July 2011


Gene McDaniels


Gene McDaniels, who was most famous for the 1961 hit "A Hundred Pounds Of Clay" and for writing the 1974 #1 hit "Feel Like Makin' Love" for Roberta Flack,  died today (July 29, 2011). He was 76.

Details are sketchy surrounding the circumstances of McDaniels' passing at presstime. Word of McDaniels' passing came to this writer courtesy of his good radio friend, Dick Bartley, who in turn passed along information posted on the web site of Ann Ruckert, The Music Business Guru. According to Wikipedia, McDaniels had been residing in Maine. It's believed he died in his sleep. On her website, Ruckert said, "His wife, Karen, told me he was working until the very end. They went to bed last night, he was full of ideas and new projects, and this morning, she turned in bed to wake him and he was gone."

The son of the Reverend B.T. McDaniels, Eugene Booker McDaniels was born February 12, 1935, in Kansas City and grew up in Omaha. According to Joel Whitburn's Record Research, he sang in church choirs and attended the Omaha Conservatory Of Music. According to writer Norm N. Nite, he  joined a professional gospel group at the age of 13, played saxophone in his high school band and would eventually form his own vocal quartet. McDaniels had at least one minor single release in 1960 with "In Times Like These" before hitting the jackpot with a song about God building the world.

America’s Dan Peek, From 0 to 60

Dan Peek

By Don Graham

From 1970 to 1977 the folk/pop band America was one of the hottest commodities on the music scene. With hits like ‘Ventura Highway’, ‘Tin Man’, ‘Sister Golden Hair’ and ‘Horse with No Name’ the music of America was heard everywhere. The trio consisted of  Dewey Bunnel, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek.

Peek contributed lead and  background vocals as well as playing guitars, bass, keyboards and harmonica on the band’s recording and penned  four Top 100 singles: ‘Don’t Cross The River’(#35), his most successful single ‘Lonely People’ hit (#5), ‘Woman Tonight’ (#44), and ‘Today’s The Day’ (#23). ‘Lonely People’ and ‘Today's the Day’ also hit number 1 on the A/C charts.

Peek left the band and renewed his Christian faith and became a pioneer in the booming Contemporary Christian market. He went on to sign with Pat Boone’s Lamb and Lion Records.

Peek's first album and single (in 1979) ‘All Things Are Possible’ became big hits on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio stations and charts. The single ‘All Things Are Possible’ not only hit number 1 on the CCM singles chart, it also crossed over to the single and adult contemporary charts, becoming one of the earliest  CCM's crossover hits. The album was nominated for a Grammy but lost out to The Imperials ‘Heed the Call’.
On July 24th, 2011 Dan Peek got the call and went to meet the Lord, to whom he had given his heart.

Rest in peace Dan!

The Abrams Brothers-From Bluegrass to ‘Newgrass’

Cover, Julu 29, 2011

Story: Lenny Stoute
If John Abrams is a typical 20-year-old Canadian youth then our country is in for a bright future. Right on the rim shot of 9 a.m. the front man for bluegrass rockers The Abrams Brothers is on the line from home base Kingston, Ontario with the story of the Coldplay connection.

Just before new album Northern Redemption closes out there’s the unlikely explosion of Coldplay’s anthemic ‘Viva La Vida’. Since the originals are pretty cohesive on the theme of music’s redemptive power, quite how that one fits in is a puzzlement.
“ Ok, that one was just for us,” laughs John. “We’re huge Coldplay fans and we thought it would be really cool to do a bluegrass country rock version. We started playing it live and people liked it so then we thought to make a video, really just for fun.
It took some doing but we ended up getting the song to Coldplay. They sent word back that they really liked our version and gave us permission to go ahead and do the video for free.



Dean Brody * George Canyon * Terri Clark * Doc Walker * Johnny Reid

My Daughter's Father - Gord Bamford
That's How I Wanna Go Out - Deric Ruttan
Today I'm Gonna Try And Change The World - Johnny Reid
Trail In Life - Dean Brody
Watching You Walk Away - Shane Yellowbird

A Place Called Love - Johnny Reid
Better Be Home Soon - George Canyon
Love Rules - Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Sunday Afternoon - Aaron Lines
Trail In Life - Dean Brody

Put Some Alcohol On It (written by Gord Bamford/Roger Brown/Byron Hill; recorded by Gord Bamford)
That's How I Wanna Go Out (written by Lee Thomas Milier/Deric Ruttan; recorded by Deric Ruttan)
Today I'm Gonna Try And Change The World (written by Brent Maher/Johnny Reid; recorded by Johnny Reid)
Trail In Life (written by Dean Brody; recorded by Dean Brody)
Watching You Walk Away (written by Troy Kokol/Willie Mack/Kenny Sitter; recorded by Shane Yeliowbird)

Better Be Home Soon - George Canyon
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Doc Walker
My Daughter's Father - Gord Bamford
That's How / Wanna Go Out - Deric Ruttan
Today I'm Gonna Try And Change The World - Johnny Reid

Saidah Baba Talibah: (S)Cream


Last Gang/Universal

Just in time for Toronto’s Caribana comes this kickass, stomping, soul shaking funk/rock throwdown. It’s in the genes of Saidah Baba Talibah, daughter of jazz and blues legend Salome Bey, that her take on R&B is steeped in the roots of the genre which allows for a lot more hard rocking and psych jamming than current forms.

Given her rep for powerhouse live performances, the challenge had to be to get all that energy and intensity on the record. The way forward was to go with variety, the many flavors–including rock, funk and soul, as an introduction to just how many different ways she can light up a song.
Largely alternating between fiery funk rock and sultry downbeat numbers, the range, command and interpretive skills of the lady are impressive. While ‘Place Called Grace’ bangs like nobody’s business ably abetted by Donna Grantis’ wicked guitar work, a more mainstreamed version of Talibah treats us to the standout ballad “High,” in which she breaks down her bad habit for a certain sugar man.  In the same pocket is the sultry “No More,” and this time she’s so done with being done wrong it won’t be happening anymore.

Overall, a catchy mix of the now and the then in soul music. Occasionally raw, ebullient, sassy and seductive, (S)Cream is everything Talibah’s many fans have been hoping it would be.

Saidah Baba Talibah brings the album out to play at Harbourfront for a free show Fri.Jul.29

James Lizzard