So Old It’s New all-Canadian set list, in advance of Canada Day, for Monday, June 28/21. On air 8-10 pm ET

  • Teenage Head, Disgusteen . . . I’ve played it long ago, just love it and a perfect opener with the “Nice day for a party, isn’t it?’ line to kick off the song. Plus, of course, the Exorcist takeoff later on. I saw the original band at a college concert way back when.
  • Rush, Here Again . . . early, bluesy Rush from the debut album, with the late John Rutsey on drums, before Neil Peart arrived and the band started moving in a more progressive rock direction, musically and lyrically.
  • Stampeders, Playin’ In The Band . . . This ‘only’ made No. 23 in Canada among the many great Stampeders’ singles, but it’s perhaps my favorite of their songs.
  • Danko Jones, Bounce . . . Kick-butt rocker, an early tune of his and remains my favorite, perhaps because I don’t know his entire output, not a major fan but what I’ve heard I like.
  • Trooper, The Boys In The Bright White Sports Car . . . Interesting, this one. It was originally on Trooper’s Two For The Show album in 1976 but didn’t become a big hit until three years later, when it was re-released as the opening cut of the ubiquitous Hot Shots compilation.
  • Headstones, Judy . . . Another great raunch and roller from the outstanding debut and arguably still best album, Picture of Health. For my sister Judy. No, not really although I think of her every time I listen to it, simply due to the title, not necessarily any lyrics.
  • Junkhouse, Jesus Sings The Blues . . . I’m not going to repeat my usual lines about Junkhouse, how much I like the band, how much I admire leader Tom Wilson as an artist and have followed him everywhere – solo, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Lee Harvey Osmond. Or how, after Junkhouse reunited a few years back to play the Kitchener Blues Festival, I ran into and had a nice chat with Wilson as we both waited in line the next morning to buy a coffee at a local joint.
  • Chilliwack, 148 Heavy . . . It’s about a flight from Vancouver to Toronto, always liked this tune, a reference to an aviation term describing maximum takeoff weight assigned to an aircraft, and among my favorites by the band. They didn’t play it – it’s relatively obscure from the Breakdown In Paradise album in 1979 – during a terrific set that brought the house down at a recent Kitchener Blues Festival.
  • Murray McLauchlan, Out Past The Timberline . . . Evocative lyrics from one of Canada’s master singer-songwriters. I just love this tune, it IS Canada, really, or at least part of it. I always get sort of emotional listening to it, dunno, I just do.
  • BB Gabor, Big Yellow Taxi . . . What to me represents a great cover from the late great Gabor, a reinvention rather than just a pretty much note-for-note copy. And it leads into the next tune, Joni, doing Joni.
  • Joni Mitchell, This Flight Tonight . . . From the classic Blue album. Nazareth, of course, turned this into a big hit with their rocked-up version which then prompted Mitchell to introduce it when she played it at her concerts as “a Nazareth song.” I like her original version, too.
  • The Guess Who, Proper Stranger…One of the, to me, great Guess Who deep cuts, from the American Woman album. I often feel like I’m trotting along atop a horse, given the pace of the tune.
  • Sass Jordan, Ugly . . . A nice, dirty, raunchy track from the Rats album. She’s so great, Sass, saw her on the SARS bill in 2003 along with the many acts that opened for The Rolling Stones that day. I was reading up on her where she said she was always much more influenced by great male blues/rock singers like Free/Bad Co’s Paul Rodgers than she was by female singers, and she shows those qualities here. I remember at one point in the Van Halen saga, after Sammy Hagar left for the second time, there was some talk or speculation of maybe wishful thinking from people thinking she would be a great lead vocalist for the band. Would have been interesting for sure and certainly likely would have worked better than the ill-fated Gary Cherone period. I just discovered she’s got a blues covers album out, called Rebel Moon Blues. It’s great, available on YouTube and worth checking out.
  • Colin James, Hide . . . Funky, up-tempo track from the Fuse album.
