Marshmallow Soup Group

The Marshmallow Soup Group was formed in Kingston ON - they had a hit in late 1969 with “I Want Candy” and the attention scored the band a gig at the International Trade Fair in Lima Peru and also at Expo ‘70 in Osaka Japan (along with Chilliwac).

The b-side is “My World Fell Down”:

Here’s a picture of the band playing live in Peru:

The band put out one other single (“Sing To My Lover” / “Barbee-Lee”) and was no more.

John Lemmon
Ron Smith
Tim Contini
Tim Eaton
Wayne Sweet

This World

Every now and then I see some weird old Canadian LP in a used record store and pick it up on pure whim - the latest find is “This World - The Trio of Time” (or “Trio of Tyme” as it’s spelled on the back cover) from Condor Music International out of Burnaby BC - I mean, how bad could it be?

The story behind this gets a little convoluted - it starts in 1965 when a guitarist named Chris Ducey recorded a folk album called “Songs Of Protest And Anti-Protest” for Surrey Records in Los Angeles. After the songs were recorded and album artwork completed, it was discovered that Chris Ducey already had a recording contract with another label and so the music was prevented from being released.

Surrey Records did what anyone else would do in that situation - they hired a guy (by the name of Bobby Jameson) and named him Chris Lucey. This Chris Lucey then recorded a completely new set of songs with matching titles as those of the existing album (he never listened to the original - it was a clean room job) - they pressed those songs and voila. Some “Chris Ducey” versions of the cover were released in the US, but the Canada, UK and subsequent releases had the covers altered to read “Chris Lucey”.

By the way, that’s not Chris Ducey on the cover - it’s Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones.

The album didn’t do much when it was released in 1965, but in the years since it has become a bit of a collector’s item, with a production sound compared to Forever Changes by Love, another LA band.

A few years later the original Ducey master tapes somehow ended up in the hands of Jack Millman (aka Johnny Kitchen, Ralph Morris, Ludie Priessman) who ran Condor Music International which was based out of LA but also distributed records on the Canadian Raja label. Seems Jack took the original Ducey tracks, changed the names slightly, attributed writing credits on all songs to himself or one of his pseudonyms, and then released the album to complete obscurity. Nobody connected the dots for years but finally in 2012 the original Chris Ducey tracks were released on CD and MP3.

The two tracks starting sides A and B on the LP are a pair: ”That’s The Way The World Has Got To Be” parts 1 & 2 (called “Back Trackin’” and “This World” on the Condor release). These tracks epitomize the folk/protest feel of the album - now over 50 years old and the issues are relevant to what’s going on today. Here is those two tracks by Chris Ducey:

In the summer of 1965, Chris Ducey landed a role on a TV pilot for ABC called The Happeners which was based on the life and times of a Greenwich Village folk-rock trio consisting of Ducey, Craig Smith and Susannah Jordan. The one-hour pilot featured an appearance by the Dave Clark Five and starred Lou Gossett Jr. The intent of the show was to go up against The Monkees (on NBC) but ABC pulled out when the producers refused to make a half hour show so only the pilot was shot (it exists, the full audio is on youtube). After the demise of The Happeners, Chris and Craig (as they named themselves) recorded one single for Capitol records - the a-side is “Isha” and it is fantastic:

Craig Smith had met Mike Nesmith on a couple of occasions, and he also wrote the song “Salesman” which appeared on The Monkees LP Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. from 1967. Around this time, Chris and Craig added 2 more members (Bobby Donaho and Donald Glut) to become The Penny Arkade with Nesmith as their producer who was heavily involved in their promotion and first album - you can see his influence with a track like Country Girl (later recorded by Glen Campbell).

The Penny Arkade recorded tracks for their first album to be called Not The Freeze but everything collapsed around them and the band folded - the tracks were finally made available on Sundazed music in 2004.

Chris Ducey released “Duce of Hearts” in 1975 and also the privately produced album “I Am A Rock”. The restored ”Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest” album finally got released as a CD in 2012 with the original cover and his (not Bobby Jameson’s) tracks and his (not Jack Millman’s) names.

Craig Smith quit the Penny Arkade and headed east to tour South America and Asia and pursue mysticism - he returned with new name Satya Sai Maitreya Kali. In 1972 he recorded two albums (Apache and Inca) which contained pieces from the Not The Freeze sessions interspersed with spoken word and general weirdness. In 2016 journalist Mike Stax released a biography of Craig Smith called “Swim Through The Darkness" which chronicles his struggles with mental health, time in prison and homelessness. Smith died March 16, 2012.

Susannah Jordon would go on to record under the names Sidonie Jordan and Sydney Foxx. She was an Ikette on tour with Ike and Tina Turner and married musician Peter Banks (the original guitarist of Yes) forming the band Empire.

