Trifecta

January has drawn to a close with a brilliant trifecta in the sky, a full moon, a lunar eclipse and lunar perigee (supermoon in common parlance). It was bitterly cold and very early in the morning in our part of the globe, Edmonton, Alberta. The air temperature was hovering around -25 C and the wind chill put it well into the -30’s as I pulled on my long johns at 6:00 a.m., my son Joel had already put in about 2 hours of watching and he got some great photos from start to finish of the eclipse. This is my own picture, not nearly as good as his.

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Music, yeah, music. January closed with probably the worst concert experience of my life, and it takes some bad crap to reach the top that list. I won’t bother to mention the venue or the artist, both of whom I respect and have had good relations with apart from this isolated event. It was just a perfect shit storm. ‘Nuff said.

I expanded my listening to some crooning, R&B and hip/hop that I don’t normally listen to very much. I started with a Canadian who has 9 albums to his credit and with Real Love, David Myles tenth release, he hit an 8 out of 10 on my listening list. I really liked the way this smooth crooner shifts between rockabilly, reminiscent of Brian Setzer, adding a tribute to Elvis a bit of Sinatra and then manages to bring it all together in a mix that is all David Myles. I may have to get a solid copy of this one to spin on the old turntable. A very enjoyable listen suitable for just kicking back and relaxing.

Chris Dave and the Drumhedz

Another record that will be arriving this week thanks to the great staff at Listen Records in Edmonton is Chris Dave and the Drumhedz. Chris Dave is a highly regarded session musician and an in-demand hard-working touring drummer. On this self-titled album, Chris Dave takes samples of the jazz that influenced his early life, thanks to his Dad, and the hip/hop that he has worked with such as D’Angelo and The Vanguard with their great album from 2012 titled Black Messiah.

Chris Dave and the Drumhedz is a wonderfully crafted trip that floats, jumps and mingles with so much going on that it has taken me repeated listens just to hear some of the nuances within this amazing recording. A 10 out of 10 on my listening scale. Trust me, I don’t give 10’s away easily.

Gwen Cresens, Diego Matheuz & Brussels Philharmonic my listening to a whole new dimension with their release titled Concertos for Bandoneon & Accordion. Very enjoyable and I love the building and release of tension that exists in much of this album. A little touch of new classical that needs more exploration, an easy 8 out of 10.

Gwen Cresens

Nightmares on Wax, isn’t that a great band name? I love it, so I gotta hear it too. I heard it and I liked it. I listened to it again and heard more detail. And a third time. I have it on order for a full-on vinyl attack through the big stereo. I’ll keep you posted but for now, Shapes of The Future is looking good as a possible finalist for best of the year, right up there with Typhoon and their release Offerings.

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All in all, it was a really inconsistent month for both the weather and the music experiences. I sampled a band from Greece, I didn’t know that Greece had anything other than Vangelis. They do and they are good. Tango With Lions is the band, The Night is the album, get it to the Greek on time and spin it. Good music.

And this listen took me down a wandering path of Vangelis, OMD, and samples of several other Greek artists, some really good music going on there.

Moving into February I see only one show on the horizon for this month, a local band, Mortar and Marrow. They will be at the Sewing Machine Factory on Feb. 9, check them out. I don’t have any albums jumping out at me for new releases so I might focus on some of the older music that I listen to. Lots of Beatles so far, we’ll see where else this goes since my listening is seldom consistent.

January 22 from Norman’s View

I am sitting here listening to Bahamas new album Earthtones, which is a great listen, and thinking to myself about the music that 2018 has started with. First up was Daniel Romano in concert in a new venue called The Aviary. It is a cosy little room that worked really good for the band to work out in. It was a rocking good start to the year.

This last week has been crazy with new music. First Aid Kit came out with a new full-length album called Ruins. They are a pair of young women working out relationships and the confusion and pain of youthful romance and heartache. They are darn good at working all of that into very likeable songs. The problem for me is the irreconcilable fact that I left my teenage angst and broken hearts behind me many years ago, and these songs, as good as they are, simply do not resonate with me on a personal level. What does resonate with me is the music that First Aid Kit back up all of their writing with. They say on their bio that they listened to the likes of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, The Carter Family and The Louvin Brothers and I can hear overtones of all that and more in their songs. There is a lilt, a sway, a dos-e-do, and a vintage to their music that harkens back to these great musicians of the past that we should not forget. I am grateful for First Aid Kit and their nod of appreciation to the foundation builders of Americana music.First Aid Kit_Ruins

The Shins pulled out all the stops with their newest old release, The Worms Heart. I confess that I have listened to them only casually in the past but this release has demanded repeated listens from me. This is art rock in that it is a flipped version of their last album Heartworms, the order of the songs if reversed and all of them are played in a different style than the original. I know that this doesn’t work for some folks but I found that I liked the end result of this endeavour. This album has a more grunge/garage rock feel to it. Jangling guitars and moaning organs that often sound heavy-handed manage to rumble on and create something new and interesting. I like the concept, and contrary to many of the reviews that I have read online, I actually like the end product. Yes, it is sloppy and uneven at times but I take that as part of the process of reinventing the songs so I give it a thumbs up.shins

Unfortunately, I have to throw in thumbs down review, well, actually a palm flat out and then brought slowly up to your forehead area. They Might Be Giants are rated as one of, if not the most, prolific music writers of all time and this is their nineteenth album if my counting is correct. The unfortunate part is that prolific does not always bring quality along with it. The bottom line on this album is this: if you like They Might Be Giants you will like this recording. If you are new to TMBG’s you might or might not find this a good listen. I found it to be less than engaging. I often overlooked the cheesy music and listened to the lyrics but on this recording, called I Like Fun, I couldn’t have fun listening to more of the same old.
A slight bump on the road of music we find ourselves on. On a different wavelength, I have revisited some old albums and I did have fun with that. Abbey Road, by nonother than The Beatles. It has not lost any of its charms or listening quality over the years and it still gets me singing in the car to myself.
Dave Edmunds, often overlooked but a classic from the new wave era. I have a fistful of his albums but I shook the dust off of Repeat When Necessary and found that I still liked it as much now as I did in 1979 when it was released. It was released at the same time as Nick Lowe’s Labour of Lust which is another personal favourite of mine and both records feature the same lineup of musicians: Edmunds, Lowe, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams, collectively known as Rockpile. A couple of stand out tracks are Crawling From The Wreckage and Queen of Hearts. Good Stuff.dave edmunds
Well, that is a wrap for this week, I look forward to what lies in store next week. For concerts, we are going to see Daniel Romano again, this time with Ancient Shapes at The Empress Ale House. For album listening, I have no idea what the future holds. Until next time, keep your needle in the groove and fingers on the fretboard/keyboard.

