Sunday 18 July 2021

Tommie Melton - The Courage To Face Another Day/The Greedy Train

Well, folks, it's the last day of the Stampede. And while we're kinda glad to see another year's exhibition come to an end, we do want to see it off in style. So we've got a special treat for you - a country record that gives us an excuse to dig back into Calgary's garage rock history, and Roy Wilcox's great book on the subject. 

While this record is from some time in the late 1970's (we think? maybe the early 80's?), Tommie Melton's history with the city's music scene goes back to the 1950's and a band with the ubiquitous name of the Shades. Ripping from Roy Wilcox's book (which borrows from Beatroute):

The brainchild of Thomas B. Kin Chong, the Shades began in 1957 as an evolution of an Elvis impersonator group fronted by his friend Dick Byrd, a full blood Sarcee First Nations teenager with Thomas playing backing guitar. The Shades then grew to include Tommie Melton, an African American football hero. The band named themselves the Shades as noted by Chong, “We were the Shades because we were of different colors: rare, medium and well done.” This band lineup would ultimately expand to include Eric Murray, Sonny Carruthers and Pete Watts. 

Yup, that's comedy legend Tommy Chong - those of us that went to Western Canada High School may have spent time trying to find his graduation photo on the walls. The Shades had moderate success, and eventually moved to Vancouver, where they changed their name to Little Daddy and the Bachelors, ultimately cutting a 7" for RCA records. Melton exited the band when they took on lead singer Bobby Taylor, becoming Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers - and taking their sound in a more soulful direction. Tommy Chong went on to fame as, well, Tommy Chong - while Melton must have found his way back to Calgary at some point. 

Which brings us (finally!) to today's 7", which is a really great, soulful bit of country. Just having re-read Wilcox's chapter on the Shades, "Greedy Train" has a big of extra meaning. AND it's a killer track. Plus, Tommie's smile on the cover is downright infectious.

Get it here!

Saturday 17 July 2021

Guido D'Amico - Jimmy Boy/I'm In Love With You (1959)

We're going to reach waaaay back with a record that's not really Stampede-related, but... well, you know us. We're okay with stretching things a bit (or a lot!). 

Guido D'Amico was born in Fernie, but spent most of his life in Nordegg and Eckville. Known as The Italian Cowboy, he had a regular radio show on Red Deer's CKRD, and played throughout central and southern Alberta. Music was a sideline for D'Amico, who worked for the Coca Cola company and later ran a hotel in Eckville. Upon his retirement, he returned to music before he passed away in 2008

The two rockabilly-leaning songs on this dusty little 7" has also featured on his Treasures Untold compilation LP put out thru Doug Wong Music in 1980... but we might be getting ahead of ourselves. All of our DWM LPs are patiently waiting for their day...

For now, you can get D'Amico's singular single here.

Friday 16 July 2021

Calgary Exhibition & Stampede ‎– The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth (1981)

The challenge with finding singles that don't have picture sleeves is that something you end up with a record like this one, which completely confounds. This record is subtitled "Soundtrack to the Multi-Image Presentation," which makes us think that it was either a promo for the Stampede OR a giveaway at the event. Side one of this is a bombastic number, reminiscent of a musical number at the Grandstand Show with a brief vocal hurrah for the Stampede, while side B is a short, romantic soft-rocker. We really wish we had cover art for this - maybe you can hook us up?

In the meantime, we'll just give you the download.

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Lee & Sandy Paley - For The World (1981), Alberta (1980)

We've got a bit of a two-fer today, with a pair of commemorative singles from husband and wife duo Lee & Sandy Paley.

The Paleys are most notable for their locally-produced kids' TV-show, Ballooner Landing, which ran on CTV in the late 80's. But "For the World" is why we're here today - we'd be happy with just the record, but the booklet that comes with this is an amazing piece of early 80's marketing schtick, with anthropomorphized corporate logos participating in various rodeo events. Of course, the song itself has a nod to this, with the middle eight featuring an announcer calling a chuckwagon race involving said corporations. 

The second record in this duo is one SEVERAL records that were produced as part of Alberta's 75th anniversary in 1980. The province must have been awash in oil revenues at the time, and willing to spend a lot on commemorative stuff. We think all we got out of the 100th anniversary was a commemorative website.

