thrash vibe will not be disappointed. However, if you like 70’s rock the middle of the song features an homage to Brian May’s guitar work, so even the classic rock crowd has something to love.

Into My Hypercube – The song switches gears a bit for the start of this song. Kind of like the very best of the softer, slower moments of certain Metallica songs through the years. There is nothing like a softer metal song to tune the ears to every tick of the cymbals and plunk of a bass string. It does get louder and heavier as the song progresses, which is not a bad thing here.

Sub-Effect – Away’s drumming takes centre stage here folks. When any drummer can keep pace with Piggy and Blacky, you know he is the real deal. A great album closer on par with many of the songs on this album.

I told you I wanted to remain objective, and I think I did. I listened with fresh ears and heard some new sounds. It turns out there was even more to love than I thought. The sticker on the front of my album cover reads “First LP reissue of this 1989 Prog/Thrash/Metal Classic! Newly Mastered for Vinyl by Peter Moore” I want to give Peter Moore a shout out here, because even though this album was recorded digitally in 1989 (I assume on DAT), there is an analogue sound to it, which is rare on a vinyl record sourced from digital. I suggest to hunt this one down on your favourite form of media and crank it.

Happy Canada Day everyone.


Album Review: Resurrection Band – Rainbow’s End (1979 Canadian LP)

I remember in high school seeing the bible thumping kids wearing Rez Band t-shirts. It was nothing like the music I listened to. It was not the work of the devil, and it’s number was not six hundred and sixty six. I just wrote off Rez Band as a band I would never listen to. As I got older, I got more accepting to many things, music included. I found a vg+ copy of this album for a buck at a thrift store. For that price what did I have to lose, and I figured this weekend was as good as any to spin this one.

Midnight Son – Wicked 70’s hard rock with the booming bass, pounding drums and amazing guitar work start this album off on good notes. Husband and wife Glenn and Wendy Kaiser with their back and forth vocals are sort of Ann Wilson and Paul Rogers like.

Strongman – Stu Hess’s guitar work is Joe Perry like and Wendy wails like a cross between Heart and Jefferson Starship.

Afrikaans – Long before any North American had heard about Apartheid, Resurrection Band hoped to teach the world about the injustices in South Africa. “God makes the colour, but the colour doesn’t make you God.” Amen.

Skyline – The harmonica is the star here. This one has a real Bad Company feel.

Paint A Picture – This one has an early Bryan Adams meets Steve Perry feel to it. If Steve Perry had a raspier voice this is how it might sound. The lyrics mention a blood covered cross and He died to prove his love for you. This song suits this weekend just fine.

Rainbow’s End – 70’s era guitar synthesizer starts this one off, then straight up, wailing guitars take over. Wendy’s wicked vocals are just awesome. If Led Zeppelin had a female lead singer, this is how it might have sounded.

Concert For A Queen – A bit of prog mixed with a little Jethro Tull start this one off. Fitting that the title mentions Queen since the guitar has a bit of Brian May sound to it. Picture a 70’s supergroup with Ian Anderson, Brian May and backed by the members of Yes to get an idea where this song is headed.

Sacrifice Of Love – This one fits into that late 70’s hard rock but also has a tiny bit of the late 70’s New Wave CBGB’s feel to it. If Heart had collaborated with Blondie, this may have been the result.

The Wolfsong – As I read these lyrics, it seems this song is a dig at televangelists. Telling others about God through song without asking them to empty their wallets seems like the better approach to me.

Everytime It Rains – The sax gives bit of a Foreigner flavour. A good song to end a really good album off on.

This long lost classic has opened my eyes toward Christian Rock. I recommend to buy this album if you ever see it in the wild. I know I’ll be buying more Resurrection Band albums if I see them.

Happy Easter everyone.