Bobby Jameson put out a pair of singles in 1966 with Frank Zappa on the Penthouse label, and his first album (Color Him In) was produced by Curt Boettcher on the Verve label in 1967. He struggled with addiction and mental issues and dropped out of the music business. He died on May 12, 2015.

I’m quite glad I picked this up - I got my 7 bucks of enjoyment just trying to figure it all out and it’s a bonus that the LP is also really interesting and listenable. I have to wonder how many copies of “This World with the Trio of Tyme” were sold and how much lovely lucre Jack Millman made on the deal.

Ski Patrol Badges

The Canadian Ski Patrol (Patrouille canadienne de ski) was started in 1941 and sometime later started selling badges to raise money - we collected them every year from 1970 through 1998 and at some point picked up 1956/57. The best of course are the two from 1970/71 when everyone on the slopes was a yetiologist.

The Eternal Triangle

The Eternal Triangle was a short lived Vancouver trio from 1966 which consisted of Tom Northcott, Susan Pesklevits and Howie Vickers. They released three songs over two singles (both had the same a-side).

Susan Pesklevits would soon meet Terry Jacks and go on to form the Poppy Family, Howie Vickers would form The Collectors which became Chilliwack, and Tom Northcott had a successful career as solo artist and producer.

The b-side of the first single (NS-10) is Watch Me Go:

The b-side of the second single (NS-101) is My New Love:

Both singles share the same a-side It’s True:

Susan Pesklevits: vocals
Howie Vickers: guitar, vocals
Tom Northcott: guitar, vocals

Klaatu

In 1977, a headline article (“Could Klaatu Be Beatles? Mystery Is A Magical Tour”) by Steve Smith in the Providence Journal started a rumour that the debut album (3:47 EST) by then unknown band Klaatu was, in fact, an undercover side project by The Beatles. With songs like “Sub Rosa Speedway” (a song about Alfred Ely Beach, the inventor of the first subway system in New York City) you can kinda sorta see why:

If Steve had bothered to check YouTube, he could have found this clip below which predates his article by a couple of years - here is Klaatu playing “California Jam” on Keith Hampshire’s tv show Music Machine from 1974 (it’s more Beach Boys than Beatles imo):

Klaatu hailed from Toronto - formed in 1973 by John Woloschuk, Dee Long and Terry Draper. Their first album had no names, photos, biography info or songwriting credits which fed into the Beatles rumour mill. At that time, the band was in the UK working on their second album (Hope) and were amused more than anything, but by the time it was all over lots of people thought they had staged the whole thing in the first place. Hope was released in 1977 and was the last album to chart; the last couple weren’t that well received and they finally called it quits in 1982. From the third album (Sir Army Suit), here is “Perpetual Motion Machine”:

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” from the first Klaatu album was covered by The Carpenters in 1977 and it was a massive hit (#1 in Ireland!):

Klaatu Albums:
- 3:47 E.S.T. (1976)
- Hope (1977)
- Sir Army Suit (1978)
- Endangered Species (1980)
- Magentalane (1981)

BTW, 3:47 EST is the time the alien ship landed in the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still from 1951 (the alien emissary being named Klaatu).

A Passing Fancy

A Passing Fancy started in 1965 when Brian Price and brothers Jay and Ian Telfer met and sang harmonies together in a Downsview high school. They settled on the name The Dimensions and set out for Yorkville where they met Bernie Finkelstein (also from Downsview) who was serving coffee at El Patio - he became their manager and the band got a booking.

In 1966 Bernie left to manage The Paupers and the band changed name to A Passing Fancy - they toured Ontario constantly and by 1967 had a recording contract for 3 singles with Columbia records and a gig at Expo ‘67.

Their first single was “I’m Losing Tonight” released in 1967 - it went to #22 on the local CHUM chart:

In 1968 the band put out their only album (A Passing Fancy) which consisted of all the Columbia singles; the album inexplicably led off with an alternate version of “I’m Losing Tonight” without the lead guitar that makes that single buzz along.

In 1968, after filming the tv show Let’s Go at the CBC and playing a gig at The Granite Club in Toronto, band leader Jay Telfer was fired by management and the band folded shortly thereafter. The label tried to resurrect the band for one more single (“Island” c/w “Your Trip”) which flopped and by 1969 the band was dead.

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Their eponymous album has been re-released on both CD and vinyl (the CD version contains both versions of “I’m Losing Tonight)”. It is a fantastic album from start to finish; highly recommended.

Tommy Douglas

Tommy Douglas and Lady Jane share a kiss in May 1968. Mr. Douglas was (as the Toronto Star reported) “walking through hippieland he met Lady Jane and friends” after filming a TV interview earlier in a coffee shop and “Yorkville hippies watched Lady Jane waylay the NDP leader“.

