It is not fun to be motherless any day of the year, but sometimes you have no choice in the matter. Is one ever ready to lose a mother? Mine died of cancer when I was barely 12. Some days I feel I missed out on so much, but because of a kind neighbour named Agnes Rychard in Cowansville, Quebec–a little of my mother was returned to me.
We all have issues to deal with. I think this is part of life’s journey back to our true pure selves, but without a real feeling of love early on, it’s challenging. How do motherless children get through Mother’s Day? I personally would like to think that some of us have had people like Agnes in our lives. Adoptive mothers, or those that chose to be by our side, were born with the ability to change someone’s life. They gave us places to feel safe, loved, and shed a few tears.
Agnes has remembered each and every birthday with a greeting card, and we still sometimes swap photos, stories and treasured mementos through the mail. She has allowed me to know my mother in a new way. Thanks to her, when I look at these mementos I discover new pieces of my mother all the time.
This woman took the time to rescue snippets of my mother’s plants while a construction crew tore my childhood home down. With my horticultural talents, I successfully ended up killing every plant she gave me, but I still got to enjoy them for a short time. I always knew in my heart she had a dream, but there was never an ounce of anger shown when my late sister and I chose others over her sons for partners.
To all these women who took the time to befriend a young girl or boy in their time of need I am sending you my heart. If your doors had not been open we would have never become part of your “kitchen table family”. Mine was a table that was filled with comfort food, conversation, accompanied by the songs of Hank Snow and Jim Reeves playing in the background.
I used to hate Mother’s Day, but thanks to Agnes, my mother still lives somewhere within me in a very real way. Each of those moments and days she spent with me worked to create a world in which my sons will carry me within themselves as they move forward in their lives, no matter what lies ahead. These women were always busy with their own families and their hands were always full, but so were their hearts.
Mister Valley Hall of Fame opens its doors for George Essery By Patrick Langston
When George Essery lit out on his own at the ripe old age of 12, he was just doing what comes naturally to many country musicians: rambling. Seventy-four years later, health worries have forced him to settle down but that old wanderlust still creeps into his eyes when he starts reminiscing. Sitting in the living room of his double-wide trailer home in Moose Creek, east of Ottawa, Essery looks around at the dozens of railroading books, magazines and pictures that vie for space with photos of his children and grandchildren. “I’d still love to go and hop a couple of freights,” he says with a smile. “But I’d have to get on them when they’re standing still”
That restlessness drove him back and forth across Canada’s musical landscape, playing at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel in the late 1930s, working in Edmonton a decade later, joining forces with several bands in Montreal during the ’50s and ’60s, and performing in Ottawa and touring from the mid-’70s until he finally retired four years ago at the age of 82. And while country music is Essery’s first love (his career included stints as steel guitarist with country stars Orval Prophet, Zeb Turner and for almost 20 years with Sneezy Waters), his repertoire has covered everything from Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Lady to old Vaudeville numbers.
George Essery’s banjo playing kept him fed handy with that kind of song list. In fact, he may owe his life to his trumpet playing. The Royal Canadian Signal Corps, which Essery joined in 1940, was so desperate for a trumpet player that it kept him safely posted at its headquarters in England throughout the Second World War rather than risk losing him on the front. Essery, who will be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame this Sunday along with Dusty f ” i 4 ‘ ? ‘ ‘ i I V ” C XT’ P during the Depression. He plays 1 1 instruments without reading music. King Sr., Phyllis Woodstock and The Lauzon Brothers, was born in 1915 in Medicine Hat, Alberta and raised in Prince Edward Island. Although he landed his first paying gig at 14 playing banjo and singing on CHGS Summerside, Essery never learned to read music. “If the tunes were tough, I’d have to woodshed them a little.” Remembered by Sneezy Waters as a guy who could patch up not just tunes, 1 ! CHRIS MIKULA, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN but anything mechanical (he’s even made a couple of his own steel guitars), Essery has turned his hand to non-musical jobs over the years. As a teenager, he shipped out on a four-masted schooner hauling New Brunswick pulp wood to Delaware. During the ’30s, he was an auto mechanic. In the early ’50s, he repaired outboard motors. But the jobs couldn’t hold him. “Oh, I got pissed off with that. I was never happy doing anything else but music. plaque It’s like a drug it drags you back.” Even when riding the rails at the start of the Depression, Essery kept his banjo close at hand: “I never had to bum because every town had a band-shell in the park. I’d sit on the steps and start playing, and pretty soon you’ve got a crowd giving you nickels and dimes and the odd quarter.” He might be “retired,” but Essery still hasn’t kicked the musical habit. He’s never cut any albums, but he’s recently cobbled togethera tape of himself playing steel guitar and banjo and singing a forlorn version of Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?, a song he learned from a couple of buskers on King Street in Toronto during the Depression. When his tape rolls out steel guitar versions of Hank Williams’ Your Cheatin’ Heart or old standards like Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?, Essery is hooked. “Listen to those chord changes!” he exclaims. “It’s a beautiful instrument. You can put your whole heart and soul into it.” Essery, who played steel in more than 500 performances of the top-rated touring musical Hank Williams The Show He Never Gave, with Sneezy Waters in the starring role, follows contemporary country music, but disdains its narrow subject matter. “There’s nothing wrong with the music, it’s just not country music. You listen to Shania Twain. Now she is good, this girl, but they’re all love songs. That’s not country.” Although he still plays steel guitar for himself, Essery can’t be coaxed into performing for a stranger. “I can’t play worth a shit now,” he says, explaining that a slipping memory and stiffening fingers have taken their toll. And the thrice-weekly dialysis treatment crimps his style a bit. Still, “I’m a tough old bastard, you know.”
On September 19, 1958 my family and I were invited to a wedding reception in the Perth Town Hall for Dick Warr and Shirley Code. My parents were unable to attend so it looked like another quiet Friday night unless I hopped on shank’s mare and walked the 5 kilometres to Innisville, the nearest village.*Enter fate, stage left*. Our landlord and his wife, Art and Lena McCall, were also invited to the reception and asked if I’d like to go with them. So at 9 PM that evening I was on the loose in Perth at the dance.The first person I ran into that I knew was Ivan Malloch, an acquaintance from Drummond Centre.
He was a couple years older than I and had a car. We stood around an listened to the music for a while and then the band announced that they were going to play a square dance.Now being a Lanark County boy, fiddle tunes and square dancing were second nature to me so I started looking around for someone to dance with. That’s when Ivan pointed out a lovely young lady, Helen Ireton, sitting along the wall. He said she was a neighbour of his and she liked to dance. She was wearing a red sweate, plaid pleated skirt and slingback shoes and from where I was standing she looked fantastic. So, young buck that I was, I sauntered over and asked this vision of loveliness to dance. And she accepted! We ended up dancing together for most of the night.
Helen says the thing she remembers most about the way I was dressed was: how shiny my shoes were. That was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted 60 years. That 60 years has included being married 6 years later, moving to Ottawa, raising a son, and for the most part just enjoying life together. We’ve had many interesting experiences and I imagine we likely wouldn’t change any of it. And through it all I can safely say, we’ve stayed friends.
So I’d like to raise a glass of wine to Helen, my friend and lover for 60 years. ***News Flash***: I had to make a slight adjustment to the remembrance. After reading the posting, Helen pointed out to me that she wasn’t wearing a red sweater that night because she didn’t have one. She wore a brown plaid A-line skirt with a matching fitted vest and a white blouse. So I guess it just goes to show, I’m not infallible. But then, what husband is? Hmmmm… I wonder who it was I knew that wore a red sweater?
