An American Rock & Road Story (PT.1)

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The first in a series Submitted Bill King
 Author of Bill King’s “In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews

Spring and summer 1967 saw young Americans free themselves and travel by any means in caravans across America in search of liberation; political, social and sexual. It saw the birth of ‘Love’ins,’ the power and influence of emerging musical super groups and a belief change was now in the hands of college-age activists. My account of that year starts with trips north to Hollywood by any means. At first with the Sabori brothers of Westminster, CA, hitchhiking and walking. Throughout the series music is the backdrop to a summer of innocence, occurrences, mishaps and a final face to face collision with reality; an ending and a new beginning on the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village.

Dick Damron The Cowboy Stares Down 80

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian country music legend Dick Damron is hitting 4 x 20 as the French would say, quatre vingts! Eighty years young and still picking and singing his tunes, in sunny  Mazatlán,Mexico at this time of year, and still razor sharp. He’s also working on his memoires, The Last Days of a Crazy Old Man in Mexico.

Little Dickie Damron from Bentley , Alberta, has been making Canada proud for seven decades and fondly remembers the early scuffling days in the 70’s.  “I was touring Europe; Scotland, Germany and England back in the day where musicians from my area thought a far east tour was going to Saskatchewan! We played a lot in Vegas is those days as well. Here I was a kid from Bentley playing in Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in Bentley….no really, what happens in Bentley??”

Dicks has been wintering in balmy Mexico for a lot of years and enjoys the snowless winters and easy going pace that years on the road have earned him. Although when you see how often he performs in Mazatlán he’s still moving right along. So 80  is looking pretty good right now.  It’s been a great ride, so far, for Damron and he’s far from being done. He just finished shooting a new video for his new single, “The Last Days of a Crazy Old Man in Mexico”. It will warm your heart and ears during these long cold Canadian days and nights.

Rick James Court Sense

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Submitted by Bill King

Author of Bill King’s “In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews

Every once in awhile I reflect back to the basketball games at the University of Toronto Settlement House and a tense locker room where expatriate  Americans mixed with diehard Canadians and games that never seemed much more than a run and shoot affair. I can’t say I found them much fun yet they provided a good physical workout and a chance to socialize in a superficial zone.

Locally, basketball was still considered a distant cousin to badminton and lacrosse, nowhere as glamorous or necessary as hockey or even rugby.

What did make those games spark was the arrival of Rick James.

Few players knew him as a musician and none would suspect the years ahead would spin him into a planetary funk machine and a “player,” a major celebrity who escaped the humourless runs.

I met Ricky early 1971. He was dating a stunning young secretary, the very sight of would make one think of those European beauties that graced Fellini art films. She adored him but at times, I could tell all was not well in the relationship. It would be decades later she would admit he intimidated and severely beat her.

James was old-style American music pimp. He had the charisma thing down pat; the quick seductive lines and overwhelming personality. He could disarm the indecisive and win over the reluctant.

Amy Rose Goes ‘Country Crazy’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

MTS Management Group and Award-winning country artist Amy Rose are happy to announce the World Premiere of Amy's new single, "Country Crazy." The track will make its worldwide debut at 7pm Eastern Time on March 27, 2014, during Amy's live interview on In The Country with Dave Woods. Listeners can tune in live via the internet at US and Canadian radio premiere dates are being scheduled, with the official worldwide release date being April 7, 2014.  "Country Crazy" is Amy Rose's fourth single release.

Steve Rivers is On The Rise

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Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian country singer/songwriter Steve Rivers has been diligently working at his craft and career without a lot of fanfare and noise for the past few years. But all that is about to change as Steve is about to reap the benefits of all his hard work.

Steve Rivers is part of the new breed of young country artists emerging on the scene today. It’s country music, but with an edge. That doesn’t mean it’s pop or mainstream, it’s more like a cross between Creedence Clearwater, Bruce Springsteen, The Allman Brothers and Hank Sr.

Robert Klein Bombay Black (Up In Smoke!)

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Submitted by Bill King
Author of ‘In Concert’ Essays, Images and Interviews

When I escaped Indiana, the only stimulants I’d ever consumed were six-packs of ice cold Dr. Pepper. I witnessed mom down a daily receptacle of coffee, and by late afternoon, observe her teeth clatter like a wind-up toy. To this day, I still haven’t drank a cup or even a spoonful of ‘Java,’ as it was addressed in our house; for fear of attracting the shakes and chipped teeth.

While hustling a living in my early Greenwich Village twenties, someone gave me a joint of pot, which I smuggled into my two-room flat and considered lighting for days. When that day arrived, I discovered I didin’t possess a match or have a need for one; so I went knocking on doors. Later that evening I puffed away guilt; waited for the on-rush of “said” high, and don’t recall doing much more than snoozing.

