Proudly Canadian: Freedom North

Freedom North.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada Source: The Canadian Pop Encylopedia

In 1969, Donald K. Donald introduced Franki Hart (The Sirocco Singers, Riverson) to Bill Hill (J.B. and the Playboys) and suggested they join forces with members of Montreal band The Munks (Rick St. Jean, Rene Boileau, Del Desrosiers and Eddie Kaye) to form a new group called Freedom.

In 1970, Freedom went into the studio to record an album for Aquarius Records. The line up was Bill Hill (lead guitar), Franki Hart (vocals/piano), Rick St. Jean (vocals/guitar), Les Leroux (bass) and Eddie Kaye (drums). Ron Dann added pedal steel guitar, and Rayburn Blake (Mashmakhan) guested on the song "Doctor Tom" on acoustic guitar. The album was released on Aquarius under the name Freedom North and was produced by Bill Hill. 

From Montreal, Quebec, Freedom's "Doctor Tom" was released on Aquarius in May 1970 and peaked at #17 on the RPM Top Singles chart in August of that year. The song was released in the US on the Wand label under the name Freedom of Choice.

Freedom North toured extensively in Eastern Canada, often with other Montreal bands such as Mashmakhan and April Wine and, as well, performed in concert in Montreal, Toronto and New England. This line-up would include Graham Lear on drums.

After the band split up Eddie Kaye, Les Leroux and Bill Hill all ended up as part of Don Graham's band Graham County in 1971; Franki Hart would perform solo in Quebec throughout the 1970s under the name Frankie Hart and was the backing vocalist on The Wackers' 1973 LP 'Shredder'. She also made a guest appearance as part of the Wackers' 40th anniversary reunion in Toronto in 2011.

Frankie Hart (vocals)
Bill Hill (lead guitar)

Eddie Kaye (drums)

Rick St. Jean (rhythm guitar)
Rene Boileau (keyboards)

Del Desrosiers (bass)
Les Leroux (bass; replaced Desrosier)

Graham Lear (drums; replaced Kaye)

Franki Hart still continues to sing and perform and currently lives in Toronto, Bill Hill is still currently a producer in Montreal, Eddie Kaye still lives in Morin Heights, Les Leroux passed away,  Graham Lear went on to a renowned career with the likes of Santana, REO Speedwagon, Gino Vanelli to name a few.

Dr. Tom Freedom North