Jackie Shane

RIP to the great, underappreciated Jackie Shane.

May 15, 1940 to February 22, 2019.

Dr. Music

Doug Riley (also known as Dr. Music) was an influential composer, arranger and musician - he was the musical director of Toronto’s Famous People Players for two decades and over the course of his career he contributed to over 300 albums.

His band (Dr. Music) was put together as the studio band on CTV’s Ray Stevens show; when it was cancelled the band stayed together and put out their first single on RCA records - a split single with the Laurie Bower Singers so two versions of I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing - the Coke-Cola jingle. They subsequently put out 3 albums from 1972 to 1974 - the first album (Dr. Music) had contributions from Terry Black and Laurel Ward. From that album here is Sun Goes By:

These pictures of Doug Riley were taken by Boris Spremo in 1969:

He won a Juno in 1981 for best jazz album (Tommy Ambrose at Last with the Doug Riley Band) and in 2003 became a member of the Order of Canada.

Doug Riley: April 24, 1945 to August 28, 2007

Images courtesy Toronto Public Library.

Terry Black

Vancouver’s teen idol - introducing Terry Black!

Terry Black's debut U.S. single Unless You Care was released in 1964 when he was only 15 - a big hit in western Canada and it cracked the top ten in the US. Here is some youtube footage from American Bandstand in November of that year:

Terry’s first album (The Black Plague) was released on Arc records (ACM-5001) in 1964 and contains contributions from Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine and Leon Russell. He was voted top male vocalist of the year by the RPM awards (the precursor to the Junos). From that LP here is Pool Little Fool:

More successful singles followed in 1965 and by that point he was a bona fide teen idol. His father got a job in Hollywood so the family moved in January 1966 and while there Terry almost made a movie cast as Elvis Presley’s brother. The movie fell through and the family was disillusioned with Hollywood so they moved back to Toronto. In 1969 Terry put out the album An Eye For an Ear under the name Terence, and also in that year joined the cast Toronto of Hair where he met Laurel Ward - the two were married in 1970 and recorded together through the 70s and 80s.

Terry Black: February 3, 1949 to June 28, 2009

It's All Meat

It’s All Meat was a Toronto band whose name was inspired by a dog food commercial boasting “100% meat – no filler“. They put out one album in 1970 on Columbia records (ELS-374) and it currently sells for around $800.00 if you can find an original pressing. The album is a cracker.

The band’s home base where they practiced and played live was a place called the Cosmic Home on Yonge street between Eglinton and Lawrence (2717 Yonge). It was run by Jerry Rygiel (left) and Dave Defries (right):

It’s All Meat’s eponymous album has been re-pressed on various labels and there is also a CD available with extra tracks on it:

The track below is called (I Need Some Kind Of) Definite Committment (Baby) which was released on the b-side of a now unobtainable single (Columbia C4-2910).

And here’s 9 minutes of Sunday Love because you deserve it.

Rick Aston (bass)
Jed MacKay (organ, piano)
Rick McKim (drums)
Wayne Rowerth (guitar)
Norm White (guitar)

The Paupers: Ellis Island

The second Paupers album (Ellis Island) was released July 1st, 1968 on the Verve Forecast label (FTS3051). The album contains a fairly wide range of psychedelic rock songs with a very different feel than their more pop oriented first LP (Magic People). The LP included an insert with 16 photos of the band you could cut out and assemble into a Flick Book. The 2019 equivalent is to can scan and make an animated gif - we do this work so you don’t have to.

The other side of the insert (which would get wrecked if you made the Flick Book) is a choice shot of the band. Note the three drum setups - seeing some live footage of these guys at their peak would be a treat.

Hendrix in 1969

On May 3rd 1969, Jimi Hendrix was arrested at Toronto International Airport as he arrived from New York after police seized 3 capsules of heroin (and an aluminum tube containing traces of hashish). He had to visit Toronto’s Old City Hall where he was released on $10,000 bail, in time to play with the Experience at Maple Leaf Gardens that night.

