Thursday, December 20, 2007

One Of The Great Ones Leaves Us For Higher Ground

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear friends,
Dan left us this morning at 6:00am . He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity, and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.
It's taken a couple days now since I first heard the news for the awful finality of it to really kick in and hit me fully. What really did it was putting Netherlands on the turntable last night and realizing that not only was it a work of art so close to perfect that no mere mortal could have created those melodies and wrote those words without backing from a higher power, but that even now, after not having played it for years, that I still know every word, every melody, every nuance from the first piano notes of Netherlands to the final chords of False Faces.
I've been to a lot of concerts in my life. Some great ones and some not so memorable, but I remember the first time I saw Dan Fogelberg and I remember it like it was yesteday. It was 1974 and myself and my buddy David were at Grand Valley's Field House for the final night of the Eagles "On the Border" tour. We were up front, as was usually the case in those days, and although my memory is not 100% I seem to recall Glen Frey coming out to announce that they'd brought a friend of their's to open the show for them, a guy named Dan Fogelberg. Well, we were there to see the Eagles, had never heard of this Dan guy, but when Dan walked out on stage with just his guitar and a chair to sit on we gave him our full attention and over the next hour we were blown away by this one guy and one guitar. What a voice, what songs......the next day I went out to the record store and bought Dan's first album and proceeded to play it until it was burned into my being.
That was 1974. Just 3 years later he gave us his 4th album, Netherlands. By then he was well known all over the planet for his music and words. He continued to make albums thru the 80's and although they continued to be high quality offerings they explored other musical areas and were less "spiritual" then Netherlands and 1981's "The Innocent Age". I"m ashamed to say that I don't recall exactly when I saw him the second time but it was in Grand Rapids and it was just him, several guitars and a piano. I brought my wife this time, not a buddy, so I'd say mid 80's would be a safe guess. I do recall vividly though the 3rd and last time I saw him. It was 2003, in South Bend, Indiana at the Morris Civic center. A place I've seen a number of concerts over the years. This time It was the 30 year anniversary tour and Dan was touring with a full band. A real Treat because I finally got to hear him do tunes that I'd sung along with for years. He was enjoying himself and even let loose enough to do some great rock n roll along with the beautiful ballads. We didn't know it at the time of course, but that was going to be Dan's last tour and looking back now I'm damn glad we made the drive to South Bend. Not long after that tour he was diagnosed with advance Prostrate cancer and although he battled for several years ultimately the cancer won and this past Sunday, the 16th of December, 2007 Dan passed away and one of the most beautiful voices I ever heard will be heard no more.
I could ramble on with more stories, but I think I'd rather put on the headphones and listen to Netherlands one more time before I call it a day. If you're so inclined to do such things you can visit the living legacy website
and light a candle for Dan, or just visit and read the notes that people all over the world have left to honor his memory. If you tend to get emotional some kleenex near by might not be a bad idea. I don't know if Dan realized fully while he was here the effect his songs had on people and the power those songs had to heal souls, but I'm pretty sure that from where he's sitting now, he does.
"And the Chords struck at birth
Grow more distant
Yet, we strike them again and again.
And we plead and we pray
For a glimmer of day
As the night folds it's wings
And decends...
Exposing the loose ends".
Thanks for the moments of peace Daniel.
I'm including this article because it's the only one I've read this week that made me smile. I'll be racing that guy to the stage should our fantasy ever come to life......
Fogelberg's death a loss to entire generation
Loss of folk/rock singer and songwriter reminds columnist of mortality
Date published: 12/20/2007
It's not quite the same as losing Elvis or even, for that matter, John Lennon. But my sense of immortality flagged a bit this week when I read about the death of Dan Fogelberg, a songwriter and folk/rock singer who was a favorite of mine.The fact that he was only 56--not that much older than my 51--accentuated the loss of the "Power of Gold" and "Leader of the Band" writer to prostate cancer.
Yes, people in my generation have lost our share of favorite performers through the years. To be sure, Lennon, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Croce, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughn and scads of other performers loved by us baby boomers have gone by the wayside. But most of them went either from their own excesses, in accidents or had their brilliant careers snuffed out by a killer. Somehow, having a favorite performer from your high school and college years succumb to prostate cancer pretty sharply undercuts the irreverent and immortal essence of rock 'n' roll.
While some see Fogelberg as a soft-rocker best known for tunes that play in malls and elevators, I have a stack of CDs with tunes that both rock and relate the wonders of life and love. My first thought on hearing he had lost his long battle with cancer was remembering Fogelberg at a concert at Paramount's Kings Dominion. That made me smile, because I attended the concert with a buddy who also enjoyed Fogelberg's range of music, from rock to jazz to country. My pal and I hadn't thought a lot about who'd be at the concert; we were just glad to have the chance to see him at a nearby venue. That evening featured Fogelberg alone, alternating between a guitar and keyboards. I remember leaving with the thought that I had just seen someone who truly understood using music and words to tell a story and evoking emotion. From "Longer" to "Dancing Shoes" to "Missing You" to "Rhythm of the Rain" and so many more tunes I'll listen to for years, he had a unique style and voice that used soft tones and harmonic melodies to reel listeners in.
While the loss of Fogelberg has made me accept the fact that this will occur more and more as the years go by, I'm not giving up on another rock 'n' roll connection. It's the fantasy, surely shared by many jackleg musicians, where I'm at a concert for say, oh, the Dave Matthews Band. Suddenly, an announcement's made about how the drummer has sprained his ankle and can't go on. "Anyone out there who could fill in for him, get instantly famous and make a million bucks, please run up here right away," says the announcer. Even when I'm 80, I'm not giving up on that one.
I'll still be out there with my sticks in my back pocket, and my feet tapping--even if they never call on me.
Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415 Email:

Dan Singing "Leader of the Band"

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Digitized from the original vinyl, released in 1972 on Elektra Records.
Produced by Paul A. Rothchild for the Dragon Musical Alliance Inc.
Engineered By: Fritz Richmond
Recorded and Mastered At: Elektra sound Recorders, Los Angeles, California
Cover Art: Rick Rodrigues
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate - 320 Kbps
I Can't Get Thru To You
For A Breath
Home Again
Rollin' Up My Mind
Barking At The Ants
James Cahoon Lindsay - Vocals, Percussion
John Desautels - Drums
David Hanson - Guitars, Vocals
Bill Rhodes - Bass
Wayne Cook - Keyboards
I Couldn't find a thing out there about the band.........
By Yours Truly
This is a great, if not a tiny bit dated rock & roll record. I played this one to death back in the day because like most excellent albums it had it's own vibe that made it hard to take it off the turntable. This band only put out this one album, as far as I've been able to find out and that's a damn shame because they came right out of the box with guns blazing and if they'd stuck around for a couple more albums I'd be willing to bet that there'd be alot more info available on the net about these guys. All the tunes on this disc are enjoyable with the chunky guitars and big hammond organ sound but the centerpiece and the one tune that got airplay back then is P.O.W. (prisoner of war). When you keep in mind that this album came out about the same time the Vietnam war was ending for us, it made a powerful statement. I Can't really compare them to anyone else out there at the time.....they had their own sound but if you love great rock and roll from that era then it shouldn't be much of a stretch to welcome this 8 tune set into your home and heart. And like the Baby Grand album just below here....this one was made to be played loud and absorbed thru all the sensory outputs you possess.
READ THIS for more information on this album.


Digitized from the original vinyl, released in 1978 on Arista records.
Produced by Rick Chertoff & Rob Hyman, An Alchemy Production
Recorded and Mixed At Sound Mixers, New York City
Engineered by William Wittman & Tim Bomba
Front Cover Artwork by Matthew Klein
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate - 320 Kbps
All Night Long
Much Too Much
Weekend In New Jersey
Runner In The Rain
Walk Away Renee
Right Here, Right Now
Flame In The Wind
It’s Not A Figure Salon
David Kagan – Lead Vocals
Rob Hyman – Keyboards, Harmonies
Eric Bazilian – Guitar, Harmonies
Carmine Rojas – Bass
David Prater – Drums
By Yours Truly

