Cover Story

Simple Songs of Freedom - Lest We Forget

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

“Let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere that we the people don’t want a war…” (Simple Song of Freedom written by Bobby Darin)

War 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 minute of silence is observed across the country and a well-deserved respect is paid to armed forces past and present, dead, alive and wounded.

Today we will attempt to put into words the effect war has had on music and music on war. Music is a powerful medium and the power of the songs on the psyche of the world cannot be denied.

Lou Reed 1942-2013

Lou Reed Cover

Submitted by Cashbox Magazine

Lou Reed, rock pioneer singer/songwriter and guitarist, has passed away in Long Island, New York at age 71. The cause of death had not been released at press time but Reed did undergo a liver transplant in May of this year.

In the late sixties Reed was part of the band The Velvet Underground formed by  Reed and John Cale. who would also go on to find success as a solo artist.
Although experiencing very minimal commercial success while together, the band is often recognized by critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s. In a 1982 interview Brian Eno made the  statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

The band caught the attention of Andy Warhol who managed them and made them the house band at his studio, the Factory.. The provocative and unfiltered lyrics of some of the band's songs gave their music an irreverent feel and suited the Warholian crowd to a tee.

Their 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (which featured German singer Nico, with whom the band collaborated), was named the 13th Greatest Album of All Time and the "most prophetic rock album ever made" by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003.In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, by Patti Smith.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees 2014

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Submitted by Don Graham

It’s that time of year again. Battle lines are drawn, sides are picked, and controversy is set in motion. And opinions and loyalties smack together like crashing cymbals! Nope, not the Super Bowl. It’s time to announce the nominees for the 2014 Induction into the hallowed Hall, the Hall of Fame, Rock ‘n’ Roll style.

Every year when the nominees are announced there is a hue and a cry from fans of those not nominated and fist pumping joy from those fans of nominees who are in the running.

The Hall of Fame had a strange beginning being formed in 1983 while the building itself wasn’t completed until 1995. One of the Foundation’s many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. The Foundation’s nominating committee selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 600 artists, historians and members of the music industry. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes - and more than 50 percent of the vote - are inducted. The Foundation generally inducts five to seven performers each year.

Frank D’Angelo Being Frank

Frank D’Angelo  Being Frank

Submitted by Don Graham

Frank D’Angelo: singer, songwriter,TV host, actor, producer, director, restauranteur, chef, businessman, and I’m sure I’m missing a couple of activities, is an energetic, resourceful and talented  man. Sitting across from him at a table in his restaurant, Mamma D’s, I am struck by the focus in his eyes and his attention to detail. The consummate host, even for a meeting where he is the one being interviewed, he made sure the mood was right for an in depth conversation about his life so far and his current projects. The food was incredible and the background music was Frank’s recordings, played at a low level, until something came on that we needed to hear ,then it was cranked. And man did this stuff sound good. Frank D’Angelo is a talented singer, with a Motown influence and a touch of the great Bill Withers finding its way into Frank’s music. Frank D’Angelo is also an excellent songwriter.

When asked how and when he got interested in music Frank said, “I was always into music, loved it. I guess at about 16 years old I had to make a choice between hockey and music so I got a band together and starting touring and recording. We were a good band, played to packed houses but I got tired of the road and decided to shelve it for a while and get into business.”

The Musical Box-Selling England by The Pound in Toronto

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

‘Selling England By the Pound’ was the fifth studio album from prog rock pioneers Genesis. It was released on 12 October 1973 to an England in the grip of a recession with widespread unemployment and street gangs nightly brawling in violent turf wars. (‘The Battle Of Epping Forest’).

Forty years later, as England struggles with a sagging economy and ongoing social unrest, this Genesis classic remains as relevant as ever.

Now hailed as a masterpiece of prog rock, it followed the Foxtrot album and reached a new commercial high for the band, peaking at #3 in the UK, where it remained on the charts for 21 weeks. It also marked a major breakthrough in critical acceptance on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2012, the album ranked seventh in Rolling Stone's "Readers' Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time". It was also included in IGN’s list of "10 Classic Prog Rock Albums" in 2008. "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" was Genesis' first single to receive any sort of chart action, hitting No.21 in the UK in April 1974.

The Many Minds of Gowan

Cashbox Canada GOWAN

Main Photo Credit: Ash Newell Photography
Secondary Photo Credit: Richard Beland
Submitted by Sandy Graham

Lawrence, Larry, Gowan, Styx vocalist/band member – all the same person, all talented in so many ways. The first thing you notice when talking to Gowan is he has an incredible wit about him. Fast on his feet in not just his stage moves but the way his brain thinks. The other thing is how he knows the difference between Larry; the family man, singer/songwriter, the Glaswegian/Scarborough east end guy as opposed to GOWAN the product -  the artist who came about in the 80’s with ‘Strange Animal’ and ‘A Criminal Mind’. A man who is comfortable in his own ever-evolving skin or as his song says finally ‘Dancing On My Own Ground’.