By the way, the sign seen through the window at rear left marks the first Mr. Submarine location (130 Yorkville Ave). A tuna sub was $0.79 and a super-sub was $1.38 - the place had just opened.

Appearing on the taped CBC show The Public Eye in 1968:

Below was taken on June 22 1981 when Mr. Douglas received the Order of Canada.

Thomas Clement Douglas: October 20, 1904 to February 24, 1986.

Photographs taken by Reg Innell, Jeff Goode and Boris Spremo, courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

La Mauricie

When I arrived at the visitor center at La Mauricie national park, I asked why the park was created and the answer given was ‘Jean Chrétien’. He was born in nearby Shawinigan (and made its handshake famous in 1996) and was involved in establishing the park in 1970. According to park staff, “he really likes it here”.

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This year the road between east and west entrance are closed - this would be a nice drive. This is a camping park with a ton of sites - perfect for winter x-country as you can ski from between heated yurts (oTentiks).

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One can park, have a coffee, and do some serious relaxing here. 

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Which is what I did. 

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Côte Nord

Some pics from the north shore.

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Tadoussac

Tadoussac is a town at the confluence of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers - the indigenous Innu called the place Totouskak.

Jacques Cartier landed at the secluded bay in 1535 and there’s been an active settlement here ever since - it’s now a mecca for 🐳 watching tours.

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Canada’s oldest wooden church is here dating from 1747 - the interior is the original wood (they removed 3 layers of wallpaper in the 70’s).

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Below is the formidable Hotel Tadoussac - it looks like a Wes Anderson set. There was a Hudson’s Bay post from early on and in the 1860s Tadoussac became a destination site when the first hotel was built here. It’s all very snooty and old school - perfect spot to have a day of scones, whale watching and croquet.

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There is a whale interpretation center here. Frankly, if you’re at all whale crazy, you gotta go to Tadoussac.

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Mingan Islands

The Mingan Island national park reserve is an archipeligo consisting of 40 islands north of Anticosti island in the St. Lawrence. The islands formed as the land level rose after the  last ice age - the shorelines of the islands are dotted with clusters of limestone monoliths eroded by the waves and wind.

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There are camping sites on most of the islands just off the gravel shore. You can sit and watch seals and whales go by. 

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This is the boat that cruises everyone around the Capitaine Yockell. They dump you on shore and pick you up in a couple of days. 

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A++ amazing place. There is a huge amount to see up here, and the seafood is fantastic.

BMW R1150R

My motorcycle is a 2005 BMW touring bike with just over 86,000 klicks. Here are some reasons why I ❤️ my motorbike.

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The speedometer and rev-o-meter are nice big and analog. A glance at the position of two needles is for me way easier than reading numbers - don’t want a digital dash.

There is no GPS.  Old school maps and asking people for directions.

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The clock has been covered with a mileage-worn metal purple flower someone left in a NFLD campground a few years back. The clock was not an example of German engineering - it never worked right and finally died. Also, setting it back an hour involved arduously setting it forward 23.

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When traveling, I don’t know what time it is or where I am exactly - I also don’t know how far I can go as there is no gas gauge. When I refill the tank I reset the odometer to zero - the max range is ~ 400 kms. So I start thinking about next gas at about 250 kms and the I’ll get warned when on reserve (340 kms or so). I carry a spare gas tank for extra insurance.

Baie Saint-Paul

The highways # 347 & 138 run east through Quebec ski country - starting around Mont Tremblant, winding through the hills and finally climbing up Le Massif. The descent down the mountain is a long exhilarating 8-10% grade ending in the small town of Baie Saint-Paul.

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The old town has all been converted to art galleries, bistros and coffee shops - this is a pretty little town.

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Z’ut alors - they serve raclette!

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Seen somewhere in the 138E:

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Georgian Bay Islands

Georgian Bay Islands national park was established in 1929 - it’s Canada’s smallest, consisting of Beausoleil Island and about 50 other small islands in an archipelago; the park is accessible by boat only.

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It became a national historic site in 2017 as a result of the cultural heritage of early settlers - artifacts have been found dating back 7000 years. There’s a complicated history here for the surrounding First Nation’s Peoples (see also nearby Sainte-Marie among the Hurons or Coldwater Narrows Reserve). The park contains remnants of a community with cemetery.

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To stay in the park, there are tent sites or one can rent 4 person cabins (with screened in porch!) on the east shore, but the best deal imo is one of the four 2 person cabins on west side. For $150 a night (minimum 2 nights) you get the boat ride over and back, park staff carts your gear the kilometer to west side (!!), ensures you have propane and leaves ya 2 jugs of water.