Concert Review: Rheostatics/Corin Raymond (Princess Cinema, April 8, 2022)

A few weeks ago my brother emailed me. He wondered if I wanted to buy his ticket to see the Rheostatics at a small theater(177 capacity). He had bought the ticket to the show but the date had been changed due to Covid 19. The new date fell on his son’s birthday and he didn’t want to miss that. I responded “Does the Pope shit in his hat?” (which means fuckin’ right I wanna go in my former Catholic, weird sense of sense of humour kind of way)

The band sent a message stating the doors would open at 7:15pm and seating was first come, first served. I wanted an aisle seat up near the front so I wanted to get there early. I got there about 6:50pm and there were only a few people in line. The guy in front of me had a Grateful Dead battle jacket and hair down to his ass. I figured I was among like minded souls. We started talking about the Rheos and he told me he usually only listens to music pre-1980 (although he only looked to be about 30). I asked why he was seeing this band and he told me the other guys in his band LOVE the Rheostatics. They convinced him he needed to see the band play live. I’m not sure if it was a condition to staying in the band, but I would like to think so. I asked what band he was in and he told me The Connors Brothers. Then I decided to (in my best stupid question, rock journalist voice) ask the question that I am quite sure no one has ever asked him “So. You’re in a band with your brothers then?” (I don’t have a link to the Pulitzer prize voting but I’ll look into it). He replied “The other guys are the Connors brothers, but my first name is Conner, so it works.”

I glanced across Princess Street and saw I guy on the other sidewalk surveying all of us in the lineup. He had a Cheshire Cat grin that was mixed with the joyful look of a pig rolling in shit. I figured he had something to do with the show but would have to wait to find out.

They let us in early and I bypassed the popcorn/drink line and got to my seat. The few in front of me went down the right side of the theater so I went left. That’s just how I roll. The outer left seats in the front row were blocked by a large speaker on the stage so I quickly plopped my ass down in the 2nd row outside aisle seat. I snapped a few photos of the stage and Dave Bidini’s/Martin Tielli’s wicked geetars. Martin’s double neck gets me every time I see these guys. It never gets old.

My choice of seat was soon a point of contention because the lone roadie chose to sit right in front of me. Lets just say that loading amps and guitars by yourself has a tendency for one to air out a waft of pungent smog strong enough to maim the savage beast. My watering eyes glanced over to the right side seats just in case I had to clear out. Thankfully stinky moved back up onto the stage for the rest of the show.

Mr. Cheshire Grin soon appeared on stage. He, in fact was the opener Corin Raymond. He told us how he opened for the Rheostatics years ago in his previous band The Undesirables. His set was filled with funny banter with the audience (plus a lot with the sound guy that clearly was overwhelmed) mixed with awesome tunes. This guy is the real deal. One thing that I found really cool was his laugh. He included it a lot during his songs. I’m not sure if it’s a nervous tick sort of thing, or if it his way of showing how much he enjoys what he does for a living. Either way, it’s really infectious. After his set I went to his merch booth and bought his last 2 cd’s. I was particularly amazed at the newest one which is included inside a 264 page book. I listened to it after I got home and numerous times today. I’ll review it soon enough, but suffice it to say it is awesome. He is sort of a mixture between Sixto Rodriguez (Searching For Sugar Man), Johnny Cash and maybe a tiny bit of comedic flavour like Weird Al or B.A. Johnston. An awesome combo if you ask me.

The Rheos soon make their way to the stage. A little drum tapping, bass plunking and guitar tweaking take place. Some might have preferred for the band to have done a sound check before hand. I, however love the interaction. The band also include the audience by chatting with us. The band is not all on stage however. Soon a tall man wearing a conductor cap, vest, dress shirt and tie saunters down the right aisle towards the stage. He either has an inner ear issue (an affliction I know all about) or is 3/4 cut (2.5 sheets to the wind, almost pissed, fairly inebriated).

When Martin grabs his double neck guitar there is no amount of intoxicant that could stop him from making those sweet sounds. He may be the best Canadian guitar god that no one talks about. There were times that it appeared he could barely stand but his playing was amazing.

The band announced that this was their first show since 2019. (I’m not sure why they were not playing in 2020 or 2021. It’s not like the world had anything newsworthy going on.) You wouldn’t know from the band though. They showed no signs of rust.

