Every RPM Canadian Content #1 single discussion thread 1964-2000

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bunglejerry, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    After a November 1965 tour including stops in Sheboygan WI, Middleton IA and Mattoon IL, Bob Ashley decides he's had enough of the road and leaves the Guess Who in December. Which leaves an opening on keyboards (more on that on Thursday). In the meantime, there are a few gigs to fulfill in December which means there are some group photos which need to be cropped.

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    They got the wrong guy. They cut Gary Peterson from the picture. Ashley had left the group a couple of times before but later returned. The article on the right below is from one such occasion in 1964.

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    Here's a very rare publicity photo with just Chad, Randy, Jim and Gary, don't know when it was taken.

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    And what became of Bob Ashley?
    Post Guess Who: Bob Ashley ~ Burton Cummings ~ Chad Allan
     
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  2. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Thursday? No... Monday, right? That's what my notes tell me. I hope I'm not missing something. Because today we've got Bobby Kris, and the Guess Who have a single which never hit the top spot.
     
  3. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    24. WALK ON BY
    by BOBBY KRIS AND THE IMPERIALS
    #1 for 1 week: January 31, 1966




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    Dionne Warwick's original version of this Bacharach / David classic was released in April 1964. A year and a half, Toronto's Bobby Kris and the Imperials became one of a massive list of artists to cover it, a list that includes Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes, The Miracles, Stan Getz, We Five, the Jackson 5, Vanilla Fudge, the Average White Band, the Stranglers, Alicia Keys, Cyndi Lauper, Seal and Diana Krall.

    As befits a band labelled folk-rock and/or R&B (they went through several changes in their brief existence), the Imperials' version of this song is smooth and sophisticated - an impeccable cover of the sublime original. It seems that it was originally released as the b-side of the self-penned "Travellin' Bag" (note the Commonwealth spelling) - of which Youtube has no record.

    Bobby Kris and the Imperials put out only one other single a year later - a cover of Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" with a self-penned b-side, "A Year From Today". Again, the b-side is on Youtube but not the a-side, though we can guess what it might have sounded like since the waltz-time b-side is very much a moment of "folk-rock" politesse with an organ solo in the middle. Both singles came out on Columbia but only in Canada.

    As the band splintered, guitarist Gene Martynec became a name to keep an eye on: we'll see him again in 1968, when his next band, Kensington Market, hits number one on the CanCon Chart. And then he'll crop up from time to time as a producer of note, producing Edward Bear, Bruce Cockburn, Rough Trade, the Pukka Orchestra and others. You can also find many an avant-garde composition of more recent vintage bearing his name.

    ON THE PAGES OF RPM: I noticed that the last page of the January 31 RPM advertised an album rather grandly described as "the best Canadian jazz LP of all time." Oscar Peterson? Nope. It is, in fact, Stompin' at the Penny by Jim McHarg's Metro Stompers, a rather obscure entity who would show up in 1967 to perform an instrumental version of "Canada", a song we'll hear plenty of pretty darn soon. Youtube has only one album of theirs (not this one), and it's decent if outré Dixieland stuff. An interesting thing about the advertised album, though, is that the cover describes it as "featuring Lonnie Johnson". And it turns out, if you didn't know (I didn't), that blues legend Lonnie Johnson, whose recording career dates back to 1925, spent the final years of his life in Toronto, where he opened a blues club in Yorkville in 1966 and where he died in 1970, after a final performance at Massey Hall.
     
  4. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Sedaka was nominated for the worst acting performance by a singer in a movie in the Medved Brothers' Golden Turkey Awards book. He (and a few others, including Bob Dylan in Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid) all lost to Tony Bennett for his role in The Oscar.
     
