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Recent Reviews

Try to Be Happy / Saints and Angels - 7
The Five Shy
Try to Be Happy / Saints and Angels - 7"

Toronto's Five Shy were a rare example of sunshine pop in a city much better known at the time for sweaty, driving r'n'b and guitar-heavy garage-psych. Though the Five Shy are about as close to the bottom of the musical trash heap as you can get these days, they would be even more obscure were it not for the fact that they were fronted by Bill Amesbury, whose AM staple 'Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)' spent a couple of months up in the charts in 1974.

Amesbury was ba...more

Wishbone - Jackie Mittoo
Jackie Mittoo

By the time Jackie Mittoo set foot in Toronto in 1968, his future Wikipedia entry would have already been half-written. The young Jamaican, former Skatalite and child piano prodigy had virtually invented those lithe, carefree rock steady grooves with records like 'Ram Jam' as Jackie Mittoo and the Soul Vendors. He was also instrumental in introducing reggae to North American audiences, lending his keys to such early Johnny Nash hits as 'Hold Me Tight' (1968) and 'Cupid'...more

Black Highways and Green Garden Roads - Lantern
Black Highways and Green Garden Roads

"A result of many oversteeped pots of black tea," is how Lantern's Emily Robb describes Black Highways and Green Garden Roads. The most recent missive from this Philadelphia-based trio (which the good folks over at Fixture assure us contains enough maple syrup to qualify as CanCon) is a caffeine-fuelled excavation of the druggier side of sixties psych, which means plenty of spiralling guitars, loopy harmonies and crisp chords.

The three - actually singer, multi-instr...more

Big City / Moody Manitoba Morning - 7
The Five Bells
Big City / Moody Manitoba Morning - 7"

Anyone alive in the early seventies will no doubt remember - and not necessarily fondly - the Bells' 'Stay Awhile', perhaps the most syrupy love ballad ever to ooze from all those transistor radios. The band responsible for a million doe-eyed teenage girls, and at least as many eye-rolling boyfriends, actually got their start in 1965 in Montreal. It was there that songwriter Cliff Edwards hooked up with South African-born sisters Jacki and Ann Ralph, and along with drummer Doug Grave...more

Ancient History / I've Been Everywhere - 7
Hank Snow
Ancient History / I've Been Everywhere - 7"

Given his wretched childhood, it's a wonder Hank Snow ever sang at all, let alone became Canada's most important country music performer ever.

Born in tiny Brooklyn, Nova Scotia into what could only be described as grinding poverty, Snow at least had the good fortune to have parents who sang, his father "in an amateurish way" and his mother "an accomplished singer" who played piano for silent films at the local theatre and who would sometimes perform in minstrel shows. Unfo...more

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