Archive for 2009

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Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills – 1963

December 3, 2009


Click on the above picture to enlarge

Band: Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills
Release: Country Jamboree
Format: LP Album
Year: 1963
Formed: 1958
Label: Arc Records
Genre: Country Music

Ray Francis on vocals on side one.
01
. Crying In The Deep Blue Sea
02. I’ve Got A Right To Know
03. A House With Everything But Love
04. I’ll Kiss The Fast GoodBye
05. The Same Old Me
06. All Over Again

John Tengelis on vocals on side two.
07
. Toujour Moi
08. I Can’t Run Away From Myself
09. Three Hearts In A Triangle
10. Anymore
11. A Dime Worth Of Dreams
12. Carribean

Band members:
Ray Francis, Bill Taylor, John Tangelis, Ray Dauphin, Max Dauphin

 This is the first of two albums Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills recorded. Ray went on to record four solo records also.

Liner Notes:
  “A recording company in the run of a year auditions many artists in order to find the top talent required for recording. As soon as Arc Records heard Ray Francis and The Whippoorwills they immediately recognized that here was one of the most professional sounding country bands in the land. This long play album is the result”
  The Whippoorwills have been together as a unit for five years and for the past three years have been heard regularly on radio station C.F.C.O. in Chatham, Ontario, the group’s home base. The band has toured with Grand Ole Opry, stars such as Ray Price; Johnny Cash; Brenda Lee and many others, both in Canada and the United States.
  The next goal that Ray Francis and his talented band are aiming for is their own weekly television show, and if talent and showmanship is the key to their goal, they are certain to succeed.

2009 Update by S. Beaulieu
  The band started out making $3 a night in the late 1950’s. They went on to do a weekly radio show for CFCO which ran for five years, beginning in 1960. Francis worked hard and persistently to promote the band to people with connections in the industry. Country star Jim Reeves was quick to help the band when he heard them, stating that they were the best he had heard anywhere in Canada.
  In 1963 they recorded their first LP ‘Country Jamboree’ in Toronto.  In those days, recordings were simply the band circled around a single microphone. There were no overdubs or room for error on a take.  Musicianship mattered.
By researching Ray
   I found and bought this album one day before going to interview Ray. It turns out Ray had a copy of all his albums except this first one. It was posted online from a Holland Street home in Chatham, so I drove over and bought it and then gave it to Ray. I thought that was pretty cool. He gets a copy of his first album, and I get to meet and learn about a local musician who was a real go-getter and made things happen for his music and love of it.

Photography: Des Dollery

Click to listen to the Preview.

If video does not appear, click here.

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1955 Musical Instrument Teachers

December 1, 2009

    In 1955, Mid-City Music Centre was the host to many high quality musical instructors. The Centre was located on 37 Fourth Street, in Chatham.

    You could go there to learn how to play a variety of instruments including piano (classical and modern) , drums, saxophone, clarinet,  guitar, accordion, trumpet, trombone (several brass instruments), string bass, and violin.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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The Shreve Trio 1940

November 30, 2009

Group: The Shreve Trio
Home: Chatham Ontario Canada
Circa:  1940’s
Members:  Artis, Norma, and Carol Shreve

  The three sisters began singing in the C.C.I. High School Glee Club which turned into performances at high school concerts.
  Their talents were taken further when their director (Bessie Bracken) decided to take them on the road as a trio. From there, they played for radio and movie theatres.
  The sisters got together and sang once again at their family reunion in 1999 at the former fugitive slave settlement at North Buxton ON.

2009 Update:
Artis:  (now Artis Lane) went on to become a well known artist, and award-winning African American sculptor and painter. Her works were included on the sets of the “Cosby Show” (Bill Cosby’s hit television series in the 1980’s). There is plenty of information on her art online if you wish to read further. At age 21, