Sunday 31 October 2021

Forbidden Dimension - Mars is Heaven (2021), Shivs & Shrouds/Our Martian Heritage (2021)

Happy Halloween! Here's something we know some of you are going to be excited about - and quite possibly already have in your tight little clutches. The good folks at Medicine Hat's Wasted Wax Records have re-issued a pair of early Forbidden Dimension tapes - including our favourite FD recording, Our Martian Heritage (which happened to be the second tape we ever posted on this here thing). This means that rather than suffering through the crappy rips we've posted, you can get freshly remastered versions of these drum machine-driven classics - and they do sound mighty, mighty fine. Oh, and Mars is Heaven even got a vinyl release from Wasted Wax.

Get these re-animated marvels via Wasted Wax.

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Circa Records & Tapes: Seanna (1982), Geoff Edmunds (1982), Bruce Thompson (1982)

Today's trio of singles come to us via Circa Records & Tapes, a label that was the brainchild of Bruce Thompson and Edward L. King. The label was originally started in Vancouver in 1971, and made the move to Calgary at some point in the late 70's/early 80's. 

At some point the label made another move - we've seen a 1988 release on Circa which has an address in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. But these three singles were all recorded in Calgary - and, oddly, all released in the same year. We weren't able to find out anything about any of the artists - which is another thing we're pretty much getting used to.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Stratus Singers - 1875-1975 Centennial Calgary/Sleepy Wonder Book (1975)

Here's another new Westmount single in our collection, one we wish we'd had back in the summer when we were celebrating our city's centennial songs. Stratus Singers were a folk/pop trio who were active in the 1970's and into the 80's. In the mid-70's they formed an expanded performing/touring group called the Straus Faction. As in, we assume, "we can't get no Stratus Faction."

Sorry for the terrible pun above. The Stratus Singers' centennial tribute is a suitably celebratory track, while the B side  is - as the title suggests - a nice little lullaby.

Get it here!

Monday 25 October 2021

Westmount Records: Dave Liske, Denny Eddy (1975), Bob Hoy and the Badlanders

It's taking us so long to get through these boxes of Calgary singles that we're... well, adding more singles into the collection as we go. And so have to catch up on a few new Westmount Records releases that we want to catch up on.

This is another mixed bag - there's some easy listening pop from Bob Hoy and the Badlanders (honestly, we were really hoping this one would be straight up garage rock with that name), another single from country singer Denny Eddy (trigger warning on the A side of that one - it maybe hasn't aged well), and a bit more country from Dave Liske. The Liske record is pretty decent - although the A side of our copy is a bit rough.

But you're probably getting used to that with these singles.

Monday 18 October 2021

Peter Lougheed/Ron Ghitter - NOW! (1971)


Well, here's a super oddball record in observance of election day. Both sides of this record are spoken word pieces by Albertan politicians, former Premier Peter Lougheed and Calgary-Buffalo MLA Ron Ghitter. This is a pretty fascinating piece - this must have been produced to support the PC party's run in the 1971 election. A few pieces jump out as a stark contrast to our current provincial government - most notably Lougheed's interest in listening to the people of the province. But was this record effective in drumming up support for Ghitter and the conservatives? 

Sunday 17 October 2021

Stanley Anderson - Metric Blues/Pierre, Sing It To The Monkeys/Take These Chains From My Heart (1981)


Well, with tomorrow's municipal election comes a pair of incredibly meaningless referendum questions, neither of which are in the domain of the provincial government that is sponsoring them (but still, we encourage you wholeheartedly to VOTE THUNDERS). In celebration of that, today's feature is what we like to call an "old man shouting at cloud" record. On the first side of this single, Anderson complains about having to adopt the metric system, while turning his poison pen to the first Prime Minister Trudeau on the B side. We don't understand the punch line, "the next time you get ready to hit the campaign trail, take Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones with you" - maybe there's another, unreleased song complaining that rock music is too loud?

Update: there is.. kind of!? We've added a Doug Wong Music-manufactured single from 1981. We think "Sing It To The Monkeys" is a critique of the Gary Lee & Showdown classic "The Rodeo Song," which was a solid hit in our upper elementary school days. Anderson is perhaps a big unkind to Gary Lee's fans, but hey, that's the music business. 

Get your double dose of crochetiness (sp?) here.

Saturday 16 October 2021

Chris Kay - Alberta (1983), Ed Preston - A Song For Alberta

We have no idea how or why we keep missing records in our collection. Somehow we missed these two Alberta-themed country records back when we were in our Alberta song phase. We can't tell you anything about either of these artists. Ed Preston apparently hails from Claresholm, and the Chris Kay record has addresses in both Calgary (on the first side) and Reno, Nevada (on, well, the other first side). 

But you can get them here

Thursday 14 October 2021

Triple Threat - Official Bootleg (Limited Edition) (1992)

We're still in the habit of trawling through the thrift stores, and this recent score is a good example of why. Triple Threat brought together local blues legends Johnny V and Tim Williams, along with harmonica player Bo Travis. It's a pretty great match of talents.

Get their debut (bootleg!?) tape here.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Wooden Crib - Demo

Here's a tape without a j-card that comes to us courtesy of Marc Donnelly, former drummer with Wooden Crib. Donnelly couldn't pin down the exact year of this tape, but we're putting our money on 1995, as that's the year the band played at Max Café for the annual Garage Wars.

Once we got past that line up (so many favourites!) we scratched our heads for a bit - we're not sure that we remember any of the band members playing in other projects other than Ed Tiegs, who went on to play both bass with Zuckerbaby.

Get the Wooden Crib demo here!

Monday 11 October 2021

Manhattan Jump Blues Revue - The BBQ Sessions (1994)

We're going to take a bit of a break from the 7" singles and get back to our original raison d'être with a few tapes that have shown up here at the CCPS in recent months. First up is one that we were super excited to get - huge thanks to Mike Fischer for passing this our way.

The Mantattan Jump Blue Revue was the precursor to local fixtures The Dino Martinis (we heard Don McSwiney dishing the goods on the band on the CBC morning show just last week!). We knew the Manhattans made an appearance on the very excellent Play compilation, but we didn't know they had released a full cassette - until Mike graciously ripped his copy for us. This is pretty great stuff, and what we really remember the early days of the Dino Martinis for - high-energy, super fun, er, jump blues. We're usually a bit wary of bands who state their genre in their name, which is maybe why they changed their name very shortly after the release of this tape.

Fix yourself a good cocktail and grab the download!

Sunday 10 October 2021

Red Richards - Fuddle Duddle Boys (1983), Kirk Orr - Jimmie Lee the RCMP (1985), Gus von der Spindrift Und The Four Tops - So Schön Ist Canada




Picking up on yesterday's name-checking of oddball artists that had work released on Doug Wong Music, today's trio is our last batch of singles on the Calgary label. We've got a anti-Trudeau protest record (a perennial Albertan thing) courtesy of Red Richards, a weird comedic pastiche from Kirk Orr (we just got the cover art, and there's a Heart Records logo on the back - weird!), and... we can't quite tell if the Gus von der Spindrift single is serious or a send-up of the love of Germans for Calgary and the Rocky Mountains. 

The article below fast forwards to the mid 2000's, a few years before he retired from the music industry.

Which remind us, we have a BUNCH of CDs from 2001 that we should get to posting. But we still have a few more singles to get through. Like today's!

Saturday 9 October 2021

Janice Jaud - Far Away (1981), Danny Daniels - Reach Out (1983), Buddy Lawson and the Good, Bad, and Ugly - Do You Wanna Dance?

Today's trio of Doug Wong Music singles is another batch we can't tell you a whole lot about. So, let's get back to more coverage of Wong and his work. The article from below - published the same year as the Janice Jaud single we're posting today - does a great job of itemizing the work Wong was coordinating for bands through his office (just a block away from where Canada Disc and Tape would end up a few years later):

We also like the mix of local artists name-checked in the article: favourites like the Unusuals and Richard Harrow, plus oddballs like auctioneer Ken Kanten and hypnotist Ben Ziv! That oddball mix is largely why we're so drawn to the output of Doug Wong Music.

Get today's singles here!

Friday 8 October 2021

Earthshine (1982), Dee-Dee Locker (1984), Diamondback (1986), John McNeil/Gwen Johnson

We're getting into the part of the Doug Wong Music-released singles in our collection where we can't tell you a whole lot about the artists. Some of these artists were staples of the bar/lounge theme, others were... well, we have no idea. This batch of four singles is country-ish fare - for us, this high point is the Earthshine single; the A side, "No Lookin' Back" is a pretty great track.

Since we can't tell you much about the artists, we'll focus instead on the man who helped get these records into the world. Wong's first foray into the recording world was the legendary Dove Project No. 9 compilation, which was produced while he was still studying at Crescent Heights High School. We're not sure exactly what he did right after high school, but in 1975 he scored a position at Sound West Studios/Westmount Records doing A&R work:

The exact starting point of the Doug Wong Music label is a bit elusive to us - we have records Wong produced in 1979 on a bunch of different labels; Aurora Records, Ghostrax RecordsWizKids Records, and (maybe?) Doug Wong Music. The sheer number of production credits in that time is pretty impressive. And there were more to come, of course!