Well, I bought this cuz of the record cover. I mean is that cool or what. I figured if they had spent that much effort on the cover than it made sense that they’d spend at least as much energy on the music inside and within seconds of putting the album on the turntable for the first playing, I realized I was right. This album has a definite sound and feel to it and it rocks. Great Drumming, lots of great keyboard work and some awesome guitar. Among the 8 tunes is a great cover of Walk Away Renee, the old Left Banke tune. The fact that this work of art got over looked in the late 70’s isn’t a big surprise. Loads of great albums got left by the wayside as “tastes” changed and other styles of music found public favor as the latest fad. Ancient Medicine was Baby Grand’s second and final effort but that’s not to say it’s members gave up, they adapted to the times and came back with a new band for the ‘80’s called the Hooters who were quite good also, albeit quite different from Baby Grand’s groove. I consider this record a lost classic of Rock & Roll. Made to be played loud and absorbed thru all the sensory outputs you possess.
READ THIS for more information on this album.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Digitized from the original vinyl, released in 1972 on Epic records.
Produced, Arranged and Performed entirely by Space Opera
Recorded At: Manta Sound, Toronto, Ontario
Engineered By: Lee DeCarlo, Rick Capreol
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate - 320 Kbps
County Max
Holy River
Guitar Suite
My Telephone Artist (Has Come And Gone)
Prelude No. 4
Blue Ridge Mountains
Over And Over
Brett Wilson - Drums, Percussion
Philip White - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Scott Fraser - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
David Bullock - Guitar, Flute, Harmonica, Vocals
Blast off with one of the true cult classic albums of the '70s! After woodshedding in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area during the '60s (and recording with high school buddy T-Bone Burnett), Scott Fraser, David Bullock, Phil White and Brett Wilson landed as Space Opera in New York, where the already-legendary Clive Davis offered to sign them on Columbia. Much to the music biz's amazement, they turned him down, opting for more creative control by signing with Epic's Canadian arm, for whom they recorded this excellent but little-promoted album in 1972. An inspired blend of Frank Zappa, the Band, Steely Dan and especially the Byrds, this record is still talked about in hushed tones by 12-string guitarists, as Scott Fraser's unique tuning technique (each string-pair is tuned to 5ths instead of octaves) resulted in a truly monumental sound. Add to that their ample harmonies, and you can hear why Space Opera is considered by some to be the Byrds' natural heirs, or at least their prog-rock cousins! Includes 'Country Max; Holy River; Outlines; Guitar Suite; My Telephone Artist (Has Come and Gone); RIddle; Prelude No. 4; Lookout; Blue Ridge Mountain', and 'Over and Over'.
The criminally underexposed Space Opera were anything but progressive rock, contrary to the “12-String Prog Rock!” sticker on the outside of this three-year-old reissue Good New Music is bending the rules to review.The Texas quartet did have a spacey edge to their country-rock-classical-jazz mix, though, and multitracked electric 12-string guitars were a major part of it. They were cosmic cowboys in a truer sense than, say, Michael Murphey or New Riders of the Purple Sage.How their eponymous release flew under most people’s radar in 1973 is a mystery. The music is so good it doesn’t just vibrate the tympanic membrane, it envelops the listener in an electro-acoustic bubble that renders its happy passenger weightless and drifts off into the ether.The band had an integrity possessed by few: Never compromising in pursuit of their muse, they turned down Clive Davis and signed with Epic’s Canadian division to retain creative control. It’s as if the members were born to make this album, and everything in life up to that point was secondary. For an idea of what level they were operating at, imagine a parallel-universe Byrds that took “Eight Miles High” as a starting point and ran with it.
READ THIS for more information on this album.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Released on CD in 2001 on S.O. records.
Format: Mp3
Bitrate: 320kbps
Executive Producer: Brett Owen Wilson
Produced, Arranged and Performed entirely by Space Opera
Recorded At: Eagle Audio, Ft. Worth, Texas
Engineered By: Jeff Ward, assisted by Jerry Hudson
Graphic Design: Scott Fraser
Photography: Mary Fraser
Awake Verse 1
Vieux Carre
Stolen Ground
Awake Verse 2
Mother Nature and Father Time
Awake Verse 3
Who's Calling?
Awake Verse 4
Still Life
Brett Wilson - Drums, Percussion
Philip White - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Scott Fraser - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
David Bullock - Guitar, Flute, Harmonica, Vocals
Assisted by:
Jeff Ward - Keyboards
Jon Shipley - Woodwinds
29 years is a long time to wait for anything, even if you don't realize you're waiting. Up until a couple weeks ago I thought that Space Opera's entire discography consisted of one album released in 1972. Until 2001 that was exactly the case but it took me awhile to catch up with history.
I would've been estatic if this new Album sounded completely like the first one, with different tunes, but although there are certainly similiarities between the two releases this new one has some twists to it that makes it more than a clone of the first one. I've been playing it a bunch the last couple weeks but haven't been able yet to pick out a "favorite" tune. For right now the album is one long, flowing piece of work. I'm not sure if that was the intention or not, but that's my perception.
The two cuts I've listed here for mp3 downloads are representative of the whole album, but I will say now that if you haven't heard the first Space Opera album yet than I'd suggest downloading that one first and spending some time with it to get the vibe of the album. Then come back and download these two tunes to get a taste of what 29 years can do to a band.
On a sad note since this 2001 version of Space Opera was released two of the four members of the band have passed on to a higher musical plane. Because of that reality chances of a 3rd Space Opera album are probably nil. Right now I plan to enjoy the ones we have and be thankful that these boys came back after 29 years to do one more.
READ THIS for more information on this album.