Tango With Lions – The Light Review

Cover Art by Bob Studio, Photo by Despoina Spyrou

Tango With Lions

The Light

Inner Ear Records

The Light marks Tango With Lions’ first release in five years. The highly anticipated follow-up to A Long Walk, The Light is a nine-song album packed with introspective lyrics, haunting vocals, and intricate instrumentals.

Musically, The Light is a bit of a varied album. Early in the album things sound very indie. Singer-Songwriter Katerina Papachristou’s airy dreamy vocals take centre stage as a distant piano and rattling percussion whirl throughout tracks like “Back to One.” Throughout most of the album, Papachristou’s vocals carry hints of Metric’s Emily Haines. Stylistically, things do shift during the course of The Light‘s 34 minutes as by the time you reach songs such as “Last Thrill” or “What You’ve Become” the backing instrumentals garner a sound with more hints of folk rock than indie pop.

Within “The Go Betweens,” one of the most intimate tracks on the album, are some of the most experimental sounds of The Light as buzzing synths add texture to an otherwise sparse and quiet musical landscape, this isolation allows for focus to direct towards Papachristou’s ethereal vocals.

Photo credit by Eftychia Vlachou

Throughout the entirety of The Light, themes of light and dark, optimism and nihilism are explored in-depth as Papachristou explores her own emotions and experiences. While introspective songs can often feel excessively maudlin, Tango With Lions manages to examine poignant ideas without becoming overly melancholy proving that a balance can be achieved between upbeat songs and philosophical subjects.

From its beginning to its end, The Light is an engaging and catchy listen that nicely display the talents of one of Greece’s biggest English-speaking bands while still showing that they have room to grow and experiment.

7.5/10

-Joel Weatherly

BRMC Wrong Creatures Review

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This will be my first album review of 2018 so I was hoping it would be a band that I could connect with, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fit perfectly since I have been listening to the music of the Been family for many decades. Robert Levon Been, the bass player in BRMC, is the son of Michael Been who formed his band The Call in the 1970’s, Robert Levon started his musical career at the age of 15 when he appeared as bassist on his father’s 1994 solo album, On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough. Michael Been was heavily involved in BRMC as their sound engineer and toured with them.
When I heard that BRMC was releasing an album on January 13th, I went to their back catalog to refresh my ears to their sound with American X Baby 81 sessions and Howl, and then I went back to BRMC’s newest release, Wrong Creatures.
The album opens with minimalist drums, some slap bass and an almost chorus-like effect that fades in and out along with some singular voices, some guitar and that’s it. Nearly 2 minutes of musique concrete. I was not disappointed.
The second song which repeatedly tells us that it is just another song fits the shoes perfectly because it is just another song. Standard fare with opening verse, pre-chorus, chorus and guitar noodling. Sorry but it never rises above being just another song.
The third song in we get King of Bones which I liked the guitar and effects, some effort went into the production here. Layers of sound, good harmonics, good spatial feel. King of Bones is the King of Wrong Creatures for me.
Haunt and Echo, the fourth and fifth songs slide by without notice.
Ninth Configuration, the sixth song of 12 captured some of the energy, pulse and flow that I had come to appreciate in their previous material. The lyrics of this song also seemed to have more of the BRMC signature on it. Good song anyhow.
The next track, Question of Faith, brought BRMC back to familiar ground and this track rocked solidly and with lyrics that were consistent with their previous material without sounding old. It also sneaks the topics of existentialism and theology in without coming across as preachy.
Next song is Calling Them All Away and I think someone carried the energy and momentum of the last few songs away because this felt like putting the brakes on.
Little Thing Gone Wild brings us back to the sound and sensibilities of BRMC that got me listening to them in the first place. This song chugs along with a great groove and intelligent lyrics. Good stuff
Toss out the lyrics to the next song Circus Bazooko and we have a moderately interesting instrumental.
The next song is aptly named Carried From The Start, it carries the lack of substance from the front of this album to nearly the back.
At the back, closing out the album, we have the song All Rise, which starts slowly with soft vocals and a single church piano, it gradually builds and gains momentum as well as instruments. Some nice violin in the mix of this track. A grand exit of an album that I confess I struggled to like, but I listened to it over and over and read the lyrics and let it soak into me and now I think it is a decent album.
Perhaps not the highlight of their career but certainly not the worst either. I still like BRMC and will continue to listen to this album for the little gems that I didn’t hear on previous spins.

 

Daniel Romano and Jazz Police

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This was our first foray into the Aviary, which is owned and operated by Philip and Mark Muz. It is a small club, probably not many over 100 at capacity, which was standing room only for tonight’s shows. The standing part is not an option since there were no chairs to be seen, but there were some interesting works of art on the walls that one had to be careful not to bump or lean on as the club filled. The Aviary is a clean and charming venue.
There was a merch table at the entrance which we planned on hitting on our way out after the show. Once we arrived inside, the club itself is very minimalist. There is a bar which had a steady clientele, a few tall drinks tables and a soundboard way at the back. The stage occupies one corner of the room in a triangular shape with a sequined curtain over the back wall that leads to the green room. There was house music being pumped out as one would expect, with an eclectic mix of styles and languages.
The first act, Aladean Kheroufi, started an hour after the doors opened and were all local lads that we had seen around town, at other venues, and in other bands. Aladean Kheroufi, the lead singer also played the keyboard. He was backed by Trevor McNeely on electric and lap steel guitar who did an admirable job. On drums, we had Connor Ellinger, who kept a steady beat and kept the groove going. Bravo and a tip of the hat to The Aviary for supporting local musicians.
After a short set turnover, Daniel Romano opened with a rush of adrenaline. All night I kept trying to compare Daniel Romano to other artists or groups, just to establish a point of reference. This was a fruitless task so I focused on the music, which was great. We had seen Daniel Romano previously at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium where he opened for Corb Lund. At that show, he was solo and it sounded like he was channeling Bob Dylan, his voice has an uncanny resemblance and he tells stories through his songs. Tonight was a different story altogether.
Tonight Daniel Romano was punked up and Iggy Pop was pushing Bob Dylan aside. Tonight The Jazz Police were on patrol and they left no stone unturned in their quest for adrenaline pumping music. They screamed, they roared and they put on one of the best small club shows I have ever seen. The Jazz Police are a tight band that enhanced and supported Daniel as he tore through his catalog. The bass was amazing, the drums were rock solid and the keys were played on a vintage Yamaha that sounded insanely good.
First impression of The Aviary? I would return, no problem there. Second impression of Daniel Romano? Better and better all the time. First impression of the Jazz Police? I can’t wait to hear them again. We did stop at the merch table on our way out and dropped some coin to support musicians like these and to personally thank them for what they gave us tonight, the gift of great music.

What I Learned This Year.