The night was going great until the song Here Come The Wolves. First Martins cap falls off. Then he wanted to switch guitars. He looked overheated and confused and as I was filming the performance of this song it was quite evident that he was in a state of distress. I was really hoping he wasn’t going into a full blown medical issue. Part way through the song he states I think he was lost as to where his place was in the song, and he seemed to forget his lyrics. As Martin is struggled Tim Vesely looks over and you can tell he has a sense of concern for his bandmate. Martin exclaims “I was tuning the first fucking part of the song. I don’t know where we are. (Nervous laughter from the audience). Fuck this!! (takes guitar off and stumbles off stage)” Then Martin briefly goes back on stage and Tim smiles. His smile soon fades because he, and we thought Martin was back from a tiny brain fart but he was searching for his hat. He finds it and exits the stage again. Dave tells his band mate. “Hold on Martin. Let rock and roll offer you a second chance. Even a third and a forth chance (the crowd cheers)” The band make a few light hearted jokes to ease the tension and Dave Bidini asks us “That was going pretty well wasn’t it?” He mentions it may have been his fault for how he started the song. (He took all the blame on himself. He is a consummate bandmate by bailing out Martin)

Dave says “Maybe we’ll just go over there until Martin decides to join us”. The rest of the band move into the left aisle 2 feet to my left and do an impromptu acoustic jam session which I have to say was fucking amazing. Now I know what it must have been like being on the Festival Express.

Eventually when Martin has not returned the band take a little break. After the break the entire band including Martin arrive all refreshed. Martin has changed into a U.S. Scout Troop shirt and it appears the cool night air has done him some good. A fan has also been turned on in front of him to keep him cool.

The band play a few more songs and then say good night. The audience keeps cheering and no one goes home. we know the deal. The band comes back on stage for the encore. A few more songs and we are satisfied. The band gave their all for us tonight.

Overheating and possible over indulgence goes hand in hand with rock n roll. The pandemic was hard on everyone. Over 2 years of not performing takes its toll on musicians and some bands folded under the pressure. The first time back to your job after 2 years is enough to show a few cracks in anyone’s armour. I don’t hold it against Martin for what happened to him last night. In fact, if it had not happened maybe the band would not have all stood right beside me in the aisle and sang. It begs the question: Is a perfectly choreographed live show perfect? Not to me it’s not. Seeing a setlist from a band in which the same songs are played in the same order through an entire tour is boring. This night was certainly not that.

I asked my roadie friend for a setlist and he grabbed me the one from Hugh Marsh. Thanks for that bud. Smell ya later.


Taylor Hawkins Top 10

I saw earlier today that Taylor Hawkins has died at the age of 50. While I am not the biggest Foo Fighter fan in the world (mostly due to Dave Grohl), I did see the band live a few years ago and they put on a great show. The highlight of the night was watching Taylor smash his drums. The guy had a lot of talent and he will be missed.

10 W/Guns N Roses Live 2018

9 Brian May – Cyborg

8 Sass Jordan European Tour 1994 – At 22 Taylor was working in a music store and was asked if he would go on tour with a female Canadian singer. He agreed to do it and the rest is history.

7 Alanis Morrissette David Letterman Show 1995 – After the Sass Jordan tour was over Alanis asked Taylor to go on the road with her. Canadians know talent when they see it.

6 Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones One-Off Show 2008

5 w/Chad Smith 2016

4 Foo Fighters – Somebody To Love 2022

3 NHC – Feed The Cruel

2 Grammy Salute To Prince 2020

1 Rush’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction

Rest In Peace Taylor.

Carol Kaye Top 10

A lot of you may ask. Who? Carol Kaye may be the least appreciated musician of all time, and she played during a time when women were not considered real musicians. The sexual discrimination she would have constantly faced must have been unreal. She has played in over 10,000 songs. She started out on guitar , but when she was at a job to play guitar, the bassist didn’t show up, so she grabbed the bass and without any prior experience played the bass on the track as well. Later, as a member of the famed Wrecking Crew of studio musicians, she was constantly hired to play on albums, mostly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including some of the most famous tv theme songs ever. I could easily do a top 10 just in her theme songs, but I’ll narrow the 10,000 down to 10.

10 Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (guitar)

9 Sonny & Cher – The Beat Goes On (Bass)

8 The Mothers Of Invention – Any Way The Wind Blows (12 string guitar)

7 Motherlode – When I Die (Bass) It’s pretty cool how Carol played on this London, Ontario, Canada band.

6 Mission Impossible Theme (Bass)

5 Buffalo Springfield – Expecting To Fly (Bass)

4 David Axelrod – Urizen (sampled by Jurassic 5 A Day At The Races) (bass)

3 Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (Bass)

2 Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation (Bass)

1 Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (bass)

Happy 87th Birthday Carol.