Toronto Blues Society | » Loose Blues – December 2019

Loose Blues – December 2019

Published December 1, 2019 in Loose Blues News, News

“Almost” to be inducted into Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame: The first Canadian blues recording ever to sell gold, “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost),” written by The Legendary Downchild Blues Band’s leader and co-founder, Don Walsh, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Friday, November 29, 2019.  The song skyrocketed to international fame when it was covered by The Blues Brothers’ Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi, who were heavily influenced by the Canadian group founded in 1969. The song induction will take place during the band’s 50th Anniversary Party in Ottawa on Nov. 29, featuring special guests Dan Aykroyd, Tony D (MonkeyJunk), Suzie Vinnick and Andy J Forest. 

“It’s such an honour to have “I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost)” chosen to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. When you write a song, you have no idea what kind of effect it will have on people and for some reason this song really connected with fans. Having my friend Dan Aykroyd record it with The Blues Brothers definitely helped give it greater exposure worldwide, which was exciting,” said Don Walsh. “As a songwriter, it’s the ultimate to have one of your songs selected to be in the Hall of Fame, alongside some of the greatest songwriters of our time, not only in Canada but internationally, like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell,  Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young. It just doesn’t get any better than that!”

Downchild first released I’ve Got Everything I Need (Almost), penned by Don Walsh, on their “Straight Up” album in 1973. Their label, GRT, later remixed the cut in 1974 as a 45-rpm single titled Almost, as a follow-up to their first single, the infectious Top 40 hit “Flip, Flop and Fly”. Almost featured Don Walsh’s “York County” on the B side. With its winning combination of “jump” and Chicago blues, “Almost” quickly became a favourite of radio stations in March 1974.

“Almost” led Downchild to tour clubs and colleges extensively in Canada. Further success came when Walsh’s pal Dan Aykroyd covered the hit song with his new act The Blues Brothers on their 1978 album “Briefcase Full of Blues.” The late John Belushi took the vocals, with Aykroyd on harmonica and the expertise of Thunder Bay-born Paul Shaffer (of TV’s David Letterman show) on keyboards. The Blues Brothers’ appearance on TV’s “Saturday Night Live” propelled the album to Billboard’s No. 1 position in February 1979. 

El Mo, Paradise, Victory Nightclub Boom. Toronto night life lovers will be seeing three new offerings in coming weeks and months, all revitalized from good old days in the city’s cultural past.  First up is the 600+ seat Paradise at 1006 Bloor, a 1937 art deco reboot that will house film, theatre, talks and music and eventually including a full service Italian restaurant.  Jason Collett’s Basement review will find this new home for four shows over December but more music is planned.  The Victory Theatre located on the north east corner of Dundas and Spadina will be enjoying a massive renovation by Yorkville (Boa Cafe) promoter Rony Hitti.  Also art deco in design and active as Victory Burlesque as well as the Standard Theatre, the building dates back to 1921.  A 20 year lease is the backbone of the approach that will allow capacity to flex from 1050 down to 600.  Just up the street we have seen reported recently that El Mocambo owner Michael Wekerle has been delayed by permit approvals with the City of Toronto but has one more to go before an early 2020 opening.  The 1910 building evolved into a bar in 1948 and has housed some of the most notorious concerts in Toronto history, from the Stones to Stevie Ray, from Muddy to Wolf. Hopefully the fire breathing dragon will bring blues to his new den.

Silver Dollar Double.  Toronto Star music critic Ben Rayner reported November 15 that former Silver Dollar Room proprietor Dave Yarmus has registered the name and is renovating a Parkdale space below the Fullworth discount store at 1371 Queen Street West, with plans for live music.  The original Spadina Silver Dollar is destined to reopen since Councillor Joe Cressy was amongst those who fought to preserve the sign and has City of Toronto Heritage designation, including stage location and other interior appointments.  Perhaps there will be two Silver Dollar locations in the future.

International Blues Challenge (IBC) Fundraisers: The winners of the TBS Road To Memphis play-offs are preparing for their trip to Memphis. Sandra Bouza Band and Sean Pinchin have set up GoFundMe pages (just go to and search for their names to contribute). The Sandra Bouza Band will also have a Memphis Fundraiser Show on Dec 13th at the Old Nick, at 123 Danforth Ave. Her Facebook page also has a link posted requesting support: “…I have to get my band there (and back!) and I am humbly asking for your help to support the costs of transportation, hotels and food while we are down there representing our great city!” Help these fine musicians reach their goal – every little bit counts.

Grammy Nominations Announced:  Best Contemporary Blues Album: This Land – Gary Clark Jr., Venom & Faith – Larkin Poe, Brighter Days – Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Somebody Save Me – Sugaray Rayford, Keep On – Southern Avenue. Best Traditional Blues Album: Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Tall, Dark & Handsome – Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men, Sitting On Top Of The Blues – Bobby Rush, Baby, Please Come Home – Jimmie Vaughan, Spectacular Class – Jontavious Willis.  Keb’ Mo’s Oklahoma was nominated for Best Americana Album.

Tackling Trans Teen Suicide: Vancouver-based production company Whitehall Entertainment Incorporated has collaborated with Dundas-based Cootes Paradise to produce a groundbreaking music video, “Meant for Something More”, that tackles the controversial subject of trans teen suicide. The video was released via social media to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.  “Meant for Something More” tells the story of a young girl grappling with her gender identity. Her cry for help through a suicide attempt turns her family’s world upside down. But with love, support and compassion, she is able to successfully transition. It’s a beautiful story of a mother-child bond and unconditional love. And most of all, it’s a story of hope. “Our band is very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, and we are honoured to have our song provide the inspirational backdrop to support this important cause,” said Cootes Paradise band founder Lily Sazz. The video is up on YouTube now.

Klunder Art Show: TBS’ resident WBR poster designer Barbara Klunder has a show at InAbstracto gallery, 1160 Queen Street West from December 7 to 22.  BK says, “Embroidery is the art form in making my ‘perfect’ wardrobe. From a jean jacket to a wedding dress, a crocodile scarf, a bird skirt, a raven tunic, a cat & rat shirt, a moon bracelet. A gonzo show.” 

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TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.