Here is the info I have on all the children of Robert White (1835 – 1904) and Ann Jane Dafoe (1849 – 1924)White, Cinderella ElizabethBorn: 1867-07-16 – South Fredericksburgh Twp., L&A County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1899-07-23 – Bathurst Twp., Lanark County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Frederick DanielBorn: 1868-09-09 – South Fredericksburgh Twp., L&A County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1957-11-10 – Plevna, Clarendon Twp., Frontenac County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Charles AllenBorn: 1870-05-27 – South Fredericksburgh Twp., L&A County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1926-11-17 – Lanark County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Robert BenjaminBorn: 1872-01-06 – South Fredericksburgh Twp., L&A County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1941-07-21 – Ottawa, Ontario, CanadaWhite, John Nelson Born: 1874-02-19White, James IraBorn: 1876-03-26 – Venacher, Denbigh Twp., L&A County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1935-04-24 – Brantford, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Isaac Hedley Born: 1878-09-08White, Walter AnsonBorn: 1881-02-10 – Miller Twp., Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1960-06-13 – Carleton Place, Lanark County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Mary HesterBorn: 1883-04-02 – Miller Twp., Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1971-11-02 – Newmarket, York County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, George BruceBorn: 1885-08-08 – Wensley Settlement, Miller Twp., Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1963-08-20 – Perth, Lanark, County, Ontario, CanadaWhite, Lydia Emily JaneBorn: 1887-11-11,Died: before 1901White, Dorothy JaneBorn: 1890-05-27 – Miller Twp., Frontenac County, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1965-12-15White, Lillie AnnBorn: 1892-11-18 – Sudbury, Ontario, Canada,Died: 1953-11-15 – Watsontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Every second or third Friday night for a number of years CHEZ-FM DJ Brian Murphy could be found in my store Flash Cadilac talking to me for hours. I will never understand how we became friends, as we were different as night and day. But there he was sitting on a stool next to my cash register, and we always had hours to chat about stuff. Both of us had a love of music, but no one knew more about music than Murph. I loved to tease him about his love affair with Dire Straits, and he would in turn constantly mention my extremely bad taste in music. But sometimes he would admit that some pop music wasn’t all that bad. I wonder what he would have thought of BTS. Murph, I’m going to ask you that when I hopefully got up into rock and roll heaven, unless Hell is Gothic, and well, you know, I might enjoy that.
Brian was never there to shop, and seldom took interest in my customers (even the sexy ones) unless they mentioned music. I always had a Diet Coke or two for him, as he got thirsty discussing life, and sometimes he overwhelmed me with his knowledge. You could never have a 15 minute conversation with the music genius–his musical thoughts came in volumes. He would talk endlessly about his record collection in his basement which was floor to ceiling, as well as covering the stairways and hallways. Brian, you would be happy to know (in later life) I married one of “your tribe” who had 7000 records to get rid of in Berkeley, California to move here to Canada. I know you would have told him what was more important in life LOL.
After Brian was let go amid the big CHEZ-FM shuffle I wondered what he was up to when I no longer saw him anymore. When I read his obituary I was devastated and angry at myself for not reaching out to him and hoped to God his frog collection would be taken care of. He will always be the Sultan of Swing to me and so much more.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder what Brian would have to say about a particular genre of music I’m playing. When he died CHEZ-FM posted the following on their website:
“Heaven has just welcomed its new music director.”
If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
And bring you back again.
The Brian Murphy Fund *Application and donation links found below* A Sub Fund of the Education Foundation of Ottawa and An Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of Ottawa This award is in memory of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ 106 “The Source” “Blues 106,” “Jazz 106” and other programs. He was known as one of Ottawa’s most original people. Brian will be remembered for his encyclopedic knowledge of musi
Please leave comments so I can them all here for permanent doucmentation… thanks
This is Artcetera, speaking from the home of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ’S The Source, Blues 106 and Jazz 106 programs on Sunday nights. The shows reflect Murphy’s eclectic tastes in music, a subject for which he is wildly enthusiastic. He’s also a champion talker. Let’s listen in.) Now I’m going to get myself in real serious trouble with what one friend calls the jazz ayatol-lahs, and another friend calls the jazz weasels. Because really what jazz is, even though it has become in a sense an art form ta-dah ta-dah, is pop music. MOZART WROTE POP MUSIC, or adapted pop music. And nothing makes me angrier than the jazz ayatollahs or the jazz weasels, or the BLUES ayatollas or the BLUES weasels, people who are so structured in their musical taste.
. . . I’ve always gotten from certain people in the Ottawa jazz scene the ayatollahs, the weasels the feeling that they really can’t take me seriously when it comes to jazz. Why? Because I like rock and roll. (It’s me again. We’re talking to Murphy because May 24 is his 50th birthday, and CHEZ is dedicating the day to his music, and also holding a birthday party for him at the Penguin. The radio station is broadcasting from his house that day, and they’ve asked him to pick 125 to 150 rock songs, and they will make up the playlist for the station that day.) I just took a page for every letter and as songs came into my mind I started going through them … So you got a list that starts A’s: Allman Brothers, Ramblin Man and Animals, House of the Rising Sun. B’s: The Band, The Weight, The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations, here’s a tough one, Beatles, I’ve got two, Am The Walrus and In My Life. And I’ve got Bonzo Dog in here, which will probably come out, and this particular song means a lot to me: Urban Spaceman . . . (Music magazines spill on the floors of Brian Murphy’s house.
There’s barely room on the kitchen table for the breakfast he eats at 4 p.m. he doesn’t go to sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. He collects things in the shape of frogs, and frogs spill along the shelves of his living room in ceramic and plastic and wood. A frog quilt spills off his bed. CDs spill out on top of the thou sands of albums kept in the boxes in his basement. Books spill on his desk. Words spill out of Brian Murphy.) First of all, above all, I’m an entertainer. I’ve got to make people feel good. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I can’t stop and make them think about something or make them angry about something that makes me angry. But at the same time as I’m entertaining, I’m kind of teaching. I’m taking all of this lore, all of this knowledge, all of this listening, and sifting them through this particular body and mind, and what comes out is some kind of synthesis of all this stuff. (May 24 is also the 50th birthday of Bob Dylan.
Above Murphy’s basement sanctuary, where he goes to turn on a record and read some science fiction and think about the connections that run through music, above that sanctuary is a sign: ‘The Most Famous Album Never Released: Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes.’ Basement. Tapes. Connections.) Dylan was the wordsmith. Dylan was the man, the person who opened the words up for everybody. In a sense, Bob Dylan made poetry acceptable to the masses. What a horrible way to have to put it. (Murphy rocks from leg to leg, from subject to subject. He loves music of all kinds, he hates people who put it into pigeonholes, he wants people to understand . . . There are only kinds of music another line I’m going to steal and it’s been attributed to Kurt Weill and it’s also been attributed to Igor Stavinsky there are two kinds of music, good music and bad music.
Take your pick. . to understand something called Sturgeon’s Law, a law that says that 90 per cent of everything is trash. Mur phy’s Corollary puts Brian Murphy that at 95 per cent. So you shouldn’t be surprised … – -J Pop music is banal and all of those things, but! lot of it more than you realize is great music. It can move you. “I’d be surprised if a lot of pop music is bad- ‘ A lot of everything is bad. But when it’s good; -” we just ask Brian Murphy.) . Part of what I try to do is I go through life trying to find these perfect records. To me the ultimate compliment about a piece of music, no matter what its genre, is it makes you feel good to be alive.
