Kijiji Music

Some of my favourite listens have been records that I have harvested from thrift stores as well as tons of good CD’s. Vinyl is tricky due to the nature of the beast, it is easily damaged, plus the fact that if it is in a thrift store it may not have been taken care of very well. Nevertheless, I have had some good finds, and I would like to share some of those gems with you along with some witty banter about the singers and the songs.

First up we have The Jim Reeves Collection, on Tee Vee Records. A double album best of that came out in 1974, ten years after his death. His music has some good staying power. While not technically a thrift store find, I found this on Kijiji. I purchased four boxes of about 200 records from a seller on Kijiji. The original 200 albums were culled down to about 75 LP’s and 35 or so 45’s. I will note a few from this collection first, as it is still fresh on my mind.

There are twenty-four tracks of memories on these slabs of vinyl, such as “He’ll Have To Go“, a staple of classic country music and kind of a creepy song. Like, who tells a woman to “pretend that we’re together, all alone”? And this question: “Should I hang up, or will you tell him he’ll have to go?” What happens if I don’t tell him? Never mind, I enjoyed the song.

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?“, this is one of the best love songs of all time. Written by Scotty Wiseman for the 1944 musical film, Sing, Neighbor, Sing and performed by Lulu Belle and Scott and recorded by a who’s who list of recording artists ranging from Gene Autry in 1945 to Ringo Starr in 1970. This song charted seven times from 1946 for Red Foley to 1968 for Red Foley again, this time with Kitty Wells. That is an incredible streak for Mr Foley, charting twice with the same song 42 years apart. Jim Reeves does a credible version of the song.

At his last recording session, in July of 1964, Jim Reeves recorded a version of a song called “Make The World Go Away“, which became the opening track to his 1965 album The Jim Reeves Way. He passed away on July 31, 1964, at the relatively young age of 40.

A song should be charting in 2020 is, “Make The World Go Away“, it would be a good theme song for a year that had Donald J. Trump telling everyone that the Covid-19 pandemic would go away. Then there was the reality television of the election in the USA. There were fires burning out of control all over the world. We had too many hurricanes to name them all, and the list goes on and on. Please, “Make The World Go Away“.

Trivia time! Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, a Canadian alternative rock band, released a song entitled “Jimmy Reeves” on their 1992 album “Don’t Mind If I Do”.  Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra are a band that slide under the radar but have a steady following of people such as myself who have been listening to them since the ’80’s and still play their records. I actually found a CD of their excellent album “Battle Hymn of the Apartment from 1987.

Next, we have a pair of gems, informally know as the Beatles Red and Blue albums, formally know as  The Beatles – 1962-1966 & The Beatles – The Beatles / 1967-1970. I don’t buy music as a retirement hedge fund. The market is too volatile, and I don’t have deep enough pockets, however, if I did this would have been a good investment. These two go for about $25 each, so they take a fifty dollar bite out of the original investment of two hundred and fifty bucks, one-fifth of it. They were a good listening experience, as well. I still enjoy listening to the Beatles, even 50 years after I started listening to them. My first purchase of The Beatles was the White Album, on cassette, alas, I no longer have that purchase, but I do have these two nice finds.

The most fun to find? The Smurfs (2) – The Smurfs All Star Show. Not a go-to album for me but an interesting find just the same.

Best Album From This collection: HolstSir Adrian Boult · New Philharmonia OrchestraAmbrosian Singers – The Planets. We have six versions of “The Planets”, but this one riveted me to the chair while I immersed myself in the music. I don’t know what made this one so much better than any of the others? I don’t know. Three of these are even versions of the same recording, but this one set itself high above the others. It might have been the time of day. It could have been a better pressing. I don’t know why it sounded better, but it sure did.

The most painful listen from this batch was The Carpenters ‎– The Singles 1974-1978. I started listening to this, but I had to lift the needle on the second song from this album, Jambalaya (On The Bayou).

What made it so unlistenable for me? Well, I think it is a low quality pressing for starters, and then there is the fact that I don’t appreciate the Carpenters music regardless of which album was playing. It could also be that I know the Hank Williams version by heart and have been listening to it since I was a baby listening to my Dad sing it. There is an emotional connection to the music, and The Carpenters fell short on this one.

To quote another great song “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”? No, he didn’t do it like The Carpenters, he did it this way:

Best Surprise from the Kijiji box? Various – The Monster Hits Collection. This was a nice clean copy of a record that gave me a nice trip down memory lane. It also had the best cover art of the bunch.

Fun on forty-fives:

Dwight* & Buck* – Streets Of Bakersfield, this is a toe-tapping tune with Dwight paying homage to his mentor, Buck and the two of them come together on a contemporary country song that keeps a finger on the pulse of its heritage.

Waylon Jennings – Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love) / Belle Of The Ball is a great single from the excellent album Ol’ Waylon, by Waylon Jennings of course. This song is a standard of the outlaw country movement and a goto record for me.

So, there you have it. A collection of enjoyable listens from a diverse group of music found on Kijiji at a reasonable price in my opinion.

Colter Wall

I like country and western music. I like traditional C&W, most of all. I, therefore, like the music of a young man from Saskatchewan by the name of Colter Wall.

Colter Wall hails from Speedy Creek, Sask. and comes good stock, his father was the premier of Saskatchewan from 2007-2018. Colter started his musical journey listening to AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and learning to play their songs on guitar. A few years later Colter heard Bob Dylan singing “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, and that song sent him spinning off away from classic rock to classic folk music. He listened to the likes of Woody Guthrie, Dylan’s primary influencer, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, who was also heavily influenced by Woody Guthrie as well as Dylan himself thus coming full circle.

