Full Tilt Boogie Band was a Canadian rock band originally headed by guitarist John Till and then by Janis Joplin until her death in 1970. The band was composed of Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson.
In its original late 1960s incarnation, the Full Tillt Boogie Band (the two "Ls" being a play on the spelling of Till's last name), Till fronted the group as a side project from his usual gigs as a New York City studio musician. Like Till, the other members of Full Tillt were Canadians, mostly hailing from Stratford and Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.
When Joplin's management convinced her to discard Big Brother and the Holding Company as her backing band, her record label put together a new group of musicians for her. This group, dubbed the Kozmic Blues Band, consisted of Till and several other Full Tillt Boogie Band members — all studio musicians whom her label was familiar with and felt were reliable — plus a horn section. Joplin was not happy touring with some of the group members, however, feeling them to be too "square", and the disappointing reviews of their 1969 album I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! led her to scrap everyone in the group except Till.
In 2015, The High Dials are so on the radar of folks who think they define the nu-pop sensibility. In which case, dudes can claim O.G. stake, as ‘In The AM Wilds’, dropping Feb.3, is the duo’s fifth full-length cookie. This thing they’ve been doing is an amalgam of psychedelic, electronic, and folk rock influences, meshing with the compositions of singer-songwriter Trevor Anderson.
Centered around the band’s founders, Anderson and guitarist Robbie MacArthur, and operating with a rotating line-up, The High Dials have spent the last while working on soundtracks for two Montreal indie films, which led to a lot of experimentation. Any long-term band can slip into a comfort zone of lazy habits. That’s where producer Marc Bell (We Are Wolves, The Fugees) came into things. “Meeting Marc was huge because he really helped us stay fearless in moving forward. He knew nothing about our history. We were able to incorporate more of the influences that had always been there lurking but never really come through.”
Clarinetist Artie Shaw was 94 when he passed away in 2004, and still remains an unforgettable dynamic and stimulating personality. Throughout the 30’s and ‘40s Shaw was one of the most popular big band leaders of the day along with leading a smaller unit The Gramercy Five. He had massive hits with Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” and Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.” He also had a great eye for talent. Billie Holiday, Helen Forrest, Mel Torme, Buddy Rich, Barney Kessel, Ray Coniff and Tal Farlow all passed through his bands. During the early 90’s, Musicmasters released The Last Recordings: Artie Shaw - Rare And Unreleased, the last sessions Shaw recorded with his small group from February to June 1954, just before retiring from the music business. Following his early departure from the music scene, he spent his time writing, publishing an autobiography and two books of short stories. In 1983 he re-emerged with a new orchestra which he led for a period of time before retiring for a second time. That orchestra remains on the road today under the leadership of clarinetist Dick Johnson.
I had a wonderful conversation with Shaw back in 1992 – here’s our chat!
Alabama-based blueser Debbie Bond’s latest offering is a balanced, mostly self-written effort featuring her partner, Rick Asherson, on keyboards and harp. Bond has been around a while now. Formerly running the Alabama Blues Project, she also played with the late great Johnnie Shines for many years until his death, before joining another goner, Willie King, as one of his backing band, The Liberators. Here she came to prominence and toured extensively in both the USA and Europe gradually building a following for her fine, oft-understated guitar work and vocals.
This album, produced by Bond and Asherson and recorded in Nashville, is a triumph and well worth a careful earful. It’s definitely a slow-burner and a few spins will bring out the beauty of the material and the production.
Kicking off with ‘You’re The Kind Of Trouble’, a particularly notable version of this Adam Wright classic, it roars through ‘Steady Rolling Man’, Feed My Soul’ and an old Willie King favourite, ‘I Like It Like That’. All played with soulful feeling and verve. Two versions of ‘Tarragona Blues’ – one an extended mix – highlight her love of the Catalonian Tarragona Bluesfest where she featured in the Autumn of 2013.
Toronto’s annual Winterfolk Blues and Roots Music Festival is a combination of paid and free concert stages on the Danforth, February 13 – 15, 2015. It’s an all-ages, mid-winter, weatherproof event, where you’ll find the best of urban, blues, rock, jazz, country, folk and roots music, emulating a multi-stage rural summer festival. More than 150 artists will be performing at four venues and five stages over three days of the long Family Day weekend. The festival will also include special tribute events, an awards ceremony, community stages and various themed musical workshops with something for everyone to enjoy. Winterfolk is the ideal event for music-lovers seeking new and exciting things to do in the Toronto. It takes place at • Black Swan Tavern on two stages, 154 Danforth Ave., at Dora Keogh Irish Pub, 141 Danforth Ave , Terri O’ 185 Danforth Ave and Globe Bistro, upstairs lounge 124 Danforth Avenue.
For singer/songwriter/entertainer Julian Taylor the annual WinterFolk coming to Toronto is like coming home. “Years ago I worked behind the bar at Dora Keogh’s Bar on the Danforth. I would be serving drinks to patrons and the entertainers that came through for the Annual Winterfolk event and taking it all in. Now I’m on the other side of the bar performing at the event. It’s a special feeling.” This year Taylor will be a featured performer on this prestigious event.