Digitized from the original vinyl recording released in 1984 on Mercury / Polygram records.
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate: 320 kbps.
Produced By: Ian ThomasRecorded at Phase I & Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto.
Engineered by: Alan Thorne & Mick Walsh
Album Jacket Design: Bob Defrin & Sandi Young
Cover Photography: Frank Moscati
Picking Up The Pieces
Do You Right
The Crossing
She Don't Love You
Roll The Dice
Your Love Heals
Riders On Dark Horses
Lead & Background Vocals: Ian Thomas
Acoustic & Rhythm Guitars: Ian Thomas
Bass & Background Vocals: Dave Sawyer
Bass (Just Like You, Faces, Tinkerbell & Tycoon): Steve Hogg
Drums & Background Vocals: Mike Oberle
Lead Guitar: Dave Cooper
Lead Guitar (Just Like You, Clear Sailing, Faces, Tinkerbell & Tycoon): Josh Onderisin
Keyboards & Background Vocals: Hugh Syme
Electric Guitar (I Really Love You): Rick Doyle
String Arrangements: Milan Kymlicka
Ian Thomas, the son of a Welsh philosophy professor at McMaster University and a Scottish mother, was born on July 23, 1950 in Hamilton. His brother Dave is an actor, famous for his Second City and Strange Brew movie character, Doug McKenzie. At the age of six, Ian was taking piano lessons, and at thirteen he took up guitar. A year later, he began writing songs.Ian’s pop music career didn’t begin with the typical teenage garage band beating out Chuck Berry chords. Instead, he studied conservatory piano, orchestra technique and arrangement.
Still in his teens, he arranged music for the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony.“It’s exciting hearing something you wrote come to life in the hands of an orchestra. I’d always liked classical music but, at the same time, I was getting interested in folk and rock music.”In 1966, he joined Nora Hutchinson in a folk duo, which expanded into the trio Ian, Oliver and Nora, and eventually became a five-piece rock band. In 1969 RCA Records signed the group and one executive labelled them Tranquillity Base because the U.S. moon landings were in the headlines during the period.“The evolution from my being an arranger and folk singer to being in a rock band was direct,” Ian says. “I became frustrated with the limitations of soloing, that I couldn’t make my acoustic guitar scream if that’s what I felt the song needed.”Tranquillity Base made an impressive debut with the single, “If You’re Lookin’,” written by Ian, but within two year’s time after signing, the group would be no more. Explains Ian, “After the single we returned to the studio to cut an album and a follow-up single (“In the Rain”), but RCA only had eight tracks in those days. We just couldn’t seem to reproduce the sound we were achieving with our live performances.” The album was never released and the group died a slow death in 1971, following a year-long stint as the house-band for the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.“As groups without singles tend to do, we had gravitated toward playing night clubs. Personality conflicts developed in the group. I left, my wife was pregnant, I was unemployed and had no idea of what to do next.”After chalking up television production credits for CTV’s, Barbara McNair Show, The Ian Tyson Show and CBC-TV’s, Music Machine, Ian found full-time work at CBC Radio in Toronto where he began as the producer of studio tracks for Ivan Romanoff’s, European Holiday program. He also produced the corporation’s first rock music program, The National Rock Marks.At the same time, he recorded artists for CBC Radio programs and transcription recordings which served as demos for talented artists who couldn’t afford the prohibitive costs of Toronto’s major studio facilities.“Unknown groups had an opportunity to audition and cut four or five songs for broadcast on the CBC,” says Ian. “It was an excellent experience for them and several got recording contracts as a result. I arranged and produced sessions for rock, folk and country artists and groups.”
For Ian, evaluating the work of other artists taught him to look at his own work more objectively, resulting in a new flurry of creativity and ultimately led him to signing with GRT Records in 1973 and recording the self-titled album, Ian Thomas. It yielded two hit singles, “Painted Ladies” and “Come the Son,” and was produced by John Lombardo.It was no secret that “Painted Ladies,” a nice little rocker, was one of the biggest hits of late 1973 and early 1974. Hearing that song over and over, a piece of clockwork confection, the song lodged in the minds of thousands, and on every chart in North America.His success however, was so complete and so swift, earning him a 1974 Juno for Most Promising Male Vocalist, that it overwhelmed even him.“ “Painted Ladies” was a good ice-breaker,” Ian recalls. “The only problem was that everyone wanted to hear more of the same, and by the time it was released (which was a year after it was recorded), I’d already compositionally evolved past that. I’d outgrown that stage in my musical development. I had evolved dramatically in my musical thinking, yet the crowds continued to clamour for “Painted Ladies.” ”“As a result, I quickly lost my young Top 40 following and it took a long time to attract an audience that appreciated both lyric and musical content. It took me two years of dogging the song to finally get accepted as being able to say more than ‘oohooh, feelin’ fine mama’.”Incidentally, he quit his CBC producer job only prior to his trip in 1974 to Britain to record his second album Long, Long Way with Adam Mitchell producing at London’s Trident Studios. “The record company suggested I get a band together. I wanted to make sure it would be financially reasonable because I was comfortably off. I had a solid salary, a decent house, wife and kids, and I was doing something which was fun and dandy financially.”After his enormous international success with “Painted Ladies” he could have just kept grinding out a proven formula or produced a new album as an extension of that hit. He nixed that idea and over the next few years Ian’s albums and song titles started displaying overt hints that he was a major songwriting force.The title track from Long, Long Way is five minutes of excellence, following “Painted Ladies” into the top 10 in many areas of Canada. “Mother Earth” also succeeded as a single in the early part of 1975. That same year, Ian self-produced his next album, Delights. While it was more of a transitional LP, it did have its finer moments in songs like “Captured in Your Dreams,” “Julie ” and “The Good Life.”But it would be Calabash, released under the Ian Thomas Band moniker in 1976, that gained some serious attention.