There were lots of musicians that signed the Wall of Shame in my store Flash Cadilac, and I think I have a story about each one of them. But the person I remember most and miss was the eccentric but incredibly talented musician Nash the Slash.
In 1978 my friends Bernie and Marion brought me to the now late legendary Black Swan on Rideau Street in Ottawa. I had no idea what I was about to see, but I was promised a real treat. I remember I had on a huge Victorian ruffle style coat with a Snow White collar made out of white PVC. Bernie remarked that I had chosen the right outfit for the concert and I had no clue what he meant until the curtain went up. The whole stage was decorated in white shiny PVC vinyl like my coat and I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation.
All of a sudden a man looking much like The Invisible Man in a white tuxedo and top hat graced the stage. As soon as the first notes of his electric mandolin pierced the air I was hooked and in love with his originality. His name was Nash the Slash and he began as a solo artist in 1975 and then founded the band FM. He plays an electric mandolin and violin but also plays keyboards and the glockenspiel. His music moved me so much I had goosebumps up and down my arms for the whole show.
I wrote him a letter after the concert and asked him if he would visit my store the next time he was in town to sign autographs. Sure enough he had someone contact me that he would indeed grace my store and would like to cut up a side of beef with a chainsaw in my store window. Linda being Linda thought this would be the performance art gig of the century.
Let’s remember James Jeffrey “Jeff” Plewman (March 26, 1948 – May 10, 2014), better known by his stage name Nash the Slash.
Best comment ever about my store Flash Cadilac and the Black Swan
What a fabulous store! I’m old and grey now, most of my clothing these days are rags… but … I have a pretty good memory and my recollections of Flash Cadillac are wonderful. First of all, I have to hand it to you for having the balls to open a store right on Rideau street in the late 70’s. Going into a retail location anywhere is a scary proposition but Ottawa, Rideau street, 1970’s, wow, my hat’s off to you. Now, as to the store: I was playing guitar in a local band, (naturally) and our bass player and I walked upstairs, having seen the sign from street level, and were delighted to discover the type of garb we could wear on stage. T-shirts, scarves, shoes, sunglasses, etc. I think I bought a pair of men’s red shoes and skin tight red jeans on account of Elvis Costello’s song, a pair of sunglasses with slats instead of lens’s and we both picked out these weird (to us provincials) t-shirts that had the strips of fabric cross cross on the back panel of the shirt. We were certain that they were women’s t-shirts but we didn’t care… we wore them backwards anyway! We got lots of comments when we played at the Black Swan, mostly from females who informed us that we were wearing the t-shirts backwards, and a few fellows that made disparaging remarks about our alleged sexuality. No matter. We got laid! 1978 was a very good year thanks to you and the clothing and accessories at Flash Cadillac.
11m · Linda, the last newspaper listing I see for the Black Swan (275 Rideau) is May 25, 1979. It became Arnold’s in July of that year, and the last lsting I see for Arnold’s is July 1984. The 1991 layer at GeoOttawa shows a very large excavation at that location. From the Journal, July 11, 1980:
The Wall of Shame — Flash Cadilac Rideau Street Ottawa
Behind the cash register at Flash Cadilac lay the notorious Wall of Shame. There taped to the wall were 100’s of words of wisdom, and autographed photos from the “famous, and not so famous”. What no one knows is the creation of the wall began as a joke.It was a dark Montreal smoke-filled bar on Mountain Street. Idolizing Leonard Cohen, I quoted his poetry to anyone that would listen. It was the 60’s, minds were changing, and I still considered myself part of someone’s, okay, anyone’s, Beat Generation.
Years later, on my way to a Heavy Metal Convention in Los Angeles,to do a remote for CKCU and 54 Rock my friend Andrew Searle and I spotted a few celebrities on board. Cohen himself was on our flight to Los Angeles with his much younger girlfriend Rebecca De Mornay. When the plane landed, we pushed our way to the front to get a glimpse of him. I remember taking his hand while we both stood by the baggage turnstile, and gushed like a smitten teenager. Completely ignoring Christopher Plummer on the other side, I told him about my never ending love for him. He smiled, in that Leonard Cohen sort of way and said softly, “My dear the years have been kind to you”. Leonard then autographed one of my manila envelopes, and when I returned to Ottawa
I cut out his autograph from the envelope and taped it to the wall. I turned, and jokingly said to my staff: “Can you believe that man is dating someone years younger than all of us?”
Now, that’s a damn shame!”And so, “The Wall of Shame” was born. My Nash the Slash autographed album was part of it.
Victoria Lidia IlgacsWorked there as a cocktail waitress from what it open to closure. Made about a 100 bucks on a good night. Sharon Nate, Daughter of the owner of Nate’s delicatessen, managed the place. Saw Heart there as a bar band, Minglewood, Rough Trade, Dominic Troianno, Goddo, Dave Wilcox, The Action, Larkspur, Downchild Nlues Band, Nash the Slash, April Wine, etc. Got punched out by a couple of Satan’s Choice chicks one night. Was eventually shut down when the Choice overtook the place.
Journal interview by Christopher Cobb
Sometimes we tend to forget that , most of -today’s rock superstars started their careers in small bars, light years away from the massive arenas that. most are now associated with. Somewhere in the dim and distant past, bands like the Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and-hosts of others were swinging their guitars in holes in the wall, struggling to make a living. Public- health regulations wouldn’t allow many of those dives to even open their doors nowadays, but still, there continues to be a need for such places platforms for young bands to work and grow”, from.
For the past couple of- years, Ottawa’s Black Swan has been filling the gap in this city. Bands playing at the former Rideau Street garage, are invariably a cut above those usually found at high school dances, yet not of the stature to be playing big concerts, even as an opening act. The Swan with its capacity of 220, is a place for showcasing upcoming acts.
Some of them die early deaths and others go on to greater things. Either way, they rarely return once the listening public has made its decision. For travelling bands, the old bar is a place of discovery or a stage in development, and for its audience a place to go and check out the new stuff.
Sal Khan, owner of the Black Swan, (Squires and the Commercial Tavern), hasn’t had too many money losing weeks since he opened the bar a couple of years ago. Which proves something. . . . “During the past couple of years, Ottawa audiences have matured considerably,” says Khan. “At one time you could put any band In the club and you’d fill it every night. Now it’s a different story. The audiences now are particular about what they hear and knowledgeable about the music.
Some bands we hire die an early death, but they usually deserve to. Monday nights at the Swan are always free and as such usually the most popular. The success of Tuesday onwards often depends on the reports spread around by the Monday crowd. Khan hires lots of Canadian bands who are on the regional bar circuit. He wants to provide an outlet for Canadian talent but at the same time is concerned about new restrictive immigration laws which are making It difficult for foreign artists of a certain level to get into the country.
“Many club owners are worried about this,” he says. “Immigration officials are tending to consult the musicians unions and automatically the unions are saying that there are Canadians around capable of doing the job. “What these people don’t realize is that you often need a certain number, of foreign artists to keep bars alive for the Canadians to grow in. To deny a foreign artist a work permit just because he or she is a foreigner is nonsense.” Despite awkward Immigration policies, the financial and musicial future of The Black Swan looks bright enough for improvement and expansion: And if Canadian music ever becomes a world force, the dingier, unglamorous establishments like the Swan can probably take a lot of the credit.