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  5. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    I was thinking more of the Deverons. Anyway, here is the last Guess Who single with Bob Ashley, "Hurting Each Other", a track from their last LP. It peaked at #2 on Jan 31 (#19 on the big chart)

     
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  6. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Here's the B-side, "Baby's Birthday" (not on any LP)

     
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  7. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Also peaking the same week, at #11, is the first single by five kids from St. John's High School in Winnipeg, the Deverons, with "Blue Is The Night" b/w "She's Your Lover".
    Here's the Deverons story from Burton himself:
    THE DEVERONS GET STARTED

    Both sides (along with their next single) were recorded at radio station CKY's studios by musical director Daryl Burlingham during off hours. The group shopped the recordings around, Reo Records liked what they heard and signed the band. Here's the B-side, a Canadian garage classic (1966 will be "The Year Of Canadian Garage")



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  8. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    And now here's the A-side



    As mentioned earlier, the Guess Who were looking for a new member, so they turned to Winnipeg's music scene (a pattern that would repeat itself in the future). They approached Burton in December (while the Deverons were rising in the charts) and he jumped at the chance. He would play one last time with the Deverons on January 8 at the Glenwood Community Club, then would debut with his new band the same month. And the rest is history. The Deverons would release three more singles, all of which would make the CanCon chart.

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  9. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    "Travellin'' Bag" can be heard here:
    Kris, Bobby and the Imperials - Travellin' Bag b/w Walk On By

    "Walk On By" would hit #8 on the top 40 chart. According to 45cat, it was released in the US as Bobby Kris only (Bell-638).
    Bobby Kris and the Imperials | Garage Hangover
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  10. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Entering the Top 40 (but not the CanCon chart) on January 31 is Beau Hannon with "Stop Me From Falling On Love". It would peak at #33 for three weeks. Beau Hannon & the Mint Juleps (led by Jim Bohannon) were from Arkansas. They had a residency at the Black Orchid Club in Montreal in the early 60s but the group broke up. Beau Hannon would continue to lurk around Canada, especially the Niagara Falls region, with a reformed Beau Hannon & the Mint Juleps, releasing in only-in-Canada LP in 1969.

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    By 1970 Beau Hannon was considered CanC0n and would hit #45 with either a re-release of re-recording of "Stop Me From Falling On Love". (The CanCon chart had expanded to a bloated Top 50 by then). "Stop Me From Falling On Love" isn't on youtube, but the 1966 B-Side "You Stop Telling Lies About Me (I'll Stop Telling The Truth About You)" is:

     
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  11. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    after hearing that track, i gather that when Burton first heard The Doors it expanded his horizons a bit, along with other substances
     
  12. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    A few Winnipeg thoughts here:

    It's too bad "Hurting Each Other" didn't hit number one, denying me the chance to write about it. It's a really bizarre misfire, and probably evidence of Scepter meddling too much. It's a wonderful song (the Carpenters' later cover is beautiful), but the Guess Who's version reminds me of the Beatles tackling "How Do You Do It" on Anthology: they do it competently, even well, but you can tell their heart wasn't in it. Whose idea was it to tackle that particular song?

    Especially when the self-composed "Baby's Birthday" (which I'd never heard before) seems like the culmination of the band's Merseybeat days. It's a canny composition - lyrically a bit stale but hooky as hell. It's pretty well done.

    Both sides of the Deverons' single definitely sound like self-taught sixteen-year-olds. Burton's organ playing, in particular, really shows nothing that would catch the ears of the much bigger Guess Who - and it's interesting that every picture shows them as a quintet, because I certainly don't hear two guitars - on the a-side, I don't hear any at all. Again, like the Guess Who single, the self-composed b-side is the more enjoyable listen, but the thing that catches my ears most about the two sides is this: on the
    Al Esposito a-side, Burton's singing is decent but generic, and it reminds me of the tracks on It's Time where you can't really be sure whether it's Allen or Cummings singing. But on his own "She's Your Lover", it's that indistinguishable voice that decades later still sounds more or less the same way it did here at 16 (just a year older than our Debbie Lori Kaye!)
     
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  13. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    I believe Scepter chose the cover versions they recorded while in New York. The Einarson book mentions Florence Greenburg having some sway.
     
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  14. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Of the numerous recordings of "Walk On By" over the years, the Bobby Kris & The Imperials version ranks right up there with the Dionne Warwick original. It's puzzling that Columbia only had them record one more single. There is a five-track EP on iTunes recorded in the mid-1990s, including a new version of "Walk On By". To my knowledge, the original has never been on any legit CD. It is on Volume 2 of the unauthorized Only In Canada series.

    What was actually the intended A-side, "Travellin' Bag", was co-written by Kris (under his real name, Bob Burrows) and Gene Martynec. Its absence from Youtube has been rectified.

