BLOGGING AND VLOGGING FROM CANADA'S BEST KNOWN UNDISCOVERED OLD WHITE BLUESMAN

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

I was just sitting back on the couch listening to the new live album by Mainline. It sounds fabulous from the next room, tighter than what I heard live when I just dropped by the Hard Rock Cafe where they were having their CD launch. They're allowed to be loose - they're Mainline for fuck's sake. I split right after the first set and didn't have a chance to say hi to Mike or Bob Adams, their harp player who is kind of a new kid on that block. I met bob when he was part of the crew filming the Danny Marks Stormy Monday blues jams at Albert's Hall.

Back to the Mailnline story, I was so happy to meet Ted Purdy. I reminded him that 30 years ago we were both auditioning to play bass with McKenna Mendelson Mainline. He must have been very young (so was I, I guess) but he had a bass (I remembered it was a Rickenbacker) and I didn't. Anyway I reminded him how much I appreciated it when he let me use his bass and congratulated him on getting the gig. When I suggested he had benefiited with a lot of work with the band he corrected me and said "with Joe" and I guess that's where I've seen his name over the years.



Now I'm thinking maybe he wasn't so thrilled to let a stranger (and competitor) use his bass. Maybe there was some pressure because, I think I arrived with Joe himself. If I recall correctly, we came directly from a recording session I was producing for the folk group Fraser & DeBolt. Joe had played some harmonica on the album - he and Daisy had been friends from her first days in Toronto. That project was the first paying customer at Manta Sound - then the brand-new, starte-of-the-art, money-is-no-object ultimate recording studio. And now it's been gutted - the condo contractors are probably using it as a workshop & office until it, too, gets torn down.



Anyway I was glad I made it to a bit of the Mainline Party. I couldn't believe the venue! It's above the Hard Rock Cafe and the inside glass walls look down on the legendary restaurant , where there's even a radio booth where they broadcast "classic rock radio". Big stage, lights, large capacity room - and I hear they've been packing it for the Saturday afternoon matinee - Mary deKeyzer's Melody Ranch.



All week end - since Thursday - I've been getting to shows just in time to hear the closing chord and thundrous applause. Thursday was a group from cuba & montreal and Friday was a french/afro band. I would have loved to see both, but it was not to be. Then on Saturday - I should have gone to see Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels at Healeys. The publicist had even given me a pair of tickets...and I forgot completely. I can't keep track of these things. I can hardly keep track of my own gigs!



The reason I was delayed on Thursday was because I dropped in to the Tranzac to see how the Thursday nights were going now that they replaced my Acoustic Blues nights with some very scronky jazz. Well the scronk did seem to be doing a little better that I - especially getting out young people (who tend to drink other than tea and a lot of it). Saw Victor Bateman sitting in with the group on bass and I remembered what a pleasure it is to play with that gentleman. Saturday night I went to hear Johnnie Johnson, the piano player behind all those Chuck Berry hits. There he is at 81 - still having to get out and play the blues circuit. It makes you wonder. I hope he's doing it because he wants to. The performance had me wondering how much he *wants to*. I took a walk down to Grossmans and there I heard a set by Mark "Bird" Stafford - playing and singing better than I've ever heard him. He had that hot young guitarist Darren Poole with him. I'll tell more about it later - or not. Time to crash. We4 started pre-production on the 1st of December and I intend to have an album by the end of the month. Wer'll keep you informed.