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Pril 2022 – Loose Blues News

Published March 31, 2022 in Loose Blues News

Memphis Calling: Congratulations to Bywater Call who who were just selected to represent the Grand River Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. They rocked Stonewalls in Hamilton along with the Paul Coombs Band, Riley Michaels, Frank Cosentino, Garnetta & Dagroovmasters, Long Black Cadillacs and Jim Dan Dee for a memorable showcase of Southern Ontario blues talent. 

Folk Music Awards: After a two-year absence of live performance, the 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMAs) weekend will be hosted in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and returning to an in-person format for the first time since 2019! Though the CFMAs have gone East and are presented IRL (In Real Life), the rest of the country can still enjoy a streaming option. The week-end kicks off with a Songwriters Circle on Thursday, March 31 and the Awards Show & Concert will be split into two nights, Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2, in-person at The Guild Theatre, the 160-seat black box performance space located in the heart of Charlottetown. Rick Fines and Rob Lutes will provide the blues content at the live awards presentations at The Guild. 

CFMA Co-President Graham Lindsey says, “I am proud that 2022 will see the CFMAs return, safely and with great care, to in-person shows.  We will combine live and virtual performances in our free live stream of all events to ensure everyone unable to travel to PEI feels part of the event.  We are doing a lot to make this a special show for all, whether joining us virtually or in Charlottetown”. For those who are unable to attend in person, the events will also stream via CFMA’s website, (English) and (Francais) and on Facebook and CFMA’s Youtube channel. 

Doc MacLean heading home:  After a lengthy tour of South Africa (which now qualifies as his second home) Doc MacLean will be back in Canada by the time you read this, starting with gigs on the East Coast. His last post from SA paints a colourful picture of his time over there: 

“Cape Town, SA. I’m at Bree and Shortmarket St. I’m loaded in for tonight’s show: I’m in the heart of South Africa’s wheel. I’m sound checked. I’m killing an hour as the sun slowly creeps around Table Mountain. I’m breathing in the hint of night air: tasting it: air crisp with hints of busy kitchens, of perfume, of the blue exhaust of delivery bikes, of cigarettes and marijuana, of sour gutters and slop. Fela Kuti is on the street side speakers, the music drifting, driving, teasing. I’m sitting with an implausible collection of gay Germans, Irish writers, Nigerian hustlers: these last in monotone, flash flash suits: shoes and teeth gleeming in the failing light: the neon is rising to meet the occasion. Mobba’s waiting for her date: she smiles: she’s wearing silver bangles on her thin arms: her lips are red: and the night is already fixed in her eyes: bits of red and silver and neon: fleeting: and now: the others: the impossibly beautiful: arriving by Uber: ordering wine and oysters. And in front: the hopeless shuffling by in rags and blankets: hands out: dreaded: some barefoot: looking: her breast: his cock: totally exposed: thin bodies that fit the shadows perfectly. We watch each other: this dance of hunger and desire: hunger and desire. The wealth of the sidewalk displayed against the rough brick pavements. And inside: we watch each other: and we are hungry, too. For excitement. For a buzz. For a piece of this street: for a piece of action: a piece of flesh: just a piece. Now: they’ve paid. They are waiting for the jazz: for the blues: to cement the deal and sweep us away, to suck us up and meld us to this scene forever: forever playing our parts in this dance: rising and falling in a tide of youth and age, of having and having not: of desiring and being desired. Aroused: in tight pants. The tactical squad outside. The drummers and street dancers. 

Soon, I’ll tune and smear some blues across this night: my guitar as a mirror, my voice as temporary as the look in Mobba’s eyes.

You can follow Doc’s adventures on his Facebook Page,

Stones at the ElMo: Rolling Stone (the magazine) reports that The Rolling Stones (the band) will be releasing a live recording of their legendary two-night stand at the El Mocambo — a pair of secret shows the band performed under the name ‘The Cockroaches.’  Live at the El Mocambo features the entirety of the Stones’ — or the Cockroaches’ — March 5, 1977 gig. As legend has it, the El Mocambo shows were announced as headlining gigs for April Wine, with the unknown Cockroaches set to open the shows; it wasn’t until fans arrived on March 4 did they realize that April Wine were in fact the opening act, and the Cockroaches were the Stones.

The surprise shows featured a mix of hits (“Let’s Spend the Night Together,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar”), blues covers (“Little Red Rooster,” “Mannish Boy,” “Worried Life Blues”), tracks from their then-new album Black and Blue (“Hot Stuff,” “Hand of Fate,” “Melody”) and the first-ever performance of “Worried About You,” a song that would resurface four years later on 1981’s Tattoo You.

Live at the El Mocambo, due out May 13 and available to preorder now, will come in a variety of formats, including double CD, digitally, 4-LP black vinyl and a 4-LP neon vinyl set.

Closing Chords: Two seminal figures in the early days (some might say the Golden Days) of the Toronto music scene have passed away. Eric Mercury, the Canadian singer-songwriter died last week in Montreal after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Eric Mercury launched his career in the late 1950s just as Toronto’s music scene started to catch fire with a growing number of hot live venues. He joined local band the Pharaohs before stepping to the front of the stage in the Soul Searchers, an act where he shared top billing with fellow lead singer Dianne Brooks. By the late 1960s, he had moved to New York to pursue a solo career and released an energetic debut album Electric Black Man. Three more solo records followed in the 1970s. Mercury would later join Stevie Wonder to co-write a song for Roberta Flack.

The Toronto Star obituary for Peter Goddard starts with, “The finest music journalist that Canada produced has died.” He was the Toronto Star’s full-time pop music critic from 1972 to 1988 and began writing in The Varsity in 1966, jumping to pop music critic for the Globe and Mail before joining the Toronto Telegram in 1967 and then the Toronto Star in 1972. During his first year at the Star, he became the last music critic to win a Juno Award for Music Journalist of the Year before the category was discontinued.

John Ferri, who was the Star’s entertainment editor for part of Goddard’s tenure said, “He was the first of a great line of music writers at the Star that included, among others, Greg Quill, Mitch Potter, John Sakamoto and Ben Rayner.”

Larry LeBlanc, wrote  “Nobody’s vocabulary and skill set was as sharp as his…Peter Goddard was simply the dean of Toronto writers at a very rich time, when the city was evolving as a music centre.”

He was a fine piano player who sat in with some of the rock and blues bands he covered and wrote over 20 books including “Ronnie Hawkins: Last of the Good Ol’ Boys.” His forthcoming memoir, “My Private Rock ’n’ Roll,” will be published by House of Anansi at some point this year.  Read Nick Krewen’s comprehensive obituary in the Toronto Star.

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