As another year draws to close I am naturally drawn to introspection and reflection on the year that was and a friend of mine, mostly through Facebook these days, unfortunately, although we had many good years of working together, posted a very good question: “What did I learn this year?” I think that is an excellent question that led me to ask myself, ‘what did I learn this year’? After all, if I did not learn anything it would have been a wasted year.

I learned that playing the ukulele is about the same as playing guitar, a bass or a mandolin, all of which I have, it takes practice and I am not very good at practicing. I am tempted to set a new year’s resolution to practice, but I am afraid I would quickly break it so I am going to pessimistically say that I want to practice more. I think I can actually keep that resolution because picking up any instrument more than once a week would be practicing more than I do now. I want to learn how to play The Peter Gunn theme as played by Duane Eddy because that has been cited by many of my favorite musicians as the first bit of guitar that they learned how to play. Joel is going to also work on that song and if I can keep my resolution of “more” practice I should be able to play it by the end of 2018.

I learned that the wheels of justice move very slowly but they do move. I have been involved in some legal matters that are ready to go before a judge, January 24th in room 262, so I am grateful that this chapter is coming to a close. I learned to keep notes of every meeting with everyone involved, I would have liked a taped session better but notes were good. I learned to photocopy every document and keep a copy for yourself. I learned that good lawyers cost good money but get good results.

I learned that I didn’t know God as well as I thought I did and that most people don’t either, they just think they do. I learned to let go of my preconceived ideas about God, faith, and holy books and to be open to new thoughts and faith and beliefs and do not condemn others who don’t believe the same way I do and to accept the stones that others will throw at me because I do not believe the same way they do. I learned that I still feel close to God, even loved. I learned to be patient with my faith, it is not a destination, it is a journey.

I learned to let go of my anger. That’s a tough one. I was carrying a lot of anger, and still, carry more than I should. I was angry at God, fortunately, God deals with it better than people. I was angry at Christianity and still give vent to that one frequently so I guess I am still angry at Christianity. The court date will hopefully bring some closure to that ember of anger. I was angry on Facebook. Unfortunately, that translates very poorly and came out as anger at the people, my friends, and it was ugly. I am getting better at just letting things go. Yes, there are posts that I don’t like and don’t agree with. I can let it go. Yes, people spam and forward messages that are alternative truths. I am learning that I don’t have to correct every wrong on the internet. I was becoming a grumpy old man. I was blessed to take a course through the Grey Nuns Hospital on mental health and they helped me to see my anger and to deal with it in healthier ways, I really learned a lot from them.

I learned that it is ok for an adult to use coloring books, they are great mental health time-outs.

I learned that there are whole realms of music that I have not listened to and should. I have been on a binge of new-metal, shoegazer-metal, drone-metal. Whatever, listen to Planning For Burial on iTunes or YouTube and you will know what I mean. I like the album Below the House. Low Roar is another good band in that same general direction. I got to see them live this year and learned to really like their music. I listen to jazz more now than ever before, I listen to country and western as much as ever, I am learning to listen to classical. Classical music is great, but it seems to need more attention because so much is going on. I listen to classic rock, the music of my youth and still enjoy lots of it. I learned that music is like cheese, some it ages better than others.

I learned that it was a lot easier to go to concerts when I was 30 years younger. I went to the Edmonton Folk Festival this year for the first time since 1988 and it was tough on me physically. I am not as young in body as my brain would have me think. I enjoy the music. I enjoy the atmosphere. It was a great festival but I was totally fried afterward. I went to more concerts this year than I ever did in the past and there were moments where I wanted to just quit and go home, but I learned that I can persevere and stay till the encore and still make it home. I learned that Rexall Place enforces a no smoking rule but it’s only for cigarettes. People can light up marijuana joints all night and there are no consequences. I learned that I have to wear a full face filter to concerts at Rexall Place.

I learned that Alberta has a very good health care system. I have spent more time in doctors offices and labs in the last two years than I did in the 60 previous years combined. I learned that there are really good doctors and nurses that really care and work really hard at getting us healthy. I learned that there is a lot of really crazy science behind how our bodies and medications work and as much as I don’t like being sick, I did learn a lot from the experience.

I learned to listen more and talk less.

I learned that there are people, places and things from the past that I just have to let go of. I can’t be twenty years old again and owning another guitar will not make me a better person. Owning the same car as I had when I was 20 will not make the present better, probably worse in fact. I can not fix the things that I did wrong in the past, but I can work at making a better future.

I learned that making the world a better place starts with me.

I learned a lot this year, thanks for asking Jackie.

Happy New Year everyone, may 2018 be a learning experience and a blessing.IMG_0266.JPG

Norman’s 2017 Music Review

 

The year 2017 was a very good year for music in Edmonton and in my life. A rough tally says that I went to see about 70 artists live, some were in small venues and others were in larger concerts or festivals. I also listened to about 700 full albums in various formats; LP, CD, streaming, iTunes, cassette, and even reel to reel. I also had the bonus of listening to my son Joel practice in our basement, sometimes solo and sometimes with his band, New Romancer. A very good year of listening indeed, diverse, eclectic, and occasionally loud, good ear protection is mandatory, not optional.

This year I attempted and was relatively good at, keeping a list of everything I listened to. Well, not everything. I didn’t include sampling such as listening to one song from an album, I didn’t include radio, and I didn’t include ambient such as Muzak or music heard in record stores, with the exception of a few that I played start to finish while I was working at Record Collectors Paradise. Anyhow, I ended up with a list of 700, give or take a few, albums. Now, what do I do with all this information? I do some data mining of course.

The most listened to artist was a band called Various Artists, I managed to listen to 37 full albums by Various Artists. Some of these were trips down memory lane such as greatest hits of, let’s say the ’70’s. Some of these were historical compilations such as field recordings of early blues music, one of my favourites was a collection of early recordings at Sun Studios in Memphis. It’s special because I bought it in Sun Studios in Memphis and it is also a very good listen to some early rock and roll/country/blues mashups.

Most listened to by a single artist or group was Pink Floyd, no surprise there if you know me at all, with 17 albums spun and Animals as the single most played album with 5. I also had the privilege of seeing Roger Waters live at Rogers Place this year, and David Gilmore almost live at an exclusive showing of his movie, Live at Pompeii. More on live shows later on.

Exactly 1/10th of my listens were 2017 releases, an interesting coincidence and a good indication of the quality of new music coming out. Of course, I didn’t listen to a fraction of the new music, let alone the old music. This isn’t a best of showcase, I seldom listen to top ten, or a list of music that I think you should listen to. This is just a listing of what I listened to in 2017 and what I enjoyed musically.

Now, getting back to albums that were issued in 2017. The most listened to album and artist/band was a tie between High Plains and their album Cinderland and Saanhet with their album So Numb at 5 listens to each. It is difficult to classify or pigeonhole Saanhet, I think Wikipedia nails it with “experimental metal”. You can look it up here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sannhet. Cinderland by High Plains is similar but closer to ambient.