The album had every ingredient needed to please critics everywhere. It rocked with “Liars” (the first hit single taken from the LP), got sentimental with “See Us When You Can” and “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash,” and added the haunting lyrics of “Mary Jane.” Calabash also contained a second Canadian hit in “Right Before Your Eyes.” America took note and placed a recording of their own in the U.S. top 50 in 1983.Clearly, the pressure was on following the huge success of Calabash. After a couple of changes in band members, the Still Here album arrived in 1978. Ian’s superb production can be heard on every track. From the eerie opening track, “Just Like You,” through “Sally” and the west coast hit of “I Really Love You,” onto the hit single of “Coming Home” and more sentimentality with “Tinkerbell,” Still Here doesn’t let up for a moment. It came very close to topping the appeal of Calabash. Supporting Still Here in night clubs also cemented the Ian Thomas Band’s reputation as a top notch live act.With the exception of a slight disco feel to the hits, “Pilot” and “Time is the Keeper,” the band’s sound remained much the same with 1979’s, Glider album. And like with Still Here, side 2 of the LP was aimed at more of an album rock audience, with the songs “Beast of Phobia,” “Nero’s Spell” and “Voices of the Children.” Wrote Toronto Globe and Mail’s Alan Niester in 1979, “Glider is something of a rarity among albums by a Canadian artist. It is music with an intelligent, thought-provoking theme running throughout.”Unfortunately, when the seventies expired, so did GRT Records, leaving Ian to look elsewhere.
It didn’t take long for Anthem Records (owned by the members of Rush), to sign the talented Hamiltonian, and the label started the ball rolling by releasing The Best of Ian Thomas in 1980, which contained a new single, “Tear Down the Wall.”In the meantime, Ian dropped the ‘Band’ title, made a couple more adjustments in his selection of studio musicians and brought back John Lombardo to help with the production of his next album. The Runner did not disappoint.“If I was absolutely obsessed with making it,” he says, “I’d move to Los Angeles. But I don’t like L.A. I think people like Gordon Lightfoot and even Ted Nugent have been able to make it from a so-called ‘remote’ setting. Your work is on the road. Obviously, I’d like to crack the international market and, perhaps, that’s why I’m taking a little more time in writing. Anthem really believes in me and I’m really happy with this new album.”More consistent and arresting than anything he’s done before, the 1981 album is a joyous celebration by a gifted craftsman. And even though it was a full-fledged rock album, songs on the LP gained a lot of attention. Ian had minor hits in Canada with “Hold On” and “Chains,” but Santana had even better luck, taking “Hold On” to number 15 in the U.S. in 1982. Chicago borrowed “Chains” and included it on their multi-platinum LP, Chicago 16. A couple years later, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band saw the sheer brilliance of The Runner’s title track, and turned it into a rock masterpiece and international hit.“The people I’ve met who are obsessed with making it,” he continues, “seem to come up short as human beings. As an artist I’d like to be known as myself, not as a phoney wad of theatrics. I’d like international success, but only on terms I can cope with.”
Before his next album, Ian teamed up with brother Dave in 1983 to record some music for the soundtrack of Dave’s movie venture, Strange Brew. Also featured in the recordings was Rick Moranis, the other half of the Bob & Doug McKenzie hoser team.Finally, in 1984, Ian released his next Anthem Records album. Riders On Dark Horses was another rock LP, with co-production credits going to Max Norman and Mick Ronson (guitarist with Mott the Hoople). It was a solid album throughout, with “Picking Up the Pieces” and the title track as highlights. Even brighter however, was the infectious radio-friendly single, “Do You Right” (and oddly enough it did not appear on 1995’s, Looking Back compilation).More outside help in the production department came for 1985’s, Add Water LP. It was a more accessible album, with songs like “Freedom of a Young Heart” (with Alfie Zappacosta on background vocals), “Harmony” and “Touch Me.” Fellow Anthem recording artist, Kim Mitchell, also made a guest appearance on electric guitar, but the album would be Ian’s last for Anthem Records.
Several years later, Ian landed at Warner Brothers Records. This time, he used a new set of musicians to record tracks in Britain and Canada. Christopher Neil, who had worked extensively with Mike + The Mechanics, helped produce a few songs on what turned out to be one of Ian’s very best albums. It was classic rock at its finest, and Levity became his first record to be made available on CD. The compact disc is now a highly sought-after collector’s item, and for good reason. The album contains excellent songwriting and musicianship in songs like “Levity,” “Losing Control,” “Back to Square One,” “Modern Man,” “All About Her” and “Let the Stone Roll.”Soon after, Ian also recorded a self-penned Christmas song. It was released for the 1989 holiday season, and was titled, “Because It’s Christmas.” Unfortunately, the track was made available only to radio stations on the Reveillon and Volume 29 promotional CDs.