Born in Scotland, Lawrence Gowan was one of the diaspora who came to Canada with his family in the ‘50’s. With his typical Celt humour he quips “Without my consent, as a child I was brought to the tropic of Canada and settled among the unparalleled beauty of Scarborough. My marks in high-school were of a caliber that left me no option but to pursue the occupation of rock star.”

Julian Taylor Taking it from ‘Zero to Eleven’

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Julian Taylor is one of those great talents that has a name but has not quite reached his ultimate goal in the music world yet – but his new product is sure to take him there this time.

Born and raised in Toronto, Taylor experienced diversified musical influences, with his Dad being a classical pianist, his Uncle is Brainerd Blyden-Taylor of the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Uncle Paul plays trumpet, and the rest of his family all sang in the Church choir, all the while bringing the young Julian up with the music of Motown, Stax and all the other great R & B music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, that included Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding.  His Dad bent his ear with the crooners (like Nat King Cole) and classics, so the young Julian had a music education that spanned many genres.

“I started playing music at the age of four, taking piano lessons but it was actually overnight camp that turned my head with learning guitar. I was about 10 or 11 by then, and I got my hands on a guitar and a friend taught me a few chords. That was the beginning of my love affair with acoustic guitar and songwriting.”

Brian Chater The Best Friend a Song Ever Had

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

The Canadian music industry has lost one of the pillars of the business, a true champion of the artists and songwriters of his adopted country, Canada. Brian Chater will be missed and never replaced.

Brian Chater arrived from his native England in the late sixties just when the Canadian music scene was getting ready to explode into the global market. With the introduction of CanCon in 1970 the stage was set from the Canadian industry rose to bloom. And bloom it did!

Brian worked in Montreal at what was known as  Montreal’s ‘Brill Building’, referring to the building at 49th & Broadway in New York City that was the home of record companies and publishers. The Montreal building was located 1396 Ste Catherine Street West and housed Bob Hahn’s offices and Brian’s newly formed (with Alan Waters of CHUM) Much Productions. Bob Hahn was a legendary musician, producer, jingle writer ( Hygrade, Dominion Stores, DuMaurier etc.) and had his Champlain Productions offices in the building. Art Morrow another extraordinary musician, arranger and copy writer shared that office as well. And then there was Brian Chater and his gang. Bill Hill, Montreal’s go to producer at the time was on staff as was Carol Reisch, a musical maven working her magic.

Daniel Casavant Soul Reunion

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

When speaking to Daniel Casavant his charming accent and warmth immediately makes you feel his passion for his music. Born in Montreal, Quebec, this singer/songwriter has it all; a great look, musical talent and a flair for writing wonderful songs.

“I used to listen to the radio when I was a small child’, Casavant says. ‘All the British singers were a huge influence on me; The Bee Gees, The Beatles, anything and anyone that combined great lyrics with great harmonies. I wanted desperately to perform like they did, which was a very big dream for a French-speaking boy.’

But his persistence to embrace music started at the age of eight when he took up the acoustic guitar and starting composing his own tunes. By 15, Daniel then took on the piano and continued putting his lyrics to music. When in his teen years, he decided it was time to travel to experience firsthand the original roots of where this music all started, so he set off and hitchhiked to New Orleans and Nashville, and as a wandering troubadour does, he stopped along the way to play with local talents, playing jam sessions and honing his craft.

By the year 2000, he had spent enough time in the United States to gather his Americana experiences and meld them with his love of British music; weaving it into a musical mosaic of his own French Canadian heritage, which led him to his current sound which quite honestly can’t be compared to anyone.

Kevin Head ‘Live’

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

In this current age of auto tune and ‘we’ll fix it in the mix’ it is refreshing to hear a live album, recorded ‘off the floor’ with an audience enjoying a true singer/songwriter and talented musician offering all original tunes.

The opening track (Was That) ‘Your Heart or Mine’ has an infectious hook, all tied up in an offering of clichés (falling through the cracks, hidden up a sleeve, if it fits then wear it, howling at the moon, reading between the lines) a little reminiscent of Dr. Hook, with great piano offerings by Cam Schaefer.

‘What Can I Say’ shows off the vocal talents of Head, and is blues at its best, while ‘Cheap Talk & Jive’ has a cynical undertone, moving it along with strong percussion with such a quiet audience you forget it is a live recording.

One of the strongest songs on the CD, ‘The Arrow’ has Kevin Head going back to his early roots of folk days, playing the Montreal circuit. Loosely based on a personal experience, the storyline keeps you hooked to the whole song from start to finish. ‘Thanks Hank’ takes its place on this CD as the first song ever written by this Canadian songwriter; honouring Hank Williams and the influence he had on a young boy, wanting his own ‘big day’ in the music world.

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