     
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  15. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm also confused whether the 1970 release was the same recording as the 1966 hit. I have a German pressing that does not indicate a year anywhere, but the promos on the back sleeve for "Yellow Submarine" and "God Only Knows" suggest it's a 1966 pressing.



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  16. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Speaking of the promos on the back cover, note the promo for Elvis Costello's dad!
     
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  17. Mr. D

    Mr. D Forum Resident

    Wow! Good catch.
     
  18. bunglejerry

    bunglejerry Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    25. WHILE I'M AWAY
    by BOBBY CURTOLA
    #1 for 6 weeks: February 7, 14, 21 and 28, March 7 and 14, 1966




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    For this song, I like to envision a 1966-era garage-rock band transported magically to 1959, where they are forced to record backup for a pre-Beatles teen idol. As the guitarist launches into a groovy fuzztone solo, the teen idol stares at him in bewilderment. "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet," the guitarist sheepishly says, "but your kids are gonna love it."

    Meanwhile, in the primitive Canadian control room, next to the teen idol's svengalis the Hurdon Brothers, sits a wild-eyed white-haired mad scientist named... Bryan Olney.

    Billing himself as "the world's oldest teenager", Olney was a disc jockey on Kingston's CKWS (the call letters stand for Kingston Whig-Standard). This song would seem to be his only published composition, and an utterly obscure band called the Four'Em recorded it first, in 1965 on Barry in Canada and on the Rollo label in the USA (I guess... according to discogs, Rollo's entire range of activities was releasing this song twice in a radio-only promo). The Four'Em version, which is more authentically garage-rock, credits Olney together with a co-writer, Kingston's Peter Bebee. Sadly, on the Curtola release, Bebee's name has disappeared.

    Discogs knows nothing of it, but note the record label on the Youtube video linked above; did the Hurdon Brothers really launch a Stateside version of their label to get Bobby some south-of-the-border action?

    ON THE PAGES OF RPM: Discussing as we have been the primitive state of Canada's mid-sixties record studios, I'll offer this tidbit from the February 14th issue:

    Who Will Be First With Canada's 4 Track?

    Toronto: A shroud of mystery seems to have enveloped the history making advent of Canada's first four track recording studio. RCA Victor's Ed Benou would not commit himself other than to say that a four track was contemplated and would perhaps be operational by the Spring. Arc Records, would allow only that their engineer Wally Jones and the McKirdy Industries are working on a four track system which should be ready by April. Arc will concentrate mainly on label work whereas RCA Victor accommodates both comercial and label clientele. Hallmark Studios, the leader in pop label work in Toronto, have not publicized any plans for the future.


    Two months after this issue was released, I should add, the Beatles were recording "Tomorrow Never Knows".
     
  19. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I have never seen a "Tartan-American " label
     
  20. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't believe I have ever seen an image of a Tartan-American label that was not a promo. Perhaps the Hurdons only pressed these to send to American radio stations.

    "While I'm Away" is IMHO one of Bobby Curtola's better recordings. Even though it was the #1 RPM CanCon song for six weeks and reached #4 on the main chart, it does not appear to have ever been issued on CD.
     
  21. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Winnipeg's Shondels peaked at #31 on the March 14, 1966, main chart with "Another Man", their biggest hit.



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    It is available on the SuperOldies set, Buried Treasures: Winnipeg Rock Gems (1958-1974), in superb sound (unlike the Youtube clip). It looks like the CD set is sold out, but a download remains available.

    Super Oldies.com - BURIED TREASURES - Winnipeg Rock Gems (1958-1974) CD
     
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  22. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Alberta's Jerry Palmer peaked at #25 on the March 14 main chart with his remake of the Rufus Thomas hit "Walking The Dog". The Gaiety masters are now owned by Unidisc, and they have issued the 31-track Jerry Palmer set String Of Hits, both on CD and digitally. Ten years later, Palmer would have a #1 RPM country hit.



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  23. Paul C

    Paul C Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Terry Black peaked at #17 on the March 14 main chart with another remake, this time Russ Hamilton's 1957 hit "Rainbow". It doesn't look like this one has ever been on CD.



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  24. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    #2 on the CanCon chart (February 28)

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  25. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

    Never showed up on the Cross Canada Chart
     

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