Warner Brothers was soon looking for another full-length album, so in 1990, Ian was back to work in the studio. But after rehearsing new material with a band that now consisted of himself on vocals and guitar, Peter Cardinali on bass, Rick Gratton on drums and Bill Dillon also on guitar, jams were developing outside of the ‘solo artist’ concept. Songs were quickly turning into very much a group effort. Hence, The Boomers were born. What We Do was released to world-wide acclaim in 1991.It was a more laid-back effort, and gone were most of the rocking electric guitars and synthesizer enhancements. The Boomers forged a stripped-down sound and discovered huge followings in Canada and Germany, on the strength of songs like “The Matter With Me,” “Love You Too Much,” “I’m Alright,” “Wishes” and “Rise Above It.”A second Boomers CD, Art of Living, continued the love affair with fans in 1993. The title track, “You’ve Got to Know” (which earned a SOCAN award for the most-performed song of 1993), and a remake of “Modern Man” (originally from the Levity LP), quickly became favourites. Two other songs were also recorded by outside artists. “To Comfort You” soon showed up on Bette of Roses, the 1995 album from Bette Midler, and the following year, Anne Murray’s self-titled LP included her rendition of “Good Again.”The other members of The Boomers worked on side projects over the next few years, while Ian tried his hand at film scores, record production and a little bit of acting. He also saw his excellent Looking Back compilation CD released by Anthem Records. But The Boomers were all back at it for 1996’s, 25 Thousand Days, now on Alma Records (a label started by Cardinali in 1992). The title of the album approximates the average life span of a human being.Ian reflects, “Most of the songs on this record are about that journey, the 25000 days may only be part of it. Whether that is true or not, the quest remains the same. Most of us are looking for something we can hold to ourselves as truth. The truth is revealed in so many ways, but some people are satisfied with pat answers and perhaps end their search too soon.”The title track, “I Feel a Change Coming” and “Saving Face” continued in The Boomers tradition, with Cardinali now also helping out with production. Below the lyrics to each track in the CD booklet were comments from the band.Regarding “I Feel a Change Coming,” the band makes the following note about racism: “Isn’t it sad that as the world becomes a global village through media and communications, there are those amongst us that would have us revert back to more primitive times.” “Saving Face” received these thoughts: “I am fascinated by the concept of saving face. In politics a thin facade of lies can prevent a war.”
Political thoughts would find themselves on the next Boomers album as well, but not before a six year break, during which Ian had to deal with the death of his father. Midway was released in the fall of 2002, and closed with the song, “Politically Correct.” But philosophies of life and mortality would be even more prevalent. “I Want to Believe in Something,” “I Don’t Feel Particularly Old,” “Life Goes On” and “I Remember” all qualify.“I am always looking for a tighter way of saying things,” Ian says. “Sometimes the words can take as many as ten or twelve drafts. I don’t want to be repetitious. The concept of a song has to excite me before I can write and it’s not easy. It’s hard work, but it’s a great feeling when you’ve finished a song.”
After The Boomers saga came to a close, Ian met up with some old friends from the north land. Some reminiscing soon turned into a flurry of ideas, and before long rehearsals began for a new project. Along with Murray McLauchlan (“Down By the Henry Moore”), Marc Jordan (“Marina del Rey”) and Cindy Church, Ian released a live CD and DVD of a performance titled, Lunch at Allen’s, available through EMI Records. It’s very much an acoustic setting for the songs, with the DVD adding commentary and four extra live tracks.Ian co-wrote and produced a new group track, “Perfect World,” and sang lead on “Painted Ladies,” “To Comfort You,” “Life Goes On,” “Right Before Your Eyes” and “Rise Above It” (DVD only). The foursome toured Canada through 2004, 2005 and 2006, with more dates scheduled throughout 2007 and into 2008.During that time, Ian has also squeezed in a number of solo dates across Canada, performing songs that span 35 years of music. The fall of 2006 saw the release of his first novel, Bequest. In early 2007, a second Lunch at Allen's CD, Catch the Moon, was issued. It contained 12 studio tracks, including 2 new songs from Ian. “Walkin'” and “Grateful” serve as bookends to the album, which also boasts a new recording of “You've Got to Know.” And if all that wasn’t enough to keep the man busy in 2007, Ian and brother Dave toured Canada with their two-man stage show, Dave & Ian Thomas: Comedy and Music: What More Do You Want?Ian Thomas is a superb pop artist, a star of the first magnitude in Canada, with an uncommon melodic flair and lyrical sensitivity. Peter Goddard, music critic of the Toronto Star has described him as, “a fine craftsman-like songwriter.”Ian likes to call himself “an anti-star,” and lives quietly in the rural town of Winona, outside Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife Cathy. He says, “I’m still in business, still creative. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been allowed to do what I want to do.”
READ THIS for more information on this album.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