Then came the army and Sargeant Benadryl, an unstable returning Vietnam veteran. Sargeant Benadryl would buy up as many cases of cough medicine as affordable and have a “Get High” day – the thought of which made me gag-cough. One afternoon he slips me a matchbox containing marijuana. I smuggle it back to my humble digs and share with my New York girl. I think we may have caught what was termed, “a buzz”  or likely, a dry chest cough. It wasn’t until I was on military leave and a stop-over in Manhattan I discovered what an authentic ‘BUZZ’ was meant to be.

Angela Galuppo S’Wonderful

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

Angela Galuppo is a Canadian film, television, voice actress, and singer/songwriter. She is best known as the front lady of the Montreal-based band St. Ange, and for her recurring role as Bridget in the television series Being Human as well as providing the voice of Claudia Auditore da Firenze in the Assassin's Creed video games.

Galuppo's other voice acting credits include Winx Club as Bloom and The Mysteries of Alfred Hedgehog as Milo Skunk. She has also appeared in a number of films including Living With the Enemy (2005), I'm Not There (2007), Picture This (2008), The Trotsky (2009),The Smurfs 2 (2013) and the television series The Dead Zone, Naked Josh, The Foundation, The Business and Against the Wall.

Although she has some strong creds in the film and television side of her career, her recent release on the Justin Time label shows she is now emerging as a great vocalist and solo artist.

Robin Thicke vs Jimi Hendrix Canadian Eh?

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Submitted by Michael Williams

I met Robin Thicke back in the days when I was at MuchMusic and a regular at the David Foster Celebrity Charity Baseball game in Victoria which is now the concert series. Being the host of “Soul in the City” and “Rap City”.  Alan Thicke came up to me and said, “My son is interested in hip hop music and would you talk to him about it please before I invest in turntables etc…”

I said absolutely, inspiration and teaching is my thing, besides you are Alan Thicke and anything I can do to help, you got it! I immediately sat down with Robin Thicke on the baseball field and we began to talk soul music and the roots of hip hop and his interest in it. Robin was genuinely a fan of hip hop and soul music, living Los Angeles how could you not be ? West Coast Hip Hop was exploding, Ice-T  led the way next  came N.W.A., Dre, Ice Cube followed in suite. Like a virus it infected everyone who heard and felt it, putting black music back on top, saving record companies and influencing the world of music. It was the new rock n roll and punk of its day. The music of the youth culture still today.

BTW-Starring Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Hunting, Bobby Wills, The Pack A.D., The Lovelocks, Constantines, Jess Moskaluke, David Foster, Jully Black

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Canada’s most consistent keepers of the roots rock flame, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings are going to Grand Ole Opry and the boys are totally chuffed about that. Country music may have had its changeups but the GOO is still its mecca, the place where you have to be anointed to be anybody of quality. They’ll perform at the legendary venue on March 8 as part of U.S. tour that will also see them play another legendary Nashville juke joint, the Bluebird Café on March 7, in support of current and critically acclaimed seventh studio album, South.

South is a fresh creative step for songwriters Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden, and Tom Wilson. It builds on their consistently energetic performances with largely acoustic yet reliably punchy arrangements, showcasing the multiple strengths of the alt-country super group. Outside of Blackie, the three have maintained their individual careers. Fearing is a widely respected solo artist, and one half of the duo Fearing and White with noted Irish artist Andy White. Wilson has worked solo, as well as leading the bands Junkhouse and Lee Harvey Osmond. Linden, who relocated to Nashville in 1996, has released several solo albums and recently played guitar in Bob Dylan’s touring band. As guitarist, songwriter and/or producer, he’s also worked with the likes of The Band, T-Bone Burnett, Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Diana Krall, Leon Redbone, and Lucinda Williams.

Levon Helm Music from Big Pink

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Submitted by Bill King
Author of Bill King’s “In Concert !” Essays, Images and Interviews

Photo Credit: Catherine Sebastian 

Back in 1968, Greenwich Village was a hotbed of sounds and new faces. Blood Sweat and Tears was a quartet, Stevie Winwood sported a fashionable Afghan jacket, Donovan strolled in and out of saw dusty folk retreats, and Jimi Hendrix was rumoured to be the best village sleepover. Meanwhile, the Cream blew the roof off at the Café au Go Go, Todd Rundgren was holed up at the Café Wha and Neil Diamond, at the Bitter End. As for Miles Davis, he proclaimed the Electric Flag to be the best band in the world. During this golden age, rock music had a distinctive voice- no band played or sounded the same.

I was sharing a flat with bassist Stu Woods and an enormous stack of pop and jazz recordings. Eric Mercury was a mainstay; so were Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Santana and a lot of classic soul.
While digging through piles of brand-new releases at a vinyl shop on 8th Avenue, I came across something called Music from Big Pink. It wasn't the title that caught my attention but the colorful sketch on the cover. I liked the song titles, too: "Tears of Rage," written by Bob Dylan and keyboardist Richard Manuel; "The Weight" by Robbie Robertson; "Chest Fever" and the classic "Long Black Veil." There was also a version of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." Talk about a drop the needle experience! Rarely does a recording spin my head as much as it did.

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