Including one of these singles today!

Thursday 7 October 2021

Lori Southwood - Alberta/Cindy (1980)


Speaking of things we should have posted earlier... we're not sure how we missed this single from Lori Southwood when we were in our "celebration of Alberta" phase last month. We're making things right (maybe?) now by posting this record - which feels like it might have been out of step with the times, even for 1980. This celebration of our province is a piano and accordion-driven thing that sounds more like the 1940's or 50's - all the more accentuated on the instrumental B side.

Still, an Alberta song is an Alberta song!

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Janan Frances - If The Good Lord Is Willin', Highway Fever

Well, today's post sees us picking up a ball that we dropped waaaaay back in January of this year. We posted a demo tape of jazz-styled tunes from Janan Frances and hinted that we were going to let you in on her country sounds. Well, we completely missed posting the single on the Access to the Industry label that we had - which means some of you have likely be hanging in suspense since then. 

To make up for it, we're also posting a single she released via Doug Wong Music. As a bonus bonus, the back cover of this single ballyhoos Frances' transition from jazz (boooooo!) to country (yaaaayyy!). 

Good thing we're running through these singles, it's at least helping us correct our own mistakes.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Jessie Burns - All From Loving You (1982)

Ah, simpler times. This Doug Wong Music-manufactured single from Jessie Burns takes us back to those days. Back when, say, a local writer could pretty much focus an entire article on the artists' press kit. Nothing like juxtaposing a Juno nomination with the titillating prospect of nudie pix:

Well, maybe those of us in CCPS-branded glass houses shouldn't thrown rocks (or something). Ultimately, Burns' career didn't go beyond her one LP and handful of singles.  

Get the picture here.

Monday 4 October 2021

Rick Worrall - You're The Right One For Me/Midnight Fantasy (1982)

On we go with the Doug Wong Music singles, and this one from singer/songwriter Rick Worrall. Prior to this single on his own Manque records imprint (and an accompanying LP), Worrall put out an album on Attic Records - only to hit the disillusionment of the music biz, and coming back to Calgary to refocus:

This single certainly isn't pure Phil Collins - there's maybe too much of a folkie influence. But it's still firmly in the land of AOR/soft rock - the A side is especially well-produced and lush.

Get it here!

Sunday 3 October 2021

Danny Mack - Debbie Delight/Rodeo Fool, You Didn't Walk Out On Me (You Just Beat Me To The Door)/I'm Not Leaving (1981)

Here's a pair of singles on Alberta Crude Records, a custom imprint that country singer Danny Mack set up and had pressed via Doug Wong Music. These are a great pair of singles - and not just for the truly amazing song title, "You Didn't Walk Out On Me (You Just Beat Me To The Door)." Mack heads straight for the cliché, but makes a left turn steers thru potential cheesiness with some top notch honky tonkin'. Of course, our high regard for Mack is probably coloured by this review by the late, great James Muretich:

But you can judge for yourself here.

Saturday 2 October 2021

Nitebreaker - Love Starved/It'll Take Time (1981), Thank You Love/Too Much In Love (1982)

One of the fun things about the singles with DWM catalogue numbers is the number that were put out on a different label, though still manufactured through Doug Wong Music (even better: the number that use the same font as this record). These two on Whirled Records (nyuk nyuk) come from bar band Nitebreaker. 

The first of these singles is pretty reasonable - "Love Starved" wouldn't have been out of place with other new wave-influenced CanCon rock hits of the early 80's. The second single is deep into the soft rock territory - the label plays up singer Renie Brown, which makes us wonder if she was headed towards a solo career... sadly, our search for more info has yielded nothing.

So just grab the download, okay?

Friday 1 October 2021

Nan and the Pan - Night Light/On Thin Ice (1985), Me and My Soul (1987)

Today's pair of Doug Wong Music singles comes to us courtesy of Nan and the Pan, which appears to have been a band/project centred around vocalist John Nania and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Pan Sciore. While the first single is a pretty reasonable pair of pop rock tracks, it's the second of this pair that really got our attention. "Me and My Soul" is a total lost gem of new wave CanCon - maybe it's the synthesized harmonica/accordion, but this track feels like an outtake from The The's classic LP Soul Mining (one of our desert island discs, even though it's not CalgCon). Honestly, it's so good it really earns the two mixes on this single.

It looks like Sciore is still active, having released a solo CD in 2016 and playing with the Bluesland Horn Band. Neither of which sound like The The.

Get the singles here!