In December of that year, Hendrix returned for the court case - the jury deliberated for 8 1/2 hours before he was acquitted on December 10, 1969 - he was facing up to 7 years in prison. Hendrix testified that he often received presents from fans, including drugs like hashish and LSD - a reporter (Sharon Lawrence) corroborated the story that a fan had handed Hendrix the packets saying “Here, this will make you feel better”.

During the trial, Hendrix stated that he had “sniffed cocaine twice, used LSD five times and smoked hashish and marijuana, but has never used heroin“. He said he had outgrown the use of narcotics. "To each his own" he said. "But just don't blow it. Don't blow it."

After being acquitted, he was quoted as saying “Canada has given me the best Christmas present I ever had“.

The following pictures were taken from a photo shoot in Toronto, 1969.

Pictures courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

John G. Parkinson, QC

July 24, 1928 to January 19, 2019.

There are no words at present, just a picture of our beloved dad.


The prog rock band Zon was formed in Toronto 1977. Their first album (Astral Projector) was released in 1978 and it won a Juno for breakthrough artist of the year. In 1979 they played the Ontario Place forum and on June 20 the Globe and Mail ran the following review on the lead page of the Entertainment section - it’s a beaut:

Unfortunately, Mr. McGrath had left before Zon went on - he reviewed the opening band (Lips).

Their label (CBS) demanded compensation to no avail. There was a shake up at the label and Zon was dropped even though they had a 3 LP contract. Their third album was produced on Falcon records, and they finally broke up in 1981.

Denton Young (vocals)
Brian Miller (guitar)
Jim Samson (bass)
Kim Hunt (drums)
Howard Helm (keyboards)

1978: Astral Projector (CBS)
1979: Back Down To Earth (CBS)
1980: I’m Worried About The Boys (Falcon)

Cambridge Analytica

In the highly secure Cambridge Analytica data center, CTO Nathanial Fatale shows an ASCII printout of the facebook social graph to potential investor Boris Badenov.


John Mills-Cockell studied music at the University of Toronto - he was a pioneer of the Moog synthesizer who in 1967 formed Intersystems with light sculptor Michael Hayden and poet Blake Parker. They released three LP recordings: Number One (1967), Peachy (1968) and the brilliantly named Free Psychedelic Poster Inside (1968). All 3 were remastered in 2015 as a lovingly produced CD box-set.

In 1970 Syrinx was formed with John Mills-Cockell (keyboards), Alan Wells (percussion) and Doug Pringle (saxophone). They put out their first album (Syrinx) in 1970, and were commission by CTV to write and perform the theme music for the tv show Here Come's The Seventies - they got a hit with Tillicum and the single was later included on their second album.

Syrinx returned to the studio in late 1970 to record a second album but a fire in the studio destroyed the group’s instruments including Mills-Cockell’s Moog Mark II as well as the master tapes of the recordings containing weeks of work. A Benefit Concert was held in St. Lawrence Market on April 14, 1971:

Syrinx released Long Lost Relatives in 1971. Here's footage of Syrinx with the Toronto Repertory Orchestra playing Ibistix - one of the four movements of the 26 minute Stringspace. a composition including SyrenDecember AngelIbisitx, and Field Hymn (Conclusion).

In 2016 a 2-CD box set (Tumblers From The Vault) was released and it includes all the studio material, plus the CBC recording of StringSpace live with orchestra.

Here is December Angel from Long Lost Relatives:

After Syrinx disbanded, John Mills-Cockell put out the albums Heartbeat and A Third Testament on True North records; there is a remastered set coming. Soon. Hopefully.

The pictures are from 1972 - British musician Malcolm Tomlinson joined the band making it a 4 piece.


Serge Fiori (lead guitar, vocals) met Michel Normandeau (guitar, vocals) in November 1972 and Harmonium was formed when they added Louis Valois on bass in 1973.