Colter was also really into the music of  Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams. Wow, that would be a mind-bending concert lineup. I also might add that I have featured most of these artists on my turntable recently, which should come as no surprise given my fondness for classic country music. Colter Wall has also been on my iTunes turntable, and I can’t get my hands on his vinyl for various reasons.

Colter sings songs of your typical fodder. Lost loves is a given of course, no matter what genre you sing in, and Colter adds the song, “Kate McCannon”, reminiscent of early folk and bluegrass.  He knows how to write a smart catch phrase. A good example is from the song “You Look To Yours” on his eponymous album:

“Two folks in our condition

We’ll never leave this bar room with our pride

So go about your earthly mission

Don’t trust no politicians

You look to yours and I will look to mine”

He gets a little jab in towards his Dad in the middle of a brilliant turn of phrase.

From the same album, Colter throws in a cover song, a tribute to one of his influencers, Townes Van Zandt. The song is “Fraulein” which is a vintage C&W song written by Lawton Williams and initially released in 1957 by Bobby Helms. “Fraulein” is a standard of the genre with cover versions from the likes of Stonewall Jackson, Hank Snow (I’m partial to this one), and Chuck Berry even took a swipe at it and created what I consider a waste of good vinyl.

Fast forward to 2018 and Colter Wall released his sophomore recording “Songs of the Plains”. After being on the road doing shows from the east to the west coast and many stops in between, Colter laments that he is homesick for the wheat fields of southern Saskatchewan.

The second track of this album has a song titled “Saskatchewan 1881”. Be it 1881 or 2018; the sentiment is the same, the “Toronto man” is looking to profit off of the sweat from the brow of the prairie men and women. The song also cautions us not to be “pickin’ fights with no Mennonites”, a sentiment that Corb Lund levelled at another prairie staple, the Hutterites. 

“Well it was truck after truck, we all got stuck

‘Cept the big old four by Hutterite truck

We all thought “Lord, are we in luck!”

But he wouldn’t come anywhere near us

Mighty neighbourly, mighty neighbourly”

The songs of Corb Lund and Colter Wall intersect many times which is no surprise what them being two prairie lads. Corb laments the passing of time on the song “We Used To Ride ’em”.

The wind still blows the dust across the exhibition grounds

The chute still creaks and moans and echoes saddle broncin’ sounds

The horses all wound up the same as the ones that came before

But we don’t ride ’em anymore”

I don’t ride ’em anymore either, and I shed a tear because  “The Trains Are Gone” and with them the castle spires of the prairies, the elevators that announced what town you were driving through in bright, bold letters on their sides.

“The trains are gone, the trains are gone

Spent like the coal they once rolled on

The rails don’t hum, the ‘bos don’t bunk

No brake-men yodelin’ those rail yard songs”

Railway tracks crisscrossed through my family with uncles that worked the rails for their whole lives and others like myself that only achieved a brief taste of that way of life.

The remainder of Colter Wall’s album “Songs of the Prairies” continues the theme of flat land livin’. Fast forward to 2020 and Colter Wall delivers another suburb album, “Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs”. That is one excellent album title and opens the album with an equally excellent song about just that.

This album also graces us with a couple of cover songs, “Big Iron” by the quintessential cowboy singer, Marty Robbins. Colter Wall doesn’t veer too far away from the original and Colter Wall delivers the lyrics smoothly with his baritone voice. He follows this gunfighter song with a tribute to two names that are eponymous with guns, Henry and Sam, a reference to the 16-shot repeating rifle designed by Benjamin Tyler Henry and Samuel Colt.

A tip of the hat to his mentor, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, follows with the mysterious song “Diamond Joe”. Diamond Joe has quite an interesting back story, and you can read about it here:

Next up is “High and Mighty” a song that is about as country and nearly as cowboy as you can get, it is about a horse in the rodeo named High N Mighty, owned by the stock contractors Brown and West. High N Mighty was named Bucking Horse of the Year for Canada in 1974 and 1976. Leo Brown, the Brown in Brown and West lived in Czar, Alberta for a spell and I babysat in his home. I still marvel at his trophy room. He also let me use his snowmobile, which was lots of fun. That would have been in about 1971, in 1981 I was riding bare-back in the Northern Alberta Amateur Cowboys Rodeo Association. I did six rides and got bucked off six times. I knew when to quit, and now I just listen to cowboy records and go to the occasional rodeo as a spectator.

Getting back in the record groove after my rabbit trail we have “Talkin’ Prairie Blues”, not to be confused with “Talkin’ Veterinarian Blues”.

One of my favourite songs to play on guitar is “Ghost Riders In the Sky” written by Stan Jones, who also wrote the song “Cowpokes”, that Colter covers here. He then rounds out the roundup with two original songs, “Rocky Mountain Rangers”, which is a bit of Canadian history and “Houlihans at the Holiday Inn”. Throwing Houlihans has a couple of meanings. It could be a method of throwing a lasso, typically in a corral where space is limited. It could also be cowboy slang for raising a little hell, perhaps in the Holiday Inn while on tour.

So there we have an overview of Colter Walls music up to today. I would encourage you to listen to all three of his albums as well as chasing down all the rabbit trails.  Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Stan Jones, Marty Robbins, Bobby Helms, Stonewall Jackson, Hank Snow, and yes, even Chuck Berry’s version of Fraulein.

All music is good music; there is just some that I like better than others.

I wish happy listening to everyone and play safe.