I found both of these albums by following threads in iTunes, Wikipedia or other sources. I hadn’t heard of them until I stumbled upon them but I am sure glad that I took the time to listen to them.

Sannhet is an edgy instrumental band that creates vast sonic landscapes where they play with sound. Fuzzy guitars float in and out, the drums maintain a backing with solid bass lines and synthesizers add to the mix and fill in the overall sound. Very good in my opinion.

From iTunes: “High Plains is the duo of Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges. Morgan, based in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is predominantly known for his drifting, textured soundscapes released under the pseudonym loscil. Bridges is an accomplished, classically-trained cellist residing in Madison, Wisconsin. The two met in Banff, Alberta while they were simultaneously there on residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014.”

I love the smooth relaxed tones that they create, reminiscent of Brian Eno or some other ambient players, but still fresh and original. Great listening to any time but appreciated most when I can sit still and listen to the details.

Saanhet were not the only experimental metal that I listened to, Giles Corey’s self-titled album from 2015 was my most listened to album of 2017 at 6 spins. This is for sure a goto album for me, rated right up there with DSOTM, Blue Train, and Time Out. Feeling a bit down? I goto one of these albums. Feeling a bit feisty? I goto one of these albums. Want some nice music to listen to while reading? I goto one of these albums. This year Giles Corey became a member of the goto list.

Another on my goto list was a band that Joel introduced me to, Planning For Burial. I got hooked on the album Below The House and was fortunate to find a vinyl copy in Calgary at Sloth Records. Joel also gave me a cassette of alternate takes of the album so I can listen to this great music in various formats. Solid, solid, solid, Below The House.

Most listened to 2017 country, folk or Americana artist or group goes to 3 different artists who tied for most listens, make that 4. Willie Nelson with his great new release: God’s Problem Child, Margo Price with her very Nashville smooth sounds on Midwest Farmers Daughter, Colter Wall with his Self Titled album, and Dan Tyminski with American Gothic.

Willie Nelson did not surprise me by being on this list since I often listen to his other albums and his collaborations such as The Outlaws. This isn’t a nod to sentimentality though, I really liked this new release. It is very “Willie Nelson” so if you like his other albums you will most likely enjoy this one as well.

The Margo Price album, Midwest Farmers Daughter, is actually a 2016 release but I only discovered it this year so I am fudging a bit to squeeze her in between 3 solid 2017 releases.

The third album in this category was one that caught me by surprise, Colter Wall had flown under my radar and risen to almost cult status before I found out about him. He did a show in Edmonton and it was impossible to get tickets, a good indication of his popularity, I don’t know how I missed that. I have listened to his music since and absolutely love it. A Saskatchewan boy with the voice of a gnarled veteran and the songwriting sensibilities of someone twice his age. I would venture to say that he is this year’s, Sturgill Simpson.

A very interesting listen that I absolutely loved and have in heavy rotation is on the edge of Americana, blues, traditional, and new country. That album is Southern Gothic by Dan Tyminski, the driving force behind the song Man Of Constant Sorrow on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and a long time member of Allison Krauss and Union Station. This album, Southern Gothic, grabbed my ears on the first listen and has not let go. High recommended.

Other notable mentions of 2017: Arcade Fire with Everything now, an album that I enjoy more and more each listen. Having seen them perform it live was an added bonus.

New Pornographers with Whiteout Conditions, not as strong a listen as some of their previous material. I saw them live for the Together Tour and again for the Whiteout Tour and I didn’t feel the same energy with Whiteout Conditions on tour or on vinyl that I felt with the Together tour and album. Maybe it will grow on me with enough listens.

A blast from the past had Pink Floyd on top with 17 listens for the band and 5 for the album Animals. King Crimson had 12 listens scatted through their catalog, I saw them in 2015 and I think the euphoria of that amazing concert is still reverberating in my ears. My first listen to King Crimson was in a little record store in Montreal in 1970, I was first drawn to the music which was playing while I browsed the bins, so I went to the counter to find out what was making that sound that I liked so much. And then the cover hit my eyeballs. I haven’t stopped listening to the King Crimson since then. The next blast comes courtesy of The Beatles with 7 album listens and 3 of them were of Sgt. Peppers. I bought the remaster release that came out this year and did a comparison between it on CD, the original on vinyl and the original of the CD. I like the remastered version, not necessarily the best but for right now it is my goto listen of Sgt. Pepper.

Another notable listen was Nick Cave, Spacemen 3, Low Roar ( I rate their live show as one of the best I have ever been to), Jackson Brown Running on Empty and Black Grape. Not year specific but just artists that I listened to more than twice.

Stepping away from pop/rock/etc. for a moment and visit what I listened to in the realm of jazz. Borderlands Trio and their 2017 release Asteroidia. This album came out of nowhere and blew me away. It is avant-garde jazz, whatever that means, I just plain like it as a great music album.

Freddie Hubbard’s album Red Clay also got a few spins, his album Sing Me A Song Of Songme is very high on my want list and if I ever get it it will portably go to number one with a bullet.

BadBadNotGood, no specific album, just lots of good listens. I look forward to seeing them live in 2018.

Kamashi Washington, Harmony of Difference. This is also a 2017 album and is very, very good. If this were a top ten list, which it is not, this would probably be near the top.

Locally Wilfred N and the Grown Men got a fair amount of listening time, nothing new but some solid stuff from the past. Lutra Lutra is another local band that I listened to this year and saw live, good stuff that will only get better.

Notable mentions of retro music: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bob Dylan (saw him live, finally, and was underwhelmed), Miles Davis, Nick Cave (Murder Ballads), Michael Knott, Neil Young (his archive), of Montreal (great live show), and The Clash (who appear on my year-end list almost every year).

That takes care of the listens from the comfort of home, now we can move on to the live shows of 2017. This is tough because there were a lot and I don’t want this list to be a best of so I’ll start with A for Arcade Fire, on tour for their new album Everything Now, at Rogers Place. We had good seats in the lower bowl and Arcade Fire presented a great show. The sound was better than the old Northlands building and the seats were quite comfortable. Fortunately, we didn’t have anyone in the seats immediately around us so we could focus unperturbed on the show. Arcade Fire showcased their new material from Everything Now and premiered the song Good God, Damn on the night we went. They are very energetic, the music was well paced and there were a few nuggets from their past albums as a bonus. A really good show all in all.

In no particular order for other concerts of 2017, Roger Waters doing Us and Them live at Rogers Place. This time we were in the upper bowl. The seats are not as roomy, the stairs are steeper and the assholes who think it’s ok to smoke weed during the show were major negatives. The positive is that Roger Waters puts on a show that is second to none. Great music and a constantly changing set, pyro, and lasers all added up to a very good experience despite the assholes smoking and irritating my lungs.