The band put out 3 studio albums from 1974 through 1976: Harmonium, Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinquième Saison and L’Eptade as well as a live album (En Tournee in 1980).

Below is Pour Un Instant - a short sweet track which was a hit from their first album:

This is paired with a long one - the 17 minute Histoires Sans Paroles which is just so goddamn beautiful:

Fwiw, all 3 of their studio albums made it onto wikipedia’s list of top 100 Canadian albums - they were huge in Quebec and for good reason.

In 2016 a great 2-LP re-issue of their last album (L’Eptade XL) was made available and there are re-issues of everything on CD.

Here is the venerable Peter Gzoski introducing Harmonium on CBC’s 90 Minutes Live.

Bus Bunnies

On February 3 1969, page 25 of the Toronto Star ran an article entitled “Bus ‘bunny’ made man miss his stop”.

Apparently a suggestion was made at the Canadian Urban Transportation Conference that “bus bunnies” should be used to make transportation “more attractive”. According to the article (see below), the idea was “slightly less popular” with women patrons.

Merry XMas

Ian and Sylvia

Sylvia Fricker married Ian Tyson in June, 1964.
From 1962 to 1967 Ian & Sylvia put out a string of folk albums with hits like Four Strong Winds and Someday Soon.
In 1967 they went country rock, releasing Nashville and Full Circle with session players from Tennesee - a month before they Byrds recorded Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
They formed Great Speckled Bird in 1969 and toured across Canada on the Festival Express. The band put out one album (produced by Todd Rungren) which suffered from poor distribution.
By 1975, Ian & Sylvia had stopped performing and were divorced soon after.
In 1995 they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Here is the track Someday Soon:

Photo courtesy of Toronto Public Library.

The Plaza

Some pictures of suburbia.


Because a bunch of pictures of Alex & Geddy over the years is a good thing.

Images courtesy of Toronto Public Library.


Gordon Lowe and Laurel Ward put out Prisms in 1969 (Yorkville records YVS 33004).

“The way to enjoy ‘Prisms’ is to turn it on, put out the lights, lie down on the couch and allow your mind to become involved with the soulful sounds of Gordon Lowe”.

Laurel Ward went on to sing background vocals for Anne Murray, Bob Seger and Alice Cooper. Below is the cast of Hair from 1970 - that’s Laurel Ward on the left (with Rachel Jacobson, Pam and Dick Stein and Joe Clark).

In 1970 Gordon Lowe put out Follow the Sound (again with Laurel Ward on vocals).

Both albums have become classics in Japan & Korea and have had limited edition CD reissues.

Sam The Record Man

A few photos of the venerable Sam the Record Man.

Picures courtesy of Toronto Public Library,


The Folklords formed in 1968 when the Chimes of Britain changed from a Mod cover band to playing dreamy sunshine psychedelic pop. They were signed to Jack Boswell’s Allied record label (which also carried Reign Ghost and the Plastic Cloud) and they put out one album (Release The Sunshine) which featured a trippy album cover and songs which “dealt with alternative lifestyles and complexities of a changing world”. The track below is the opener on side 2; Parson Me Judas - enjoy.

Tom Waschkowski (guitar)
Paul Seip (bass)
Martha Johnson (auto-harp)

Max Webster

Max Webster was formed in 1972 (Mile Tilka, Kim Mitchell and Phil Trudell) from the ashes of a band called Family At Mac’s who played a tune called Song for Webster (the song, incidentally, was written by Daryl Steurmer who would later tour with Genesis). Max Webster put out a string of great albums from 1976 (Max Webster) to 1981 (Diamonds Diamonds) until Kim MItchell folded the band one night after playing a gig supporting Rush in Memphis Tennessee in April 1981.

From their first album, here is Toronto Tontos:

This is Pye Dubois (lyricist) and Kim Mitchell (guitar/vocals) in 1979:

Mike Tilka (bass):

Kim Mitchell and the Rankin sisters:

Click here for the Max Wesster live archive.

Images courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.