Saturday, May 13, 2006

Motherless Thursday

The picture above was taken in 1972 with my wonderful adopted mom, Jill Blain, who many of my early musician buddies remember well because she used to feed them and give them cigarettes. This photo shoot was part of an elaborate media blitz to promote the release of a song I wrote called "Don't Forget Your Mother". It was all a bit premature and I found myself in Andre Perry's studio recording this tune with some musical heavies before I had ever performed it in public and in fact, before I had ever done a gig as anything but a quiet sideman. The song was never released, mostly due to my intractability and embarassment about my singing, but after all these years, I'm willing to share it with you all. You can hear it at www.myspace/brianblain. I don't sound anything like that anymore.

Here's the press release, if you wanted to know more:

Harrison Kennedy joins Brian Blain for his Annual Motherless Day Blues Concert Thursday, May 18 at the Free Times Café

In 1970, Brian returned to Quebec after doing time in an Ontario ad agency. That summer I began writing songs. One of them was called “Don’t Forget Your Mother” and I would perform it as a “novelty feature” with the groups I was playing with. Montreal producer Andre Perry heard the song and signed me to his fledgling label. Perry, famous for recording John & Yoko’s “Give Peace a Chance” was not known for doing things in half measures and he brought in Los Angeles producer Frazier Mohawk and arranged to record the song with Frank Zappa’s Mothers when they came through Montreal on the “Petit Wazou” tour.

Zappa declined to participate but most of the band played including Tom “Bones” Malone, known for his later work with the Blues Brothers and The Band and drummer Jim Gordon, member of Derek and the Dominoes and co-writer (with Eric Clapton) of “Layla” (Gordon later killed his mother in a schizophrenic episode, but that’s another story). The recording was a massive undertaking with an orchestra conducted by Otto Armin, a boys choir and back-up vocals by members of the Manhattan Transfer but due to some legal entanglements and my own tendency to shoot myself in the foot, it was never released. You can hear an mp3 of “Don’t Forget Your Mother” at

Since then, I always try to find an occasion to perform the song on or near Mothers’ Day. Last year, I christened the Thursday after Mothers' Day as Motherless Thursday, a day of remembrance for those who have lost their mother or never knew her.

This will be a great opportunity to hear the phenomenal harrison Kennedy in a small, intimate setting. Harrison, based in Hamilton, does not make a lot of appearances in Toronto, but he’s been touring heavily in Europe and making a solid reputation as a “deep blues” real-deal bluesman. I first met in an after-hours jam session at a music conference and I've been looking forward to sharing the bill with him ever since. I Hope you can come out for this one

The details:

Colorblind Blain's Motherless Day Blues Concert
With Special Guest Harrison Kennedy
Thursday, May 18 9PM
Free Times café
320 College St. Toronto