Cover Story

Leonard Cohen It’s Closing Time

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Submitted by Don Graham

“I’m ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable”. Leonard Cohen said these words not long ago. The iconic singer/songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died last week at the age of 82. Leonard Cohen's record label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page with the following statement.

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will be held at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief."

From some perspectives it could argued that  death has  been a part of  Cohen’s writing since he began creating  poetry but perhaps more present lately as he aged.  It was probably brought more to the forefront when Cohen’s living musical contemporaries, the ones who planted the seeds for modern rock and folk music, started passing on in numbers.  Elvis Presley, who was born a year after Cohen, died young in 1977 and  earlier this year, so too did Presley’s longtime guitarist Scotty Moore. David Bowie, who released his debut the same year Cohen did, also died this year.

In July, Marianne Ihlen, who was Cohen’s lover and muse when they lived in Greece in the  60s died  at the age of 81.  She of course was the Marianne in “So Long, Marianne,”

Before she passed away, Cohen sent her a letter that  was read to her on her deathbed.

Lest We Forget

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Submitted by Don Graham

When we heard the words “lest we forget” years ago it really meant “we’re not going to forget”. How could we? There were reminders of the wars everywhere, veterans, freedoms we gained and kept because of our brave defenders and peace, glorious, hard earned peace. But honestly times have changed. For this generation born in the 90’s there hasn’t really been world peace. From the Gulf War of the 90’s, 9/11 and the continuing terrorist threats, it’s a volatile world we live in. With the passage of time there are fewer veterans still living to remind us of the past and fewer stories being told of the brave men and women who gave their lives for us.

War is a terrible thing. It is an organized conflict that is carried out by different countries against each other as a way of resolving differences.  It is usually characterized by extreme violence, and economic destruction and multiple deaths. The way it is carried out is called warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. War has been waged from the beginning of time and continues to this day, and every year on November the 11th, we here in Canada honour the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the rights and liberties of their homeland and its people. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 o’clock a moment of silence, often two minutes is observed across the country and a well-deserved respect is paid to armed forces past and present, dead, alive and wounded.

Bobby Vee 1943-2016

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Submitted Courtesy of Rob Durkee
Cashbox Magazine USA

There’s one very special plaque on display in my Mediabase 24/7 office. It was awarded to me April 7, 1989 to commemorate my final day as an on-air DJ. It was given to me at a send-off party that evening. It was a gold record with my signoff slogan as the title: “I Know It’s Only Rock And Roll—But I Like It.” The artist on that gold record was my airname, “Rockin’ Robin Scott.” Underneath, in a beautifully engraved box, it said “From Your Friends at WAYY Radio and Bobby Vee.” Bobby couldn’t make it that night but his thoughtfulness and popularity as one of the upper midwest’s most revered singers for many years has never been forgotten by me.

That’s why it’s so very difficult for me to report that Robert Velline, a/k/a Bobby Vee, died Monday (October 24, 2016) at the age of 73. He’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years.

Bobby Vee got his big break as a fill-in singer in the wake of the tragic “Day The Music Died” plane crash of February 3, 1959, that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and the pilot, Roger Peterson. Bobby performed with his two-week old band, the Shadows, at the Moorhead (Minnesota) National Armory, not far from his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota. That big break was the first chapter of a career that landed him over 40 hits, mostly in the 60’s.

Bob Dylan The Rhymes They Are A-Changin’

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Submitted by Don Graham

In 1965, at the height of his appointment as the voice of a generation, Bob Dylan was asked if he thought of himself primarily as a singer or a poet. He replied, “Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know?”

And now 51 years later, he has been given the highest possible accolade in literature, the Nobel Prize.He is the first American to win the prize in more than twenty years . Novelist Toni Morrison last won in 1993.

Dylan was given the award "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," according to the citation by the Swedish Academy, the committee that annually decides the recipient of the Nobel Prize.

According to the Swedish Academy, "He is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition, and he is a wonderful sampler - a very original sampler. For 54 years now he has been at it and reinventing himself, constantly creating a new identity." Which is so true for although he is revered for his “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” epics he is also responsible for the more modern “To Make You Feel My Love” and “Wagon Wheel”.

Dylan has won Grammys, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S. Now to add to his honors Dylan has captured the Nobel Prize.

Forever Country

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Submitted by Don Graham

Country music needs some savin’. The road has been bumpy with resistance to some of the changes in song content and presentation. Some of the discontent is justified as a lot more emphasis seems to be placed on how much revenue a song can generate as opposed to how the song can reach and touch people. But country music is strong and has a rich history and background to draw on. So with the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association Awards coming in November some of the biggest acts in country music have joined together and filmed a remarkable and memorable video – ‘Forever Country’.

Shane McAnally, a CMA winner as well as a board member, produced the video and confessed that the mashing together of several country music’s classics was ‘a very scary process’.“The first conversation I remember having about the CMA project was at a CMA board meeting when everyone was just sort of brainstorming about an interesting, unique way that might bring light to the 50th Anniversary,” he explained.“I didn’t think it would work in our genre. I said, ‘Maybe in pop music you can just take a piece of a song, but we tell stories. And we can’t just cut into them and take a piece.”

But judging by the final result that fear was unfounded. The video is a remarkable piece of work.

Jane Harbury’s Discoveries at Hugh’s Room

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Submitted by Don Graham

Hugh’s Room in Toronto is an iconic listening room supplying established artists and legacy artists. A venue to showcase their talents in an acoustically good room with good sightlines and warm ambience. It’s a venue young aspiring acts dream of appearing at but can’t get booked without some history behind them to draw a crowd.

Enter Jane Harbury a fixture on the Toronto folk scene since her days working at the legendary Riverboat of Yorkville fame. In Jane’s words “I created Discoveries after repeatedly requesting opening act spots for some of the up and coming artists with whom I was working. Holmes Hooke, then booker of talent at Hugh's Room finally said to me, "we're gonna give you your own night to do whatever you want." I was fumbling in the dark as to what I'd do as well as what I'd call it and so Discoveries was born.I do not go looking for artists - there is always a waiting list - February 2017 is booked and now I'll start making decisions soon for next May.”

So it has now been 13 years and growing. Previous artists such as Nicole Rayy, emerging young country singer and Justin Hines as well as Julian Troiano, nephew of legend Dom Troiano have used this concept as a stepping stone.

And now on October 11th a new quartet of future stars will take the Hugh’s Room stage.

Carmine Appice Stick It!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

As drummer for Vanilla Fudge, Carmine Appice set the grooves for the groundbreaking band’s 1967 psychedelic debut, inadvertently inventing Stoner Rock in the process. The Fudge had no precedent. The band was totally unique. No rock group, up until that point, had ever so lugubriously s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out well-known pop tunes like the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and “Ticket To Ride,” Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” Sonny & Cher’s “Bang Bang” Rod Argent’s “She’s Not There” and, most famously, The Supremes’ Motown classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” to such hippie heights. With Mark Stein’s mysterioso wash of Grand Guignol keyboard theatrics, Tim Bogert’s amazing and trippy bass runs, and guitarist Vince Martell’s era-happy soloing, Appice boomed like no other drummer in rock history. Their debut album still stands today as a Hard Rock classic. Vanilla Fudge went on to tour with Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and even had Led Zeppelin as an opening act.

Post-Fudge, Bogert and Appice formed Cactus (seen as an influence on King’s X and Van Halen). Post-Cactus, the rhythm section found Grammy-winning Guitar Hero Jeff Beck to form the first supergroup: Beck, Bogert & Appice (BBA).

Sunrise & Good People Live In Concert

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Canadian Music Week – Club 120 –Friday May 6 (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Canadian Blast at Morrisons MIDEM –Saturday, June 4 (Cannes, France)

The trio features Mastermind on vocals and guitar; Tsayffo on vocals, percussion, guitar and bass, and Mercury Brown on vocals and drums. Tsayffo and Mastermind have grown up playing music together since childhood. Onstage, they move with one mind. Playing to the audience – capacity and size won’t matter – within the first few bars of their first song THE LOVE, the band takes full control of the stage and everyone in the room.  You can hear a pin drop. There is a sense of something authentic happening here. I remind myself there are only three people on stage, though the sound completely surrounds and engulfs the senses. Mastermind is on vocals, a deep sultry bass voice. His guitar work takes me by surprise, not just because I have never heard anyone use a guitar like this before - more because it defies the norm and underlines a musical genius in his ability to link musical hooks together in a completely unexpected fashion. Tsayffo is on percussion – no, he actually is percussion. Every beat resonates in every movement he makes.

Julian Taylor Band: Desert Star

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Cover Photo Credit: Mike Ford
Submitted by Pat Blythe

Give me a minute....a paragraph to gush. Desert Star is, by a country mile, one of my favourite albums of all time. This is music I will be listening to for years to come. Why? Because it speaks to me both musically and lyrically. It's insightful (House Is A Garden), honest (Glass House), romantic (Take Me (Stay), Say Goodnight), playful (Hot Heels, Coke Bottle Candy) loving (One Time), a touch nostalgic (Chemical Low) and of course, has my favourite summer dance song, Just A Little Bit, as part of this marvelous collection of songs. It touches all my senses. Many of the songs are simple, every day observances or comparisons (back to House Is a Garden)....beautiful songwriting that connects. I absolutely love every beat, every note, every nuance....Julian Taylor's voice just soars, penetrates and washes over you. Jeremy Elliott's drumming is superb....solid, tight, kicking ass one minute, subtle the next. You can sometimes feel him almost caressing them. The keyboards and horns fill you up in all the right places. Full on where required and filling tiny pockets that, without them, the song would feel somewhat empty. The guitar "solos" easily segue in and out of each piece without being over the top. Every song is unique but together on the album they intermingle, weaving in and around each other to complete the whole. I'm in love. Gushing done.

Bobby Curtola – Always, In My Heart

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

We have not published for a few months now and the story needs to be told.

For those of you close to Cashbox Canada as well as me personally, you know we have lost our mentor, our friend our Canadian Legend, Bobby Curtola. I am not one to write anything personal but this story needs to be told.

My history with Bobby started in 1990, when I was a dancer/choreographer in the Route 66 Dancers. We were booked to open for Chubby Checker at a fundraiser for the March of Dimes called ‘Back to the Five & Dime’. My youngest boy, Graham, was a few months old and my babysitter cancelled at the last minute and I had to take him to the show. I was standing backstage, in a white skirt, holding Graham a foot away from me, hoping I could stay ‘intact’ long enough to perform my segment of the show. There was a man rolling wires and helping organize the performers so I asked him to hold my son for 15 minutes while I went on stage. He did – and when I came back he handed Graham back to me and said with that big dimpled smile ‘You are welcome. I'm Bobby Curtola and I'm on next.’

This was the beginning of close to a thirty year friendship.

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