In 1978 my brother Dale was manager of the black swan and the squires and the Nozzle. Sal Khans general manager. My brother Donn was manager at the Vendome for a few years. Dale ran the swan and the squires and Nozzle as well as the commercial at one time. Sal Khan owned a few bars. My brother Dwight bought the old wizard pub on bank street and made it the bankbridge arms until he sold it to the barleymow guy. Danny Delahunt
Jamie DunlopSpent too many nights at the Swan in my youth. Nash the Slash, Cornstalk,Songship, Rough Trade, even Heart managed to get mis- booked and had to play a weekend there while their first major hit album was breaking. I know Vicki Ilgacs well and handed over wads of cash to her in return for beer. It always amazes me that at the time you could afford an apartment and go out to these dives a few times a week while working a single job. Good times.
Sue JarvisGreat nights there in my day when Eugene Smith & the Warm-up band played.
Ian Tyson has a successful television show and an encouraging new album on his hands. He also has a problem. “Im trying to translate the success of the show,” said Tyson, draping a long leg over the arm of a living room chair. I don’t know how to handle it. Im like a kid with a new toy I dont know what to do with it.” The new album, released by Columbia Records and entitled You Were On My Mind, is doing moderately, the singer said in an interview. “It’s not setting the world on fire. It may. The title song is a newly-arranged version of Ian and Sylvia’s highly popular single which brought them wide attention a few years back. The rest of the cuts are examples of a more polished and developed Ian and Sylvia.
Together, the Ian Tyson Show and the album have brought Ian back into the folk spotlight. He said he wants to capitalize on the exposure. That means taking Sylvia and The Great Speckled Bird their backup band back onto the road. And thats where the problem comes in. Id like to tour off and on in the States, said Tyson, smoking the one cigar he allows himself a day. “But its difficult with a big band. “With an entourage of nine or 10 musicians its very expensive to go on the road. Expenses have gone up astronomically. To tour successfully, Tyson would need a series of bookings throughout Canada and the United States. “But the circuit has disappeared for medium-priced groups like ours,” said Tyson, adding his band charges between $2,500 and $3,000 a night. The group would lose money flying to Western Canada or the U.S for only one engagement. “There’s no place for them to put us for one night where they could make money,” he said, nursing a cup of coffee. We’d end up losing on the deal.”
The telephone rang and he strode out of the gracious living room in his downtown home and into the den. A few minutes later he returned. “That was a guy who wanted us to do a tour of the East Coast. Id love to go East but the problem is that in Eastern Canada, the halls are small and the people havent a lot of money. You couldn’t charge $5 a seat they couldn’t afford to come. In most halls the promoter would lose money if the charge was smaller. It’s the kind of problem that has Ian Tyson thinking.
“I wonder if you could almost create a very contemporary version of vaudeville, he said. “It would be a monumental job, though.” His plan would be to arrange with a number of FM radio stations to sponsor regular concerts by middle-priced groups such as his own and people like singer Buffy Ste. Mane. The groups would go on the road for several weeks, knowing that another job was just an economical days journey away. He said he would like to try his hand at film producing and is excited about a recently-released novel by a Canadian from the West. “I’d love to produce,” Tyson said. “I don’t know about acting, though.” He is also interested in grabbing the championship of the Ontario Cutting Horse Association, of which he is president. Cutting horses are the elite of the western rancher’s spreads. They were used for “cutting cattle from big herds and directing them into various pens, but now it is a sport and a competitive one.
Four Strong Winds was written for a woman he has had a 55 year old affair with Evina Pulos
For 15 years, “Wayne Rostad’s Gatineau Clog” was one of Canada’s most successful outdoor music festivals, enjoyed by thousands of country music fans and raising over half a million dollars for community hospitals and service organizations.
The Gatineau Clog is taking a year off to regroup before returning in 1996. Wayne Rostad, organizer and host of the annual country music event near Low, Que., said the Clog won’t take place this year because the festival is looking for a new site. For 11 years, the Clog’s home was Tucker Lake, on land owned by the local Lions Club. But nearby residents complained about noise, drunkenness, and violence at last August’s event, which drew an estimated 12,000 country; music fans, many of whom camped overnight at the site to listen to entertainers like Tammy Wynette and Hal Ketchum. At the time, Chelsea Mayor Judy Grant said the event had become too rowdy, adding that when until about five years ago the crowds had been quiet, but the event had turned into “a big drunk … the rowdies have come en masse.”
Rostad’s agent, Sheldon Wiseman, agreed last year that the festival had problems, especially with fights at night. Police were called to the site five times last year, once to deal with a hit-and-run but mostly for fights between drunken campers. Quebec provincial police also arrested 12 people for impaired driving. Security at the Clog was the responsibility of Lions Club volunteers, but they called in police when things got out of hand. Since it began as a one-day event at Vorlage ski resort in 1979, the Clog has been affectionately known as Wayne’s party after Rostad, the host of CBC TV’s On the Road Again. Each year, the event raises thousands of dollars for local charities such as the Lions Club and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Among top acts Wynette among Gatineau Clog. Country fans can start counting down to the 15th annual Wayne Rostad Gatineau Clog Tammy Wynette, Hal Ketchum, Paulette Carlson and Wayne Rostad will be among the headliners for the two-day party. Wynette, best known for hits Stand By Your Man, I Dont Wanna Play House, Til I Can Make it On My Own and a series of hits with ex-husband George Jones, performs July 30. It will be the country legend’s first performance in the Ottawa area since a 1989 appearance at Barrymore’s. The 52-year-old star made headlines late last year when she became seriously ill with a severe bile duct infection. She was in intensive care in a Nashville hospital for more than a week and started performing again only in mid-January. Wynette can be heard on the soundtrack of the Mel Gibson movie Maverick. Ketchum, whose hits include Sure Love, Hearts are Gonna Roll and Mama Knows the Highway, performs July 3L Last year, about 18,000 people turned out for the two-day event A. twPm Other performers this year include John Conlee, Prescott Brown, Larry Mercey, Terry Kelly, The Black Donnellys and Jason Roos. Roos was the winner of last year’s CKBY talent contest This year’s contest will be held July 30. The two-day event is held at Tucker Lake in Low, Que., usually a 45-minute drive from Ottawa But the drive takes an hour or more on concert days, when the roads are congested. Organizers say some enthusiastic country fans arrive as early as a week ahead so that they can stake out a prime site
A country star rises Jason Roos takes top honors at the 14th annual Gatineau Clog BY SUSAN BEYER Citizen Correspondent Anand Maharai, Citizen Local country singer Jason Roos celebrates his victory Saturday. LOW Some people mi,’ht say a star was born at the Gatineau Clog Saturday afternoon. It happened when 21-year-old Jason Roos won the CKBY-Bud Country Talent Contest. But to the large contingent of family, friends and fans who watched his triumph on his third try at the contest, Roos was already a star. Dressed in red T-shirts proclaiming his name, they were confident that it was just a matter of time before the soft-spoken blond, with a traditional country voice, would win the prestigious local contest. “I wasn’t really sure I was even going to enter it again,” said Roos. “But my family coached me into it.” Winning the contest nets Roos a one-single recording deal, with distribution of the song to radio stations across Canada. It will also give him a shot at the at the Canadian finals, to be held in Hamilton next month. Best yet, Roos will get to make an appearance on the Nashville Television Network’s Nashville Now show. During Saturday’s show, Roos delivered fine versions of the Garth Brooks’ song, The Dance, and One Bridge Left To Burn, which Roos has already recorded as a demo. Roos, a native of Long Lake, Que., a small town outside Buckingham, began singing at the age of nine with a family band that featured his father and aunt. Roos explains that he grew up on traditional country fare Merle Haggard, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. After graduating from Philemon Wright high school in Hull he went straight into the music business. “I’ve had amazing support from family and friends. I’ve got 32 first cousins and I think most of them were out there cheering me this afternoon.” Fair weather friend Under a scorching sun, country music fans sprayed each other with water pistols on day one of Wayne Rostad’s 14th annual Gatineau Clog. “We are up a good thousand over last year in ticket sales for each day,” said Rostad. Rostad was particularly thrilled with the perfect weather gracing his music festival. The sunny skies, expected to continue through today, should bring toal attendance into the 23,000 range, Rostad said.