THE BOOMERS / 1991 to 2003

What We Do / 1991

Art Of Living / 1993

25 Thousand Days / 1996
2003 / Midway

This is a different kind of post this time. Instead of a particular album, I'm showcasing an entire discography of an excellent band. All 4 of these albums are simply full of great tunes and wonderful music. Ian Thomas, who has put out albums since the early 70's, is the quasi-leader of this entourage, writer of most of the songs and singer. The rest of the members of this Canadian band are also excellent musicians and the combined efforts of all 4 make some of the best music I've heard in quite awhile.
In lieu of album downloads this time I've included several videos that they've made over the years 91 thru 03. They will give you a good idea of what to expect from the CD's and if you decide you need to purchase a copy for yourself I suggest going to Ebay or Amazon and improving the quality of your music collection.


The Matter With Me / Love You Too Much / One Little Word / I'm Alright / Never Going To Let It Go / Wishes / When You're In Love / Rise Above It / Dirty Love.

TRACK LISTING for The Art Of Living:

Art Of Living / You've Got To Know / Things I Didn't Say / The Way You Feel / Good Again / Modern Man / Still In This Thing / When I Get Like This / Lie To Me / What Love Can Do / To Comfort You

TRACK LISTING for 25 Thousand Days:

I Feel A Change Coming / Giving In / Balloons / Saving Face / While I'm Learning You / The Way Of Things / The Truth / Stuck In Between / 25,000 Days / Old Diamond Ring


I Want To Believe In Something / Greedy Man / I Don't Feel Particulary Old / Life Goes On / Can I Love You Now / Imaginary Lines /Expectations / I Remember / Objectify Me / Politically Correct.


Ian Thomas – All Vocals, Electric And Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards & Programming
Peter Cardinali - Bass, Accordion, Electric Piano, Keys
Bill Dillon - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
Rick Gratton - Drums


VIDEO #1 - "Love You Too Much" from "What We Do"

VIDEO #2 - "You've Got To Know" from "The Art Of Living"

Video #3 - "I Feel A change Coming" from "25 Thousand Days"

Video #4 - "Saving Face" from "25 Thousand Days"

Video #5 - "I Want To Believe In Something" from "Midway"

....and last but certainly not least, a big thanks to Walknthbass and his Music Blog...

for making me aware that The Boomers contained the talents of Ian Thomas. Thank you sir!

Amazon Boomers Page -


Digitized from the original vinyl recording released in 1980 on RCA records.
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate: 192 kbps
Produced By: Ed Newmark
Recorded and Mixed At: Secret Sound Studios N.Y.C.
Take It To The Limit
The Old Man
You Can Come Home To Me
Between N.Y. & L.A.
Who Wrote The Answers
Reflections Of Myself
Just Like Everyone Else
Only For Tonight
Between N.Y. & L.A. (Reprise)
Frank Weber - Vocals, Piano, Fender Rhodes
Tim DeHuff - Guitar
Ron Teirno - Drums
Harvey Auger - Bass
Armen Halburian - Percussion
Frank Elmo - Saxophone
By Yours Truly
This is a superior effort in many ways, an ensemble piece from start to finish. It's a damn crime that this guy isn't still making records today but for all my searching he seems to have dropped off the face of the earth after this album, his second effort. The album starts off with an uptempo, jazzy version of the Eagles tune "take it to the Limit" and just gets better from there on out. These are obviously all very accomplished musicians and they play up a storm backing Franks tunes.
I'd be willing to bet that somewhere down the line some suit without a tune in his body said, hey, we've already got Billy Joel.......and because of that mindset another giant talent gets lost in the shuffle. What a shame. I hope you'll take the time to take a listen.

READ THIS for more information on this album.