Rural Alberta Advantage is a band that we try to see every time they come to town. They actually recognize us now. I think we saw them 4 or 5 times this year, you can count them here: https://weatheredmusic.ca/concert-compendium/ They never fail to put on an all-out performance that leaves me wanting to see them again.

David Gilmour, almost live. It was an exclusive screening of his performance at Pompeii which is one of the defining moments in the band that he used to play with, Pink Floyd. This time there was an evening show with lots of lasers, lights and dramatic camera work. It was good, I don’t think he is as strong live as Roger Waters but that is counting apples and oranges and in the end, they are both good, but in different ways.

Patrick Watson with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Bill Eddins. Wow! I don’t know how to put this experience down in words. It was emotional. It was awe inspiring. It was a sonic masterpiece. It was WOW! One of the best music experiences of my life and that is pretty lofty.

We went as a family to the Jubilee Auditorium to see The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their tour to celebrate their 50th year of being a band. Interesting fact: I saw them at the same venue 40 years ago, Steve Martin was their opening act. Yes, the comedian Steve Martin, who also happens to be an accomplished banjo player. Nitty Gritty was good 40 years ago and are still a very polished and entertaining band.

Joel and I spent 4 days at The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, I hadn’t been there since 1988. Too long of a gap between shows. To any new Christians reading this: don’t throw out your records and cassettes and keep going to concerts. All music is good music.
I can’t put my finger on one artist or group that blew me away except for Shaky Graves who actually played at a local club because of a potential storm warning that evacuated the park where the festival was. A few good moments at the festival were Mary Gauthier singing Mercy Now, Rodney Crowell, and 100 Hundred Mile House. As much as I enjoyed going back to the Festival, it took a heavy toll on me physically. I will have to reevaluate whether I am up to it next year.

Seven Music Festival in St. Albert was a one-day event that featured a few local artists of varying degrees of enjoyment for me. The highlights were The Strumbellas closing the show, Rural Alberta Advantage yet again, and two local acts with very interesting names: The Royal Foundry and The Provincial Archives. This was a very good one-day event and I would most likely go again, especially if Strumbellas or RAA are playing.

Low Roar provided me with one of the highlight live performances of the year, perhaps of all time. They absolutely, totally engaged me to the point of hoping they wouldn’t stop playing. Great people too who engaged with us after the show. I have gone back to their recordings as well and still enjoy them very much.

And last but not least: New Romancer live in our basement.

It was a very good year for both live and recorded music. Probably the most that I have listened for many a year. The numbers are good but the enjoyment is the real reason I keep listening and going to shows. It’s all about the music and I look forward to 2018, we already have a few shows on the horizon.AMI Jukebox

November 2017 Musical Musings

This Month in Music: November Twentyseventeen

November 2
Patrick Watson with the Edmonton Symphony at the Winspear Centre.
I honestly don’t know how to put this experience into words that are restricted to human vocabulary or even worse, restricted to written words where you can’t even read my expressions. This was a one-off show that was like no other show that I have ever seen or heard. I had listened to Patrick Watson’s music and I attend the Edmonton Symphony frequently so I was familiar with the sound of both of them but this show was not like either, it was unique. Yes! There is a word to describe it, unique. The emotional outpouring from the lyrics that floated with the music to the very heights of the Winspear and then floated back down dance in our ears. Delightful, another good word for this show. And one note: it all ended too quickly. I was enthralled by the immensity of the sound and transfixed by the nuances. From the swell of the double bass to the tinkling of the triangle, it was a truly amazing experience. Patrick Watson also writes music that speaks to our hearts, to our humanness. He writes songs about his mother that touch gentle places in our souls. William Eddins conducts masterfully as always and the orchestra came to play and play they did. I would be greatly amiss if I didn’t mention Patrick Watson’s backing musicians. They are talented and seamlessly blended in with the orchestra and often accompanied Patrick on quieter passages. Amazing, unique, delightful.

November 29
Sudden Love, Lutra Lutra and Poor Little Tin Man
A triple-header at the Brixx, a new venue for me although I have been upstairs at the same address many times for shows at the Starlight. Tonight featured all local talent and showcased some really good musicians at the album release party for Sudden Loves new album Life and Death.

The opener was Poor Little Tinman, a straight-ahead metal trio that actually probably had less volume than the house music before they started playing. I think it says something when a full-on metal band is quieter.
The Tinman in the Wizard of Oz went on a journey with a couple of other characters to find a brain for himself. These Tinmen are apparently on a journey of discovery as well, not to find their brains, but perhaps for the elusive lost chord or a secret rhythm that seemed to elude them through much of their set. The bass player was the one bright spot as he seemed more than capable of keeping time and playing around on the fretboard with some tasty chops. He was adept at stage banter as well, a rather personable young man. The drummer is another story, he was a bit sloppy at keeping a groove going and fitted the stereotype of more than one drummer joke. The lead guitar player/lead singer was on a journey too, but I am not sure it was the same one the other two members of the Poor Little Tinmen were on. He often seemed to be on another road altogether, although there were a few moments where he soloed and sounded half decent. I think he needs to focus more on being on the same road as the band. They were an energetic opener and I hope they keep searching for whatever it is that will make them a better band because the seed is there, it just needs more nurturing.

Lutra Lutra were the second band of the evening and by this time the crowd had swelled to nearly filling this rather small venue. As I listened to Lutra Lutra I kept trying to pin a label on them. I kept trying to associate their sound with other acts or musicians. And the more I listened to them, the more names I kept adding to that list. They had elements of Savoy Brown with a blues-rock tinge. They had echoes of Uriah Heep in some of the straight-ahead rock numbers that they played. There were shades of Deep Purple with growling guitars. The vocals of Kate Bush dropped in occasionally; and the list kept going on and on. Now don’t read this wrong please, they are not a cover band and they do not emulate or copy other bands. They are just so damn good that they sound like many other really good bands, and that is not a bad thing. They are strong players and work well together supporting each other, melodic, in control of the set and well paced. A bit of a glitch on the soundboard as the keyboard vocals cut in and out and uneven volume on her microphone but still excellent sound mixing overall. A really good show without being showy. I would go see them again. Bonus fact, they engaged with the audience after their set and are really nice people.

The Lutra Lutra set ended and suddenly half the room emptied out, no doubt a good part of them heading for the bathroom or the parking lot for a little something extra, and suddenly Sudden Love was on stage. An 8 string guitar, electric bass and soft drums set a slow melodic start that built into grooves, and, as the crowd trickled back in the ambiance grew into something new and interesting. The leader of the band and the lead vocalist is a technical guitar player that made my fingers hurt just to watch, but a pleasure to hear. I can’t compare them to any other band, they sound like Sudden Love and that is ok with me. And suddenly Sudden Love did a cover of the Jimi Hendrix standard Are You Experienced and I suddenly knew that they were indeed experienced. It takes talent and experience to pull off a cover of a classic song such as this but Sudden Love did it. I had to leave before their set ended but I liked what I heard and I think the whole band was solid. I will spin their CD later today. Done, still solid.

