Record Shows This Weekend

Are you going to be in St. Catharines, Ontario or St. John’s, Newfoundland on Sunday, June the 2nd, 2019? Then you might like to pop in the local record shows that are happening in these cities.

Both events will be occurring at their respectful Holiday Inns :

St. Catharines Record Show / Holiday Inn, 327 Ontario St. / 10:30am-4pm / $4 Admission
Record Fair / Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Road / 10am-4pm / $2 Admission

World Book Day 2019

It’s World Book Day so I thought i’d write about what books I read the most. And of course these are usually music biographies and books on Canadian music history and the music industry itself.

When it comes to music biographies, my favourites are usually autobiographies or semi-autobiographies like “Freddie Mercury: His Life in His Own Words” by Greg Brooks and Simon Lupton, “My Story, My Dream” by Celine Dion, “U2 by U2” by U2, “Somebody To Love?: A Rock & Roll Memoir” by Grace Slick, “Kicking & Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock & Roll” by Ann & Nancy Wilson, “Lips Unsealed: A Memoir” by Belinda Carlisle, “Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir” by Pat Benatar and “I am Ozzy” by Ozzy Osbourne.

The first music biography I had purchased was David Frike’s “Animal Instincts”, the official but unfortunately now out of print Def Leppard biography I had ordered using a coupon from my “Hysteria” cassette in the late 80’s. And although I have bought the odd unofficial Abba, Alanis Morissette and Freddy Mercury biographies, I prefer official releases from the artists themselves.

My very favourite Canadian music related books are usually about its history, like “The History of Canadian Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Bob Mercereau, “Is This Live?: Inside the Wild Early Years of MuchMusic: The Nation’s Music Station” by former Much Music VJ and “Black Velvet” composer Christopher Ward, “Music from Far and Wide: Celebrating 40 Years of the JUNO Awards” by various authors and “Oh Canada What a Feeling: A Musical Odyssey” by Martin Meluish. But unfortunately my favourite Canadian charting reference material from Nanda Lwin, namely “Top 40 hits: The essential chart guide” and “Top Albums: The Essential Chart Guide” can now only be found at certain public libraries, along with Rick Jackson’s “Encyclopedia of Canadian, Rock, Pop and Folk Music”.

Those are great resources if you’re looking for information on the Canadian music scene from the 1960’s to 2000’s and i’m happy to have secured copies of these books before they went out of print.

Another one of my out of print faves is the second edition, second printing of “Some Straight Talk About The Music Business” by Mona Coxson, one of the few books that explained the Canadian music industry’s inner workings before the release of “The Indie Band Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Breaking a Band” by Moist guitarist Mark Makoway in 2001.

“Music, Money, and Success: The Insider’s Guide to the Music Industry” by Jeffrey and Todd Brabec had covered the Canadian industry, in general. But this was a book that concentrated on the American and international music businesses.

I highly recommend the newly released 8th Edition of that book to anyone who wants to know how the industry now works, along with Steve Knopper’s “Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age” to know what went wrong in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Those are pretty much my very favourite music related books in my personal library.

I hope that you will find these recommendations interesting.

Ontario Event Ticket Update

The provincial government of Ontario has removed the price cap on resold tickets in that province and increased fines for violators of the Ticket Sales Act, from $10,000 to $25,000.

The prohibitions related to scalper bots remain but the requirement for sellers to disclose the number of tickets they have available has also been removed.

The newly elected government had paused the implementation of the act in July 2018 and had promised consultations.

Click here for the Consumer Protection Ontario site on “Buying tickets to events in Ontario”.

Record Store Day 2019

It’s International Record Store Day! Click here for a list of participating retailers in your community or click here for a list of releases for Canada.

International Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day and I thought i’d mention one of the most underrated female Canadian artists of all time, Lubomyra Kowalchyk – Also known as Luba.

Outside of Canada Luba is primarily known for her works on the “9 ½ Weeks” film soundtrack, namely “Let It Go” and “The Best Is Yet To Come”. But she has had numerous hit singles in Canada from January 1983 to May 2000, including “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “Giving Away A Miracle”,  “How Many (Rivers To Cross)”, “Little Salvation”, “Storm Before The Calm”, “Everytime I See Your Picture” and “Innocent (with an explanation)”. 

From 1985 to 1990 she was nominated for 11 Juno Awards, winning three consecutive Juno Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year from 1985 to 1987 and a Juno Award for Best Video in 1986 for “How Many (Rivers to Cross)“.

She also won two Casby Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1986 and 1987, a Félix award for Dance Record of The Year for “Let It Go” and a Black Music Association Award for Female Entertainer of the Year. And she also  received two gold singles, four gold albums and three platinum albums from the Canadian Recording Industry Association for physical album sales in Canada from February 1985 to November 1991, which includes a platinum award for “Over 60 Minutes With“, one of the first compact discs I had purchased in the late 80’s.

This 16 track greatest hits compilation featured all of my favourite tracks from her previous two Capital/EMI Music Canada albums and both “The Best Is Yet To Come” and cover of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” so it had become one of my favourite albums from the period. 

Her subsequent Capital/EMI Music Canada album, 1989’s “All Or Nothing“, also had a few great tracks, mainly her singles from the album (“Giving Away A Miracle”, “Little Salvation” and “No More Words”). But this was her last studio album release for a decade, other that the 1995 re-release of “Chain Reaction“, her pop rock debut from 1980.

This re-release has some good tracks, my favourites tracks being “I Stand Alone” and “Seems Like A Dream” (which reminds me of Pat Benatar’s recordings from the early 80’s).  But I preferred her next release, 2000’s “From The Bitter To The Sweet“, which was released on an indie label and included “Is She A lot Like Me”, “Let Me Be The One”, “Sorry” and title track.

Unfortunately of all of her albums only two remain in print on compact disc, “Chain Reaction” and “Icon“, a 12 track greatest hits package that was released in 2014 by Universal Music Canada. But these can be downloaded legally from iTunes Canada and Google Play or streamed legally from Apple Music and Spotify, although it should be noted that Luba’s official web site claims the “Ten Best” release available on Google Play and Spotify is unauthorized and should not be purchased or streamed.

Personally, if I would choose 20 of my very favourite Luba tracks from the Spotify catalog i’d choose the ones i’ve compiled in this Spotify Playlist, adding a few more tracks from her “From The Bitter To The Sweet” album to complete the collection. But if you have a chance to buy her albums on compact disc or vinyl, I highly recommend it.

In Memory of Kenny Maclean

In memory of Kenny MacLean
January 9, 1956 – November 24, 2008