I walked over and there was nobody around except the little dude I met over lunch.

A++ will return. So close to Toronto.

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The Water System

Our home brew garden watering system has entered beta testing in the backyard. The software runs on a raspberry pi and the scheduling logic is represented as a set of javascript commands which result in relays being turned on and off which control water flow.

This is the initial plan with four zones laid out in the back garden.

Each zone runs a schedule which turns the zone on for some duration and then turn it off; this runs on various days of the week.

Originally all 4 zones would come on simultaneously but running them one by one results in better water pressure.

Here is the outside zone controller, cobbled together from bits and pieces. Most of the stuff is basic garden equipment and the local hardware store has is covered.

The manifold splits into 4 lines and each can be individually turned off.

The 12 volt DC solenoid valves were an EBay purchase - they were something like $8.00 each and came from offshore and so took a while. They work perfectly and operate on a simple mechanism. No power = closed.

The control box is in the basement right by the wall where the 6-conductor wire goes through.

The raspberry pi runs a java/spring/boot application and relies on the excellent pi4j library to control the GPIO outputs to the relays.

The relays allow the raspberry pi 3 volt supply to switch on/off the 12 volts needed to cause the solenoid to allow water to flow.

Some pictures of the happy garden.

Pink Refrigerators

The era of the pink fridge was the best time for home appliance purchases.

The White Knights

The White Knights hailed from Regina Saskatchewan - they formed in 1963 and in 1966 put out two singles on Gaeity Records (#117 and #121). From the first single, here is ‘Love That’s True’:

And from their second single a-side is ‘Promise Her Love’:

They subsequently dropped the white suits and hair dye, changed their name to Tomorrow’s Keepsake, and put out one final single (on RCA) - here is the b-side Elevator Operator:

Finally, from the Gaiety vaults here is “Eat Your Hotdog, Boy”:

Barry Keating (lead guitar, lead vocals)
Richard Gettle (rhythm guitar, bass, organ, vocals)
Vern Hoffert (bass, harmonica, vocals)
Art Zimmerman (drums, vocals).

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The Quiet Jungle

Eddie Shack joined the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1961 and would go on to win a number of Stanley Cups with the team. In 1966, the song “Clear The Track, Here Comes Shack” was a hit in Toronto. With lyrics like “he knocks ‘em down and he gives ‘em a whack” it’s easy to see why - the song went to #1 on 1050 CHUM and stayed on the charts for 9 weeks:

The band was Douglas Rankine and the Secrets, who had just put out their first single (“Cryin’ Over Her” b/w “He Treats You Bad“ on Arc records). Soon enough the only thing people wanted to hear at their live shows was the shack track, so in 1967 they changed their name to The Quiet Jungle and distanced themselves from the novelty hit. Their first single on Yorkville Records was “Ship Of Dreams” b/w “Everything”. Here is the b-side:

They shared their next single with R. Dean Taylor - he had the a-side with “At The High School Dance“ with the Quiet Jungle’s track “Ship Of Dreams” as the flip. Their third single was “Too Much In Love” b/w “Make Up Your Mind”. Here is the a-side:

In 1967, Arc Records in Toronto decided to cash in on The Monkees craze, and so they put out the LP “A Little Bit Me” which was an album with tracks by The Quiet Jungle covering Monkee’s hits (the band name does not appear on the album). From the liner notes: “… we know you will find this salute to the fabulous four right out of sight”. Arc Records released “The Story Of Snoopy’s Christmas” in 1968, again with The Quiet Jungle as band (credited this time) doing Christmas songs. From the Monkee’s album, here is “Stepping Stone”:

in 1968, the band appeared on a compilation album on the Yorkville label, this time calling themselves “The Scarlet Ribbon“. From the CTV “After Four” album, this is “Four In The Morning“:

Below are the album covers for “A Little Bit Me”, “The Story Of Snoopy’s Christmas”, “After Four”, and also the cover of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on Arc Records - a “salute” to the Rolling Stones and other British bands - that’s Douglas Rankine on the cover.

From the Story of Snoopy’s Christmas, here is “Marshmallow World”:

Understanding Computers

In 1986 Time Life books put out their “Understanding Computers” series of 24 books which cover the basics of computing - the series is a snaphot of the technology at the time just before the internet changed everything.

From the volume on Artifical Intelligence here is a story of a robot who learns to distinguish between greedy and generous dragons in order to get the gold to fill the pot at the end of the rainbow.

From this volume, here’s 4 more pages used as chapter intros:

Software Development

A key step in any Software Developent Life Cycle - the developer demos the latest release to the business owner while management adds value.

The image is from 1973 btw, courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

Support your community library before a despicable politican and his stooges take it away.