Digitzed from the original vinyl recording released in 1977 on Capitol records.
Format: Mp3
Bit Rate: 192 kbps.
Produced By: Norton Buffalo (Executive Producer - Steve Miller)
Engineered By: Jim Gaines & Allen Sudduth
Recorded and Mixed At: Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, California
Lovin' In The Valley Of The Moon / One Kiss To Say Goodbye / Ghetto Hotel / Nobody Wants Me / Puerto De Azul / Hangin' Tree / Another Day / Rosalie / The Jig Is Up / Eighteen Wheels / Sea Of Key
All songs by Norton Buffalo
Norton Buffalo - Vocals, Harmonicas, percussion / Dave Sharpiro - Guitar, Mandolin / Fred Jones - Pedal Steel Guitar / Phil Richardson - Violin / Gary Creller - Bass / Kirk Harwood - Drums, Percussion / John McFee - Guitar, Violin, Electric Sitar, Pedal Steel Guitar / Byron Allred - Keyboards / David Ladd - Flute / John Ciambotti - Bass / Bob McFee - Bass / Sean Hopper - Upright Bass / Mickey Hart - Percussion
Norton Buffalo is regarded as one of the most versatile and talented harmonica players in the music business. In rock, R&B, and blues circles, as well as in new age, country, and jazz circles, he is widely acclaimed as the finest multi-genre harmonica player of our time.
In high school he began playing in rock and roll and soul bands as well as in the school symphonic band, marching band, jazz band and pep band on both trombone and harmonica. In his later school years he began listening to jazz day and night. Though he continued playing primarily in rock and roll bands his musical mistress was jazz. Norton was writing complex horn charts and having a ball fitting his harp into all types of off-beat musical arrangements and jazz-rock compositions. While in college in San Francisco, Norton was performing in bands as well as working a full time graveyard shift at a bank.
By 1972 Norton had decided to quit college and his job and devote his life to playing music. He migrated north to Sonoma, in the heart of California' wine country. Although he was still playing mostly rock and roll, he started expanding his musical horizons by getting into bluegrass, western swing and country music, all the while working on his songwriting skills and honing his vocal and harmonica chops.
Buffalo recorded several songs in 1973 with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and future Doobie Brother John McFee. In early 1975, with the idea of shopping these tapes, Buffalo moved to Los Angeles, and made a living playing talent contests, performing solo, and even acting in a play. After eight months he moved to back to the Valley of the Moon and soon after, started playing in an off-shoot of the Commander Cody Band, the Moonlighters. Later that year he started playing with Commander Cody, which led to an early 1976 tour of Europe and a live album from that tour entitled We've Got A Live One Here.
It was during this same time that Norton met Steve Miller during the recording of Fly Like An Eagle. Their musical friendship grew and after the release of that album, Norton joined Steve out on the road for his 1976 summer tour. In 1977 Buffalo released the first of two well-received solo albums for Capitol Records. His first, Lovin' in the Valley of the Moon, not only highlighted his skills on the harp, but also his talents as a songwriter, producer, and a powerful new talent. He continued to tour with Steve Miller that year, this time opening all of Miller's shows at arenas and stadiums around the country with his own group, The Stampede.
In early 1978 Norton went to Hollywood to act and play music in Bette Midler's successful screen debut, The Rose. The fall of that year brought the release of Buffalo's second outstanding Capitol LP, Desert Horizon, which featured some experimental electric harmonica as well as the celebrated Tower of Power horns.
In the early 80's Buffalo started a band with Mickey Hart and keyboardist Merl Saunders called High Noon, which performed throughout California for about a year and a half, including several shows with the Jerry Garcia Band and often featuring the stellar vocals of Joan Baez as a guest performer.
In 1987 Norton teamed up with legendary Bay Area slide guitar player Roy Rogers to form a powerful performing duet. The special magic between these two virtuosos was captured on two albums for Blind Pig Records. In 1991 they released the all-acoustic R&B. One of the tracks from that CD, "Song for Jessica," was honored with a Grammy Nomination as Best Country Instrumental Performance, and the video of another track, "Ain't No Bread In the Breadbox," got airplay on TNN. Downbeat said of the album, "All it takes is a sampling of the slide guitar/harmonica dialog on any one of these songs to comprehend how potent -and exciting -the chemistry is between Rogers and Buffalo."
The following year the pair released Travellin' Tracks, which included some live tracks as well as some studio tracks on which they were joined by a rhythm section. People magazine called the recording "an album with more bounce than a book of bad checks...a spirited mix of souped-up slide guitar and blustery blues harmonica."
The movie industry has also recognized Norton's special magnetism, resulting in several noteworthy film accomplishments. Norton has many movies to his credit, including his acting and musical role in The Rose, as well as a small part in Michael Cimino's epic western Heaven's Gate. Norton composed and produced all of the music for two feature films, Eddie Macon's Run starring Kirk Douglas and John Schneider, and Stacy's Knights, one of Kevin Costner's first films. Other films he contributed his harmonica mastery to include Dogpound Shuffle (with David Soul), Oliver Stone's The Doors (with Val Kilmer), 68 (featuring Neil Young).
Norton is no stranger to television either, with numerous TV performances down through the years with such notables as Bonnie Raitt, Steve Miller, America, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, Lacy J. Dalton, Kris Kristofferson, Roy Rogers, and Willie Dixon, even a guest appearance on Starsky & Hutch. As part of the Steve Miller Band he's appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno The Arsenio Hall Show, as well as The David Letterman Show. Buffalo and his band had a full hour special on Austin City Limits, and Norton was recently featured on a segment of San Francisco's Bay Area Backroads.
Other television work included writing the music scores for two episodes of Unsolved Mysteries and playing harmonica on several episodes for both The Twilight Zone and Unsolved Mysteries. In addition, his harmonica graces several Garfield and Peanuts cartoons. Norton also sang the first theme song for the "Garfield and Friends" cartoon series. In 1994 and 1995 Buffalo released two highly acclaimed instructional videos for the harmonica on Homespun Tapes.
At home in the Valley of the Moon, when he's not touring with Steve Miller or the Knockouts, Buffalo continues to stay involved with environmental causes, community programs, as well as bringing harmonica instruction and inspiration to many California state prisons.
READ THIS for more information on this album.