I think this photo captures some of the energy of Sudden Love:IMG_6064

November 30
Yukon Blonde and Rural Alberta Advantage at Union Hall
This was a last minute decision. We weren’t going to bother with this show because we had seen both of these bands many times, four times this year for RAA alone, but we are such huge fans that we just couldn’t miss one more show so we jumped on Stub Hub and I am glad we went.
Yukon Blonde are a really competent quintet that make the most of the various skills that they all bring to the band. Duelling lead guitars, or lead and rhythm or lead and vocals or …
They have a big soundstage and they fill the room with it. At times reminiscent of late 70’s pop rock in the vein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, they both appreciate a good Rickenbacker.
Pulsating, swirling, dynamic synth is another hallmark of Yukon Blond with up to 3 or 4 synths wailing away at times but it sounded really, really good. I was mesmerized at times by the sheer beauty of the music they created. The sound mix was good with a good volume of the mix for the venue and crowd, as well as some nice lighting effects.

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Rural Alberta Advantage, what can I say? We see them every time they come to Edmonton, I lost count but they recognize us now and are one of the nicest, friendliest bands that I have ever met. They are patient and try to greet and meet every last person in the venue and smile for every single photo. Amazing. They sound pretty damn good too. No other band sounds like they do. They are a trio consisting of Paul on percussion, so much energy and love go into his set it is a joy to behold. I love how he uses various non-drumstick articles to pound the skins and cymbals.
Nils on guitar, vocals and synth/keys is amazing. He brings passion to every single song and every single show. Pushing acoustic guitars to places they seldom venture outside of the Rural Alberta Advantage. Intelligent lyrics add to his resume by writing about places and events that we are familiar with such as Death Bridge in Lethbridge, Tornado ’87, and The Frank Slide. Nils is one of the nicest people post-show as well, asking patiently for our names, how can he remember out of the thousands of them he meets every month?

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Robin Hatch is the newest member of the trio, replacing Amy Cole on keyboards, synths, foot trigger bass, tambourine, kettle drum, and vocals. How she can play three instruments and sing at the same time is beyond my comprehension. I have to admit that I was cautiously optimistic about someone stepping into Amy’s socks on stage, not an easy resume to fill, but Robin has pulled it off and after hearing her play with Nils and Paul a few times now I can hear her settling in and being a part of the trio and not the newbie any longer.
As always RAA put on an amazing show full of energy and dialing in the audience full on. At the customary pause for an encore, the audience began a sing-along of the last song and the band came back on to resume the song without missing a beat and took that right into another and then another and then an amazing closer. I was exhilarated after that double show. What an amazing month it has been.

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Seven Music Fest

2012-07-08 13.16.01Saturday, July 8th was a day well spent. We arrived at the drop-off point in St. Albert an hour before the gates were scheduled to open and I was mildly surprised to find very little congestion, in fact, there was none. Walking the short distance to the festival site we encountered almost no other concert goers and upon arrival at the gate, we were only about a dozen back from the front of the line. I had been expecting a longer line considering the depth of talent scheduled for the event, I will tick them off one by one as this blog moves along, but there were only a few diehard queuers ahead of us.

Promptly at the hour, the gate opened the security was immediately overwhelmed because the first few people in the queue had packed for a camping experience as well as a music festival. They had wagons filled with coolers, umbrella’s, chairs and enough food to feed a small refugee camp for a day. It turned out to be largely a non-event as security was rather quick and within a few moments, we were heading for the grass in front of the stage where we quickly set up our brand new festival friendly lawn chairs about 10 meters back of the stage, dead center. The rush for real estate also proved itself to be a non-event since there was only a modest line behind us and many of them chose spots further from the stage where they set up camp for the day. Some even went so far as to bring cabanas, which was probably a good idea if you didn’t mind sitting further back because the sun was blistering hot all day.

With an hour to spare before the first set began we settled in, surveyed the land for amenities such as portaloo’s and food trucks and got as comfortable as is possible in festival chairs in 30-degree direct sunshine.

Up first was the M.C. to introduce the mayor of St. Albert, a few other dignitaries as well as the people responsible for organizing and developing the festival, well-done everyone and thank you for doing what you did to make it happen.

First up for entertainment was Hailey Benedict who gained instant star status when Keith Urban invited her to join him on stage at his Rogers Place concert in September of 2016. She then performed a song that she had written herself and not only wowed Keith Urban and his fans but went viral on YouTube as well. Hailey’s song, My Sweet Alberta Home, was a finalist in the 2013 All-Alberta Song Contest so she came on stage with an already impressive resume despite her young age, and she did not disappoint at Seven Music Fest either. She only did a few songs but I heard a great voice and very nice guitar playing that bode well for her to have a great future in music if she continues to pursue it. I was also impressed with her stage presence.

And then came Paul Woida who calls himself a “one-man band” who replicates the full sound of an entire band all by himself by using loops played and recorded live on the spot. OK, enough about Paul, I am not a big fan of his process. He is good at what he does but it’s not my thing.

Next up was an artist who impressed me when I reviewed her material in prep for the festival, and Sykamore did not disappoint me. Her playing, on what appeared to be a parlor guitar, was quite good and she has a pleasant voice that complimented her lyrics.  What did disappoint me was her accompanist, who attempted to play electric guitar and lap steel as well as singing backing vocals, all of which was a dismal failure. Sykamore solo would have been a treat. Sykamore with this person was a disappointment. Sycamore has a penchant for wearing plaid shirts in place of a skirt, but this isn’t a fashion column so we will move right along.2012-07-08 15.18.17

The Provincial Archives were next to grace the stage and they knocked my socks off, which is a huge compliment because I wear cowboy boots and it ain’t easy to knock my socks off. The Provincial Archives rocked it old school punk and grunge and I don’t know what else, they just plain belted it out and left nothing in the tank. They are advertised as an indie pop trio but I think that does them a disservice, they are so much more than just another indie pop band. They are a trio and they work well together, the drumming was tight and not excessive, the bass backed everything up and still managed to keep it all chugging along and the lead guitar blazed, jumped and boogied. Do you think I liked them? Well, I did. I will be hitting up the local record store for some of their vinyl for sure.