Get this pair of singles from the Paleys here.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Seth Riggs - Shoot For the Stars (1969)


We had to steal the cover art for this next Stampede single from the internet, since our copy - while in good playing condition - lacks the important bio of the singer that these purloined images provide.

Riggs later became a vocal coach to the stars, but in the late 60's was the headliner at the Stampede's grandstand show. We assume this is a commemorative record of said shows, with one side featuring the pomp and flair of "Something to Sing About" and the other featuring the Wilf Carter-penned "C-A-L-G-A-R-Y Heart of the Golden West" - the songs themselves are kind of an odd mix, but Riggs' powerful voice is the glue that holds this together. 

Get it here!

Monday 12 July 2021

Wilf Carter - The Calgary Roundup, Cowboy Days, I Wish There Were Three Days In The Year, Huggin' Squeezin' Kissin' Teasin'

Well, we might as well go deep during our Stampede posts and turn to a few singles from the legendary Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim). Born in Nova Scotia, Carter spent time in Calgary in the 1920s and 1930s, with his first radio broadcast on CFCN. Wikipedia says that Carter played his first Stampede show in 1964, but we found this 1961 article that suggests otherwise:

Carter's honest style is the kind of antidote we need to combat all the costume cowboys racing around on scooters this year. His Stampede tribute, "The Calgary Roundup," is really the B-side of his single, but it's the A-side in our heart. And the other three singles we've included have him backed up by the Calgary Stampeders (assumedly not the football team), giving us a good dose of yodeling goodness.

Get it here!

Sunday 11 July 2021

Wayne Vold - Calgary Stampede Star/Point Of No Return (1976)

Here's another smiling face that we've seen recently as we've been trawling through 7" singles... we left this Wayne Vold record aside in a rare moment of foresight, thinking it would be best to include in our Stampede week celebrations.

This is a great, polished record - thanks to Richard Harrow's Living Room Studio. While yesterday's track from Cal Cavendish celebrated the Stampede from the perspective of Joe Public, Vold's background as a rancher has him singing about the rodeo: "Open the chute and let her rip / Try to stay on top of it / Ride on cowboy, let it buck / At the Calgary Stampede." 


Saturday 10 July 2021

Cal Cavendish - Big Stampede (1969)

We're really happy to bring together two of our fascinations together in one post. We really like Cal Cavendish, and we're always amazed by songs that celebrate the Stampede or our city. So this single (we think this might be Cavendish's first) is a treat. "Big Stampede" is really the b-side, but in our mind this is an error that Quality made in the pressing of this little piece of vinyl.

If you ask us, this is what Cavendish does best - celebrate the goings on in life. It's fun and catchy - and, just like the Stampede - a bit corny ("When they swing them big gates open, I'll be there / People come to Calgary from everywhere," he gleefully sings). So we love it!

And you can get it here!

Friday 9 July 2021

Stampeders - Singles (1970-1979)

There are a few gaping holes in the CCPS archives, perhaps none more noticeable than the Stampeders. SO! Because we're suckers for stupid wordplay, we're pleased to present: A STAMPEDE OF STAMPEDERS SINGLES FOR THE STAMPEDE! 

Roy Wilcox traces the history of the Stampeders in Garage Band Rockers; they formed out of the nucleus of the Rebounds, with Rich Dodson and Kimball Meyer (aka Kim Burley), and the Ronnie King (aka Cornelius Van Sprang) of the Ekotones and Paintbrushes. The band released a track on a comp put together by manager Mel Shaw before decamping for Toronto in 1966... 

Which means that this stack of singles aren't really Calgary singles, technically. Plus, we don't have their signature tune in here, the 1971 #1 hit, "Sweet City Woman." But we think the sheer volume of other singles should make up for that - and since it spans their career (prior to their reforming in 1992), it's a pretty wide ranging bunch of stuff. Early tracks like "Carry Me" are in a distinct folk rock vein, while "Devil You" is more country rock. "Wild Eyes" is hard rock, "Ramona" is arena rock, and strangely "Bring The House Down" is funk rock. At least it's all rock. Thanks to garage rock guru Al Charlton for tipping us to the b-side track "Ride In The Wind," a great tremolo-laced, breezy track.

We're pleased to finally close up a bit of a gap in the archives - celebrate the return of the Stampede and Stampeders here!

Edit: we relented, and found a copy of "Sweet City Woman," adding to this post for completeness.