It rained on Wayne Rostad’s 13th annual Gatineau Clog, but that didn’t stop country music fans from having fun By Susan Beyer Citizen correspondent ; Big Al Downing doesn’t dance. He doesn’t have a hot new video, or a million-dollar stage show. : But Saturday evening, fronting a band of ready-to-cook musicians from a perch behind an electric keyboard, he stole the show during the two-day, 20-hour country music extravaganza that was Wayne Rostad’s 13th Gatineau Clog. About 18,000 people attended the Clog at Tucker Lake in Low, Quebec over the weekend which featured a sunny Saturday and a damp drizzly Sunday, a weather pattern which has occurred at the event for the last three years. Early Saturday evening, Big Al rollicked through a set of get-down, country boogie driven by his barrel-house piano style and the energetic backing of Northern Star. This was an exuberant, joyful, emotional and driving set which took many people by surprise. Most were only familiar with Downing’s hit from years ago, Mr. Jones and were taken utterly by surprise when Big Al came out and raised the Clog boogie factor to new heights. Aside from his original material including Mama Was A Preacher and Pay The Dues, he included some Fats Domino and Elvis material. After finishing his encore, Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher, Downing spent an hour and half signing autographs. . Eddy Raven had to follow this. He did a good, if standard-issue, show. Raven is a noted songwriter as well as a performer and the focus was on the beautifully crafted songs. His overall sound is a warm blend often with a smooth Cajun and Caribbean influence. Among the highlights were Operator, Operator, I Should Have Called, Too Much Candy For A Dime and Thank God For Kids.
Sunday dawned damp, drizzly and grey. At noon, Rostad faced a half-full concert bowl of plastic-coated people prepared to enjoy the day’s performances. It is Rostad’s genius to make people feel good and he delights in sharing his humor and songs with them. A new Rostad composition, Oh My Canada, is stirring and disarming, straight from the heart, with touches of sadness and emotional surge. Very real and quite powerful, it deserves a wide hearing. In the afternoon, four hopefuls in the Bud Country regional talent finals, backed by the Ted Gerow Band, competed in the rain for the chance to go to the national finals in Calgary next month. V The winner was Billie J. Helmkay of Thunder Bay, whose strong voice, good stage presence and song selection will make her a stand-out among the nine finalists next month. Ah 0- v Washboard Hank Kitchen-sink tuba a hit Helmkay said she has been singing for nine years, but had stopped for awhile “for a lot of different reasons, mostly because of my boyfriend at the time.” For the past four years, she has been working as a corrections officer in Thunder Bay, in both custodial and counselling capacities. The 26-year-old woman also works at a home for battered women. Helmkay said she started singing again for the simplest of reasons: “I missed it” This was her third try for the national finals. She said her future plans will be determined by next month’s outcome. “If I win, it will be awfully hard to give up a good job that I really love and get right back into music again, but I will.” Colin Eaymie of Kingston was runner-up. Dina Blanchard of Peterborough and Dusty King, Jr, the local winner selected Saturday, rounded out the field. The novelty act, Washboard Hank and the Honkers, received a standing ovation when Washboard performed a solo on his kitchen sink tuba during his original tune I Love You Queen Elizabeth Cuz You Wear Stupid Hats. Anita Perras delivered a well-appreciated set Among her newer songs, she was superb on Way Beyond Blue, from her forthcoming new album. Rising star Lionel Cartwright stepped into the party shoes and cranked up the volume. With his blonde locks flying and his band kicking it was an energetic performance, but his sound mix was not subtle or refined. He offered up a contrived country version of the Beatles’ song Help!. On record he has been much more subdued than the set he delivered1 Sunday.
What followed was impressive. Sweethearts of the Rodeo, sisters Janis Gill and Kristine Arnold, delivered a fine set. Their harmonies Anita Perras Fans liked new material Music review Wayne Rostad’s Gatineau Clog Tucker Lake, Low, Quebec August 1-2 were tight and their songs are good, new-league country from Hey Doll Baby, Blue To The Bone, Since I Found You to a spirited rendition of their great Midnight Girl In A Sunset Town. Arnold sings most of the leads in a voice with a good range. Gill played rhythm guitar and sang with a head-set mike. Dressed in long flowing skirts and short black jackets, they were a little hard to see from the top of the hill until it got dark enough for the spotlights. The crowd especially appreciated He Is The Man Of My Dreams, written by Janis about her husband, singer-songwriter Vince Gill. Reaction seemed split about Barbara Mandrell, who closed the weekend as the last performer Sunday night She was either “fantastic” or “plastic,” depending on who you talked to. There were people who waited all weekend to see the tight Vegas-style show and loved it But others felt cheated emotionally by the slick production. She did a medley of her hits, including Crackers, Sleeping Single In A Double Bed, Only A Lonely Heart Knows and To Me. Some people felt there was no country music on stage during her one-hour set, except for a brief, warmly received bit of Faded Love played on electric fiddle. Mandrell’s tour costs approximately $50,000 a week in equipment, including three buses, two tractor trailers, the instruments and lights plus the salaries paid to 27 people. It is run precisely and efficiently, like a military exercise. It probably runs a lot smoother than the maroon, ordinary-looking passenger van that Big Al Downing and his wife drove away in. -t Id s 1, w Pat McGrath, Citizen Fan Club: Wayne Rostad signs autograph for Wendy St. Pierre of Portage, Quebec
There were any number of things which could have ruined this year’s Gatineau Clog, but each one of them fell away in time to make the two-day, fundraising event another success. Neither rain nor the Bellamy Brothers’ missed airline connections nor Roger Miller’s waylaid instruments nor Waylon Jennings’ nosebleed had a big effect. The most serious threat came at 6:20 p.m. Sunday when a power surge in Hydro-Quebec lines cut electricity to the stage in the middle of a song by Prairie Oyster. “Last year a decision was Major made to have a ’87 winner returns backup generator ready just in case something like this ever happened,” said Clog founder and host Wayne Rostad. “Not even Hydro-Quebec can stop the Clog,” said administrator Ron Sparling. “The only thing that will ever stop the Clog,” said Rostad, “is a raging hurricane.”
After a few minutes of silence, Prairie Oyster picked up their song on the very word they had been cut off. Rostad puts the two-day total attendance at slightly over 22,000. “I was hoping for 25, but I guess the sky scared some people away.” Heavy rain did fall Sunday morning at the Tucker Lake site in Low, Que., making for some pretty soggy cloggin’ early in the day. Though a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect, uncertain skies threatened but did not produce a major storm. Saturday had been swelter-ingly hot. Saturday night, Waylon Jennings was treated by a first aid nurse at the site for a recurring nosebleed caused, according to backstage scuttlebutt, by high blood pressure. During his performance he called on his wife Jessi Colter to do a song while he dealt with the problem.
Sunday saw the return of a number Crowd appreciated old hits of of performers to the Clog, including the Leahy Family, Kitty Wells and Charlie Major, performing his own material two years after winning the CKBY-Bud Country talent finals in ’87. This year’s winner, Davey Drum-mond of Ottawa, performed an encore Sunday and later danced backstage with his girlfriend Gail Gavan, who had also been a finalist in the talent contest. Despite being interrupted by the power loss, Prairie Oyster put in a very solid, enjoyable set. The Sunday crowd appreciated the old hits of Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright and the Bill Anderson show.