The Royal Foundry, yes we do have a theme going here with names that start with “The” as well as being a bit geographic in nature. I will destroy this concept later. I totally enjoyed The Royal Foundry, that’s what my notes from the show say. And I did, I totally enjoyed their natural stage presence and how they engaged the audience and developed an instant rapport. The music was good as well, they are electric-alt-pop-art- rock or something similar. Whatever the music is called, I call it good. Another want list item for the vinyl vault.

The Royal Foundry won points with me for their rad instruments: a St. Vincent guitar and a glossy black mobile cello:

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The Elwins were up next and after the Royal Foundry had pumped me up it was difficult for the Elwins to sustain my adrenalin. They were good, they had energy, they put out a good sound, but they didn’t make my day. Maybe they changed instruments one too many times and lost me in the shuffle, or maybe it was too high of expectations for me. Whatever it was it didn’t happen with the Elwins or with Frazey Ford.

Frazey Ford, not just another name to make auto correct go crazy. I really wanted to sit back and relish the sound of Frazey Ford and her band. I have been listening to her sing since I discovered The Be Good Tanya’s song Rudy on a Christmas album called A Winter’s Night: The Best of Nettwerk Christmas Album., and I really liked what I heard so I bought The Be Good Tanya’s albums, and I still liked what I heard. So I sat in the sun at Seven Music Fest and really tried to like Frazey Ford and her band, but it didn’t happen. I don’t know why it just didn’t happen. Maybe it was too much sun, I don’t know why but I do know that we didn’t connect. It wasn’t bad. It just didn’t connect with me on that sunny Saturday afternoon in St. Albert and it’s a shame because I know that she has the talent and the band was good with their soulful horn driven sound, but it just didn’t connect.

And then came the Rural Alberta Advantage. Remember a ways back in the blog when I said that I would destroy the whole band name thing? Well, here it is, the Dad joke of the blog: If we put The Royal Foundry in The Provincial Archive would it be an Advantage to Rural Alberta? OK, let out a collective groan and we will move on.

This is Joel, the 4th member of Rural Alberta Advantage.joel and RAA

I have seen The Rural Alberta Advantage several times and we have their entire catalog, I wasn’t even tempted to visit the merch table to see if they had anything out because we have stuff that they don’t have like test pressings. But here’s the thing, I really like their music. I really like their sound. I really like the lyrics, even the one’s that aren’t about Alberta. I really like their energy and I feel like I can feed off of it and they get it back because they don’t leave behind when they do a show, it’s all or nothing and they do it all out. Consistently too, show after show. Venue after venue. The Rural Alberta Advantage did have an advantage at this festival because I am biased and really like them. Heck, when I was in a cover band we even did one of their songs so yes, there was a Rural Alberta Advantage in St. Albert at Seven Music Fest.

Rural Alberta Advantage easily could have been the show closer, but Seven Music Fest saved The Strumbellas for last, desert if you will. I saw the Strumbellas at the Winspear back on October 20th of 2016 with another favorite band of mine: The Zolas and the Strumbellas had the audience in the palm of their hands. They whooped and hollered and rocked and rolled and brought the house down, down to the front of the stage, which in the austere setting of the Winspear is something of a no-no. But they did, and they did it again at Seven Music Fest. The crowd gathered at the foot of the stage and were engaged with and enthralled by The Strumbellas. It was an interesting contrast from the Winspear stage to Seven Music Fest. A different crowd, a different vibe, and a different set. Oh sure, they did most of the same songs but they were different. For one thing, Jon Hembry, the lead guitarist, was playing a Gibson that looked like an ES335 when they played the Winspear and at Seven Music Fest he as playing a Fender Telecaster. Different guitars and a different sound. It was a bit grittier, a bit more driven, a little dirtier sound which was appropriate for an outdoor festival and it fit the mood of the night. And it was a beautiful night, the skies turned a brilliant shade of pink and competed with the stage lights for attention. The stage won because The Strumbellas were playing and it’s hard to not pay attention to them, they are that good.2012-07-08 21.37.27

It was a good day all in all. I heard some new music and reheard some old music in a different light. I burned my nose and I think I tried to burn my candle at both ends because I am in pain today but it was all worth it because the musicians we that good. Thank you to St. Albert and the festival organizers, I can’t wait to see what next year brings for musical treats.2012-07-08 21.08.44

1967 Remembered from 2017

July 1, 2017, will be celebrated across Canada as 150 years since we, Canada, became an independent nation. There are no doubt many, besides myself, who have lived to witness not only our Centennial in 1967 but the sesquicentennial in 2017, and will no doubt look back at 1967 with fondness. I have compiled a loose list of people, places, and events from 1967 that were relevant to me and probably to many others. I hope you enjoy reading this trip down memory lane as much as I have enjoyed preparing it.

This is a composite of album covers from 1967, a very good year for new music and many of these have held up very well despite being 50 years old. For example, Joel blessed me with a copy of Sgt. Peppers remastered on CD for Fathers Day and the music still moves me much as it did 50 years ago when it was first released.

1967 albums

What we listened to:

“I’m a Believer” The Monkees

“Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” The Royal Guardsmen

“Georgy Girl” The Seekers

“Kind of a Drag” The Buckinghams

“Gimme Some Lovin'” Spencer Davis Group

“Baby I Need Your Lovin'” Johnny Rivers

“Penny Lane” The Beatles

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” The Monkees

“Canada” Young Canada Singers Canada

“Somethin’ Stupid” Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra

“I’m a Man” Spencer Davis Group

“Happy Jack” The Who

“Creeque Alley” The Mamas & the Papas

“Somebody to Love” Jefferson Airplane

“Windy” The Association

“Up, Up and Away” The 5th Dimension

“White Rabbit” Jefferson Airplane

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” Procol Harum

“Pleasant Valley Sunday” The Monkees

“All You Need Is Love” The Beatles

“Ode to Billie Joe” Bobbie Gentry

“San Franciscan Nights” Eric Burdon

“The Letter” The Box Tops

“To Sir with Love” Lulu

“Never My Love” The Association

“People Are Strange” The Doors

“Daydream Believer” The Monkees

“Hello, Goodbye” The Beatles

“There Goes My Everything” Jack Greene

“Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” Loretta Lynn

“Walk Through This World With Me” George Jones

“It’s Such A Pretty World Today” Wynn Stewart

“Tonight Carmen” Marty Robbins

“I’ll Never Find Another You” Sonny James

“Branded Man” Merle Haggard

“My Elusive Dreams” David Houston and Tammy Wynette

“I Don’t Wanna Play House” Tammy Wynette

“It’s The Little Things” Sonny James

“For Loving You” Bill Anderson and Jan Howard

The stereo system shown below is very similar to the one my parents owned and thus what I grew up listening to music on. Unfortunately, we do not own the original machine any longer but I did manage to find one that was close to the original.philco stereo 1967

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9th Annual Grammy Awards:

March 2, 1967, in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York

Record of the Year:

Jimmy Bowen (Producer) & Frank Sinatra for “Strangers in the Night”

Album of the Year:

Sonny Burke (producer) & Frank Sinatra for A Man and His Music

Song of the Year:

John Lennon & Paul McCartney (songwriters) for “Michelle” performed by The Beatles

Best Country & Western Vocal Performance – Female:

Jeannie Seely for “Don’t Touch Me”

Best Country and Western Vocal Performance, Male:

David Houston (singer) for “Almost Persuaded”

Best Country & Western Recording:

David Houston (singer) for “Almost Persuaded”

Best Country & Western Song:

Billy Sherrill & Glenn Sutton (songwriters) for “Almost Persuaded” performed by David Houston

Best Instrumental Jazz Performance – Group or Soloist with Group:

Wes Montgomery for “Goin’ Out of My Head”

Best Original Jazz Composition:

Duke Ellington for “In the Beginning God”

Best R&B Solo Vocal Performance, Male or Female:

Ray Charles for “Crying Time”

Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental:

Ramsey Lewis for “Hold It Right There”

Best Rhythm & Blues Recording:

Ray Charles for “Crying Time”

These large console units were also very popular in 1967, less so in 2017 because of the sheer mass of these units. I think many of them are very attractive furniture and they often had decent quality components so the sound wasn’t that bad.stereo 1967

The song that most Canadians associate with Expo was written by Bobby Gimby, a veteran commercial jingle writer who composed the popular Centennial tune “Ca-na-da”. I still have my copy on 45

.ca-na-da

Gimby earned the name the “Pied Piper of Canada” 

One of my favorite ways of listening to music was on a jukebox. Below is one that I own, a 1954 model that would have still been working fine in 1967. Many coffee shops, bars, and restaurants had jukeboxes as well as smaller selection machines at each table.

This one is my restoration project.AMI Jukebox

What we watched on TV:

On April 27 the Expo 67 opening ceremonies were broadcast on CBC, and all around the world. An estimated 700 million people watched in over 70 countries.

Other TV shows that were popular in our household in 1967 are listed below in no particular order:

Mr. Dressup

Rocket Robin Hood

Singalong Jubilee

The Tommy Hunter Show

Gunsmoke

Gilligan’s Island

On August 29 we were all glued to the TV as The Fugitive finale proves to be one of the most-watched episodes of the decade.

Batman

Bewitched

Bonanza

Candid Camera

Get Smart

Green Acres

Hockey Night in Canada

Hogan’s Heroes

I Dream of Jeannie

Lost in Space

Mission: Impossible

Petticoat Junction

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Ed Sullivan Show

Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (a US show so they Americanized the spelling of colour.)

The Carol Burnett Show

Don Messer’s Jubilee

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The televisions of 1967 were often console models, much like the console stereos and they often had both in one cabinet. There were, of course, many different sizes available as this photo from the Consumers Electronics Show of 1967 shows very well. The very first Consumer Electronics Show wowed visitors with dazzling new gadgets. The show, like the industry, was about to grow huge.1967CES_05

What we watched at the movies:

The Graduate

Bonnie and Clyde

The Dirty Dozen

To Sir, with Love

Casino Royale

Cool Hand Luke

Doctor Dolittle

Academy Awards:

Best Picture: In the Heat of the Night – Mirisch, United Artists

Best Director: Mike Nichols – The Graduate

Best Actor: Rod Steiger – In the Heat of the Night

Best Actress: Katharine Hepburn – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Below is a photo of the movie theater in Wainwright were I spent many a Saturday afternoon.wainwright cinema

What we were reading:

Barbara Gordon is introduced as Batgirl in the Detective Comics series in the United States; when not exercising her superhero powers she uses her doctorate in library science as head of Gotham City public library. A comic book that I may have read that year, Joel has it in his collection now:

rawhide kid oct 1967

On November 9th the first issue of the magazine Rolling Stone was published in San Francisco. Although I missed out on that issue I started being an avid reader of themagazine through the late 60’s to the 70’s.

rolling 1967

Influential New Wave science fiction anthology Dangerous Visions is first published and I am still an avid fan of science fiction, speculative fiction, and science fantasy stories. I just finished reading the 35th Anniversary edition:

dangerous visions

Richard Brautigan – Trout Fishing in America

Alistair MacLean – Where Eagles Dare

Time Magazine Person of the Year, sorry; Man of the Year: Lyndon B. Johnson

time 1967

    What we were doing:

   Expo 67

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The building above is the Habitat building from Expos 67 which is still in use in Montreal.

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Although Montreal was in the spotlight for Expo ’67 there were celebrations of the Centennial all across Canada including the town of Viking that had a parade and fireworks. This is one of the parade entries: me on my bike, I’ve always had a fondness for cowboy hats and boots.

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The picture below is of the Alberta Legislature grounds on July 1, 1967.

1967 leg grounds

The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta was Grant MacEwan. MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta and the MacEwan Student Centre at the University of Calgary, as well as the neighborhoods of MacEwan Glen in Calgary and MacEwan in Edmonton, are named after him.

The Premier of Alberta was Ernest Manning.

The Governor General of Canada was Georges Vanier until March 5 when he passed away then Roland Michener took over the position.

Governor_General_Roland_Michener_at_Alma_College_graduation_ceremonies_1972_(crop)

Our Prime Minister was Lester B. Pearson. During Pearson’s time as Prime Minister, his Liberal minority governments introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the Maple Leaf flag.

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On May 2 the Toronto Maple Leafs won the sixth game of the Stanley Cup final over the Montreal Canadiens to win their last Stanley Cup to date.

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By 1967 the snowmobile was becoming very popular thanks to Joseph-Armand Bombardier, I spent many a winter’s days riding our friend’s machine.

1967 skidoo

The 55th Grey Cup was played between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders on December 2, 1967, at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, before 31,358 fans and was won by the Tiger-Cats by a score of 24 to 1.

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In 1967 we had Sears catalog’s and of course the Christmas Wish Book:

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I sure “wish” I still had my guitar and hair!

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1967 also had many other wonderful memories: the 1967 Rambler was to become my Mom’s car and when she sold it to me in 1973 it became my first car. Steve Miller and I drove it to Mexico and back in 1975 and then I sold it. It was a really good car to me and if I ever win the lottery I might just buy another one for old times sake.

1967 Rambler

The introduction of the Cougar in 1967 finally gave Mercury its own “pony car”. Slotted between the Ford Mustang and the Ford Thunderbird, the Cougar was the performance icon and eventually the icon for the Mercury name for several decades.

1967 Cougar

I never owned a Cougar but I did have a 1969 Mercury Montego that was basically the same platform. I hot rodded it and spent way more money on it than I should have, but I justify that because it was quick off the lights!

1969 mercury montego

1967 was a very good year with many good memories, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

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