  • David Wilcox, Bump Up Ahead . . . Wilcox is pretty consistent, I doubt there’s a tune of his I don’t like and he’s now been around a long time. I won’t tell you in an on purpose run-on sentence about the time he played the bar I worked in during college, you know, regular readers, when he came in, I was at the door, and he asked me where the bands played and at first I thought he was a customer but he told me he was there for the sound check and later, with his trio highlighted only by a white spotlight unlike the cover bands with their often ridiculous stage setups, blew the roof off the place.
  • Doug And The Slugs, Thunder Makes The Noise . . . Yet another great tune from the Cognac and Bologna album, their first (and to me best) release, 1980. And I won’t tell you my usual story about seeing them at that same bar in Oakville, Ontario (I was off duty) with my then-girlfriend who had come to love the band when she discovered them while in Vancouver for a year, so we went. And I became a fan.
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive, I Think You Better Slow Down/Slow Down Boogie . . . Nearly 10 minutes of raunch from the debut album sessions that wasn’t officially released until much later, on the BTO Anthology 2-CD compilation.
  • Bruce Cockburn, What About The Bond . . . One of my favorites from the excellent Humans album, 1980.
  • Neil Young, Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown . . . Up-tempo tune, musically at least, from the downbeat, dark Tonight’s The Night album. Recorded live at the Fillmore, New York, in 1970 and released five years later on the otherwise all-studio album.
  • The Tea Party, Paint It Black . . . I’ll always find a way to get a Stones’ tune in, hee hee, no matter what the possible limitations of any themed show I might be doing are. Nice cover of a great band, by a pretty decent band.
  • Streetheart, Tin Soldier . . . Streetheart’s version of the Small Faces tune, released on the Drugstore Dancer album in 1980. Actually, at the time, prompted me to dig back into the Small Faces.
  • April Wine, Silver Dollar . . . Among my favorite April Wine songs, dark, menacing. From First Glance, the first album of theirs aside from compilations that I actually bought, mostly for the hot single at the time, Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game, but it’s track for track an excellent album.
  • Alannah Myles, Rockinghorse . . . Title cut and, for my money, easily the best song on her second album, a good one. But this wasn’t one of the, count ’em, five singles released from the record.
  • The Tragically Hip, Yawning Or Snarling . . . A brooding, hypnotic track from one of my favorite Hip albums, the darker (for them) Day For Night, 1994.
  • Martha and The Muffins/M + M, Danseparc (Every Day It’s Tomorrow) . . . This was a relatively successful single, No. 31 on Canadian charts and while I rarely or try not to play singles on what’s supposed to be a deep cuts show, 30-plus years later it’s probably a deep cut and, by now, fits into my show’s title – So Old It’s New. Just love the vibe, the instrumentation, all of it. From the period of time when the band went by the M + M name.
  • Steppenwolf, The Pusher . . . I suppose Steppenwolf, formed in Los Angeles, is more properly a Canadian-American band but, they did originate from the remnants of the Canadian band The Sparrows, from which Steppenwolf founders John Kay, Jerry Edmonton and Goldy McJohn came. A well-known Steppenwolf tune, the first of two penned by Hoyt Axton (the other being Snowblind Friend) that Steppenwolf popularized further. Axton’s originals are terrific, too. You don’t tend to hear The Pusher on radio much though, perhaps due to the subject matter and it wasn’t one of the singles from the debut album. I remember when it came out, I was 9 and I remember my friends and I marvelling at the fact they said ‘god damn” in a song. That was somewhat ‘way out there’ back then, at least to our young, impressionable ears.
  • The Band, (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes . . . But, I must hang it up for another week, with this cover, from the Rock Of Ages live album, of a tune written by 1950s rock and rhythm and blues artist Chuck Willis, taken at the peak of his career at age 32. Perhaps best known for his No. 1 on the R &B charts hit version of C.C. Rider, Willis, a heavy drinker who suffered from stomach ulcers, died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdomen, during surgery in 1958.

 

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