Roger Miller put on a somewhat uneven show, taking his time to warm up to the crowd. In fact, the temperature dropped radically as the sun went down, leaving the unprepared shivering in the dark. Miller introduced himself by saying, “My name’s Roger Miller, one of the best that’s ever been.” He certainly is one of the best songwriters that’s ever been, with his blending of absurdity and pathos and good hooks, but his performance felt tossed-off. I don’t think we saw him at his best as he ran through his million-selling hits in the first half of his show. In the Summertime, England Swings, Dang Me and Husbands and Wives were some of the songs he did in their entirety, while doing only bits of Chug-A-Lug and his other comic pieces. Where Miller hit his stride and improved his performance was when he performed songs from the Broadway musical Big River. Miller won a Tony award for these songs and they are obviously what he most enjoys doing today. Their quality is superb and the execution was good. Playing guitar in Miller’s band was Marty Stuart, an artist in his own right who will have a new album out in October. He has just released a new version of Johnny Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry. Funds raised from this year’s event will be for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Gatineau Memorial Hospital and the Low and District Lions Club. Pat McGrath, Citizen Bill Anderson and Kitty Wells
After missing out on the first prize at the CKBY-Bud Country Talent Search last year, Langley, 37, came back last weekend at the Gatineau Clog and triumphed. The Winchester-area singer-songwriter performed two of his own songs, a sexy waltz-time ballad Call Me and his strong, strange driving trucker song Death of A Family Man which many refer to as Riding With the Devil “I just wanted it really bad,” said Langley the day after his win. “I worked really hard on vocals all year. I figured if I wanted this I’m ‘going to have to work for it But it really hasn’t sunk in yet Winning is the exciting thing, playing to all those people.” His prize is a two-song recording session that will be pressed as a single for distribution to country radio stations across Canada. He also secured himself a berth in the national Bud Country Talent Search that will take place next month during Country Music Week in Toronto. “I haven’t even thought about that yet,” he laughs. Langley has been working as a musician for some 20 years and currently is a solo performer in the Cornwall-Winchester area. He says he favors “nostalgia” music, listing Roy Orbison, the Beatles and 50s’ hits along with his country favorites Merle Haggard, Don Williams and the great story songs. His own songs tell very emotional stories. He says Death of a Family Man was written fairly quickly, in about 20 minuses, but only after about two year? of carrying it around in his head. “I was a road musician for 17 years, spent a lot of time travelling. And I’d be driving along seeing trucks pass by. I started thinking about the people driving those trucks, and what their lives were like, that they probably had a family, you know.
It is an inspired piece with a star-tlingly powerful image in the chorus. “No-one shook Christ’s hand that day, as he died for me and you. The only ones who reached for Him had their hands nailed down too.” The general family theme which kept cropping up over the Clog weekend excluded one act which had originally been booked, the Carter Family. “The original booking was for Johnny and June and the Carter Family,” says Wayne Rostad, “but it got changed. I know it went out on some of the ads and didn’t get changed.” Among acts which featured two generations were the Cash show with John Carter Cash, George Hamilton the IV and V, Tammy Wynette and Georgette Jones, Kitty Wells and son Bobby Wright and grandson in the band. There were married couples on stage together in Ronnie Prophet and Glory-Anne, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, Johnny and June whose openly affectionate presence was lovely and unforced. There were brothers and sisters on stage, singing in the Family Brown and the dancing (unrelated) Buster Brown troupe. (The funniest sight backstage occurred Saturday following the brief but vigorous electrical storm that held things up for about 45 minutes.
As the rain changed to a light drizzling mist the four young Buster Brown dancers were being shepherded around, each wearing a green plastic garbage bag over their shiny red satin custumes. A hole had been cut out of the top of the bag so just their heads were sticking out The looked rather pleased with themselves.) Family is the country way, for some. But then there was the lonely presence of Johnny Paycheck. Clearly, this is not a big father figure, in the way that Cash is. Paycheck is more like your wild, whispered-about uncle who everybody’s just a little bit scared of. He kept to himself most of the time backstage, staying on his bus but welcoming some visitors, such as Prophet. When Cash and Carter arrived about an hour before their performance, everybody, and I mean everybody, wanted to say hello to them. One by one the stars made their visits to the bus where Johnny and June stood like gracious royalty in a two-person receiving line. How is Johnny? I asked his manager. “He’s fine, as youH see yourself.” He was fine but looked tired and especially so about being asked how he was. “Maybe I told a little too much,” said June about her recent book, From The Heart The plains of Cash’s face sort of shift to one side. “We saw Rosanne when she was in town recently. She was great” “Yeah, she is,” says Cash. “And now she’s expecting our third,” says June. “Third and fourth,” says Cash. “It looks like.” “Twins?” “Looks like it She’s never got that big before,” says the impending grandfather. There was a relaxed, easy feeling about these people. No paranoia or security line. “They didn’t even ask for it,” said organizer Don Sparling, surprised. And as excited as the crowd was when Cash walked on stage, sending up a roar that galvanized everyone, nobody backstage was more excited than Wayne Rostad, after he made the introduction. “It’s the dream come true! Johnny Cash at the Gatineau Clog. I didn’t even know what I was going to say when I introduced him so I just spoke from my heart” He was bubbling over with emotion. What he said on stage was something along the lines of “The man we all know, the man we love so much, ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Cash.”
A record crowd of 15,000 cheered, stomped and two-stepped around lawnchairs and blankets at the eighth annual Gatineau Clog Sunday. A sea of shorts, bathing suits and cowboy hats covered every square inch of grass in front of the stage set up at Tucker Lake in Low, Que., about 60 kilometres north of Ottawa. The 10-hour country music festival attracted fans from across Ontario and West Quebec and featured a string of entertainers from Canada and the U.S. Money raised from the Clog will go to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Gatineau Memorial Hospital and the Low and District Lions Club. Organizers said Monday they won’t know for several days how much money was raised. Host Wayne Rostad, a local singer and songwriter who helped organize the event, kept the crowd in high spirits throughout the day, stopping only to catch his breath or sign autographs offstage while other performers entertained the crowd. Tracey Barbe, 12, of South Mountain, didn’t mind the 20-minute wait in line to have Rostad autograph her festival program book. “He’s the best,” said Barbe. “Me and all my friends love him.” . Clowns, ponies, helicopter rides and the CHEO bear kept children busy while their parents enjoyed the music and events like radio station CKBY’s talent search, which was won by Aylmer resident Charlie Major. Big-name performers Carroll Baker and Charley Pride, who headlined this year’s festival, didn’t let the heavy rain dampen the crowd’s spirit Both Baker and Pride left the stage soaked but still returned for encores. Last year, 10,000 people at- tended the Clog, which raised about $40,000 for charity.
As a country music festival we know it was a success. As a fundraiser, we’re still counting,” said Gillan. Any money raised from the concert is to go toward the hospital’s building fund to expand facilities. Wayne Rostad’s Gatineau Clog drew about 11,000 fans to Tucker Lake in Low Quebec. Any money raised, probably about $25,000, is to be split between the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Gatineau Memorial Hospital and Low and District Lion’s Club. Rostad said the Clog will be a two-day event next year. “It just gets bigger.” Two twelve-hour country music festivals in the region drew about 16,000 hand-clapping, foot-stomping fans Sunday and proceeds raised from both are to go to local charities. A benefit concert for the Royal Hospital Foundation brought out about 5,000 to the National Capital Equestrian Park, where stars the likes of Reba McEntire, Carroll Baker and John Schneider performed until 11 p.m. Hospital spokesman Michael Gillan said he was a little disappointed with the turnout, but wouldn’t know how much money was raised until later today.
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada05 Aug 1986, Tue • Page 13
It was, in the words of a Wayne Rostad song, a “countryside story, full of sunshine and glory” at the 6th Gatineau Clog held Sunday at Tucker Lake in Low, Que. Non-stop sunshine beat down on 10,000 Clog-goers who came from the Ottawa and Gatineau valleys to enjoy 12 hours of country music. The glory was shared by all the performers, especially Carroll Baker and Bob Lasenba, the winner of the CKBY talent contest. “The idea of the Gatineau Clog,” said host and organizer Rostad, “is that it’s an opportunity for us to come together in a fabulous place that I treasure and have a party together. This year we’ve reached the magic number of 10,000 and made the Clog an Event.” Indeed. The mixed, happy throng turned the hills of the natural grass amphitheatre into a sea of beach umbrellas, cowboy hats and lots of bare flesh in the heat. Nine contestants from the Ottawa Valley competed for a recording session, a 1985 Collector’s Series round-back Ovation guitar valued at $2,200 and a chance to have their single distributed to country radio stations across Canada in the CKBY contest. Bob Lasenba, representing the Spencerville Hotel, won the prize with his renditions of two American outlaw country tunes.
The 36-year-old singer is a full-time musician originally from Bury, Que. just outside of Sherbrooke. He’s been performing for 15 years. Following the talent contest, the afternoon unfolded with a fine mix of old- and new-style country music. The blend began with the eclectic sounds of the Bobby Lalonde and part of crowd of 10,000 at Gatineau Clog Band, followed by the homey feeling generated by Dave and Spike and Ron McMunn. One of the first encores of the day was received by tiny, young Nancy Deneau, who sang with the Dave and Spike band. As Dave Denninson said of the pre-teen singer with the startlingly powerful voice: “Sure makes you feel inadequate, eh?” Kelita Haverland, with a flare of pink hair over one ear, followed with a theatrical, bouncy show. The Carleton Showband delivered a well-received full set that included local hero Jerry O’Hara. O’Hara, a well-known Ottawa country music fan and lighting expert who has cerebral palsy, came to mike on crutches and sang It’s Hard to Be Humble. Throughout the day the music on stage flowed virtually non-stop with Rostad providing segues with his own brand of light, audience participation songs. One of Ros-tad’s talents has always been in creating a friendly party feeling from the stage and with the audience in full song during the choruses of his golden-oldie medley, the feeling was shared by all. Rick Thompson and Ramrod gave the fans plenty of rock and roll beat mixed with their country. The new Family Brown gave the best show I have seen them do.
The elements of the new structure all fell into place. Particular highlights included Barry Brown’s solo on his Lovin’ Fool Pat McGrath, Citizen with harmony by drummer Bill Carruthers. Tracey, Barry and Lawanda sang the new single that was recorded with Willie Nelson, Wouldn’t You Love Us Together Again, which should be released within the month. It is a powerful song. One can hardly imagine how another voice would improve it. Baker swept the the crowd away with her powerhouse performance of blended sounds. Her new material tends toward the uptempo contemporary feeling. She produced an excitement that was unrivalled all day. Her rendition of her biggest hit I’ve Never Been This Far Before blew the audience away. Her encore was a gospel medley that had her bending notes in her bluesy best. ;
If the Gatineau Clog country music festival didn’t cause earth tremors in nearby Wakefield, it wasn’t because thousands of tapping toes hadn’t been trying. The more than 3,000 sets of toes attending the third annual clog at the Vorlage Ski Resort gave new meaning to the phrase foot-stomping as they pounded the ground to the beat of the 18 acts performing Saturday and Sunday. The audience, mostly urban and suburban cow-persons from the Ottawa area, forever put the boots to any notion that country and western fans are broken-hearted menopausal males bawling into their beer. If hats alone are any indication of cowboyness, then there were black cowboys, baby cowboys, buxom cowboys and judging from the way they eased into their lawn chairs maybe a few sore-seated refugees from the mechanical bull at Sidewinders, “I just don’t think found they really liked it there’s a better place.
The 33-year-old Rostad the Ottawa Valley named the festival the clog. . We have a lot of talent here,” said Stewart Severson, a weekend hillbilly and retired public servant from Ottawa. Festival organizer and country music celebrity Wayne Rostad said there were considerations in addition to musical excellence which dictated the choice of mainly local acts for the festival’s lineup. “You can afford the local acts.”. Rostad offered some analysis of the surging popularity of country music around the world as he changed the strings on his guitar backstage. “I think country music is catching on because it’s talking about different feelings and things we all know and experience. Also, there were a lot of closet country music fans.
When they found out that country music was cool after having watched people kick off their work boots and dance when he used to perform in Wakefield. And gravel-voiced singer A. Frank Willis inadvertently emphasized the importance of toes to country music as he wailed through a song Sunday afternoon with the painful refrain “She broke my heart so I broke her toe.” But as if to prove that country fans have other parts to their anatomy besides their feet the festival held a hairy legs contest. After the blindfolded female judges had handled the calves of the five finalists Sunday in quest of the hairiest pair, 17-year-old Jim Bullis of Ottawa emerged the champion. Bullis refused to reveal whether he trained for the event, saying only that he would return next year to defend his title. But. Bullis’s triumph was almost eclipsed by one Wakefield gets foot contestant who grew carried away by the judges’ assessment of his legs and, writhing ecstatically, began to remove his trousers. For those whose toes grew tired after tapping through acts such as fiddler Bobby Lalonde whose demonic version of The Orange Blossom Special was one of the best received numbers Sunday afternoon they could retire to the booth of Donna Quince-Gussow for a $3 foot massage
CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada02 Dec 1966, Fri
I met him months after the band broke up.in December 1970. But most of them remained friends after. ( Elaine Gauthier) Thanks to Elaine and Bob Gauthier for sending me these clippings.
Those Naughty Boys
More than any other SJA act, Those Naughty Boys were the epitome of the garage band. In 1965, Bobby Gauthier got expelled from high school for letting his hair grow past his collar. Shortly after this, he got a bunch of teenagers with little or no prior musical knowledge together and formed a group. After only a few practices, they booked some time at H.H. Bloom Studios and cut their first demo. With the help of former Esquires roadie Don Nicholson as manager, they landed a recording contract with Montreal-based Fantastic Records, much to the surprise of some of their rivals. Their first single, “Baby,” was issued during the winter of 1966, thus establishing them on the scene. They gigged constantly throughout much of the year and regularly toured remote parts of north-eastern Ontario and western Quebec. During such a tour, their van cart-wheeled off the highway, while en route to a date in Maniwaki. They survived uninjured and told the tale the following week when they were interviewed on CJOH-TV’s Saturday Date. Being enterprising young men, they invested their earnings in their own Club 400, in Cornwall, Ontario, booking all the major touring acts from Ottawa and Montreal into it. By the time their Sir John A. single came out, the group was on the verge of splitting up. Gauthier had strained his vocal cords and couldn’t sing. As the band was booked solid for the next three months, they hired former Eyes Of Dawn frontman, Wayne McQuaid to take over the lead vocals. But the constant touring had taken its toll and dissension was rife. Gauthier had turned down several offers from a little known group called The In-Sect, but once The Naughty Boys’ commitments had been fulfilled, in April, he accepted and renamed them The Eastern Passage.
Thanks to Elaine and Bob Gauthier for sending me these clippings.
More than any other SJA act, Those Naughty Boys were the epitome of the garage band. In 1965, Bobby Gauthier got expelled from high school for letting his hair grow past his collar. Shortly after this, he got a bunch of teenagers with little or no prior musical knowledge together and formed a group. After only a few practices, they booked some time at H.H. Bloom Studios and cut their first demo. With the help of former Esquires roadie Don Nicholson as manager, they landed a recording contract with Montréal-based Fantastic Records, much to the surprise of some of their rivals.
Their first single, “Baby,” was issued during the winter of 1966, thus establishing them on the scene. They gigged constantly throughout much of the year and regularly toured remote parts of north-eastern Ontario and western Québec. During such a tour, their van cart-wheeled off the highway, while en route to a date in Maniwaki. They survived uninjured and told the tale the following week when they were interviewed on CJOH-TV’s Saturday Date. Being enterprising young men, they invested their earnings in their own Club 400, in Cornwall, Ontario, booking all the major touring acts from Ottawa and Montréal into it. By the time their Sir John A. single came out, the group was on the verge of splitting up. Gauthier had strained his vocal cords and couldn’t sing. As the band was booked solid for the next three months, they hired former Eyes Of Dawn frontman, Wayne McQuaid to take over the lead vocals. But the constant touring had taken its toll and dissension was rife. Gauthier had turned down several offers from a little known group called The In-Sect, but once The Naughty Boys’ commitments had been fulfilled, in April, he accepted and renamed them The Eastern Passage. CLICK HERE
The photo on the roof on Rideau St was on the roof of Freimans Dept Store. We snuck up a fire escape and the photographer that helped us trespass was an RCMP Officer who my sister was dating at the time!-I am the one that is holding on for dear life at the front with my fingers- I was about 16.
Skip Layton–Don Billows, who owned ‘The Oak Door’ on Bank St., managed this band.
Mac Beattie was the Ottawa Valley. And for almost everyone who knew him he will always be the personification of the area he loved. Even in death. Monday Beattie died in the Arn-prior Hospital having lost his five-month battle with cancer. Born at Braeside, near Arnprior, 65 years ago, Beattie spent more than 40 years celebrating his native valley in song and poetry, lie was one of the first artists to appear on national television when CTV first came into being, performing on Cross Canada Barn Dance out of CJOH.
He and his Mclodiers were frequent performers in the early days of radio station CFRA, founded by the late Frank Ryan, as well as on national radio out of Pembroke and on television’s Don Messer Show. When news of his death circulated around town it was obvious nothing else would be talked about, nothing was as important. In the Cameron Country Hotel the oldtimers had their Beattie stories to tell. “He wanted to give people a little bit of enjoyment,” Max Mooney said. “He was the Ottawa Valley, his father before him was a fine musician.
His father used to sit in this very bar room and when he’d play the bagpipes, we’d all rush to the door to sec who the band was.” Murray Dark of Belleveue Farms recalls “hundreds of dances with Mac in Pukenham and at Sunny-dale Acres in Lake Dore where Mac found his inspiration for the Lake Dore Waltz. “Mac and the Melodiers used to drop in at my place every time they came by,” says Jim Reid, owner of what was then Reid’s Fine Foods. “My wife played the piano and they sometimes set up the band for a little bit.” “He was a hell of a hockey player; a goaltender,” Mooney remembers. “He played Junior hockey for years three of the Major Leagues were after him.” But music and the valley kept Mac.
He married Marie McMunn, raised his three children in Arnprior, and daughter Bonnie began to sing with her father’s band at a young age. A year ago, some 400 people attended a testimonial dinner for Beattie at Renfrew Armory, when he was presented with a plaque on behalf of Premier William Davis for his outstanding contribution to country music in the Ottawa Valley. He recorded nine albums, mostly of his own music, and published a book of poetry in the ’60s. He leaves 80 poems, which will be published, and at the time of his death was writing some of the history of the Valley, with particular attention to the lumbermen who worked the Ottawa River. His most successful song was The Logdrivers’ Song. 5 June 1982
John MacNab Beattie (Mac) was born where the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers converge at the town of Arnprior, Ontario, in the year 1916. His father, Jim, was away at war in Europe and would not see him until it was ended. When Jim Beattie returned home the family moved a few miles upstream to the village of Braeside where he would take a job with the Gillies Lumber Company.
Jim Beattie, a harmonica and bugle player, ventriloquist and jokester, would spend his winters in the shanty camps of the Gatineau Hills in Pontiac County, Quebec. It was at these camps that Jimmie would hear the songs and stories of shantymen from all over the valley. They’d sing Irish songs, Scottish songs, French songs and songs of the shanty life. They’d dance the reels and entertain themselves to pass the monotony of daily life in the winter camps.
When Jimmie came home each spring, he’d bring back those songs and stories that would fascinate his family. It was in this atmosphere that Mac grew up. It was in this folklore of the valley that he would dedicate his life. His love of the stories, the lives of the people, of the gentle times, the hard times, it all hit home by the time he was a teen-ager. Mac Beattie utilized these spiritual forces to forge ahead during those very interesting times.
Listening to Mac Beattie’s lyrics now, you could not fail to notice his frequent mention of the people and places of the Ottawa Valley. You would also probably notice the strange way he used his voice to enunciate his words, the old-style inflections he utilized in his poetic ballads. I have not heard anyone else sing like this, and even now in the Valley with its distinct Irish/Scotts accent, Mac’s accent remains unique.
Mac Beattie never played a melodic instrument other than a bit of harmonica. Instead, he chose the washboard to accompany his songs. Along with friends Gaetan Fairfield and Garnie Scheel, he formed a band called the Melodiers in the early 1930s to mimic the sounds of the big dance bands of that era.
It is probably because his songs were either learned or composed without the accompaniment of a melodic instrument that Mac’s vocal patterns remained in theold traditional style. He didn’t have a wonderful voice, but what he had he used well. He sang a cappella, using the syllables of words in the traditional way of Celtic melodies. He’d teach these songs to his friends who would then work out arrangements to fit around his singing style.
In time, Mac Beattie would go on to become Mr. Ottawa Valley with his Melodiers, riding the ups and downs of the music business for over 5 decades. During that time he would be heard and seen on national television and radio; he would associate his show with step-dancing great Don Gilchrist; he would make lifelong friends with important cultural leaders of both sides of the Ottawa River. And lastly, he would be inducted into the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame as its second inductee (at Mac’s insistance, his late fiddler, Reg Hill, received the honour of being the first to be inducted). He would also leave us with 90 tracks of music spanning 9 LPs recorded between the years of 1960 to 1975.
And Now there is great news! Peter Beattie has just released The Best of Mac Beattie and the Ottawas Valley Melodiers CD – this means that you can now purchase Mac’s wonderful music for the first time in years. Contact Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org Read —Mac Beattieand the Ottawa Valley Melodiers __ CLICK
I found this newspaper clipping about Sally, and she sounded like someone everyone would love and after doing some research came up with some more information– so yes Sally needed to be documented.
I am a former neighbour of hers and she was always kind to me and my family. My fondest memories are chatting to her when she was walking her beloved Mimi.
January 14, 2006 | Carleton Place
COWARD, Sally It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Sally Coward on Thursday, January 12, 2006 at the age of 89. Beloved wife of the late David Coward. Loving mother of Susan Hull and cherished grandmother of Corinna Hull and Chris Hull. Sally will be sadly missed by many. Sincere thanks to the staff of Sarsfield Colonial Home for their care and support.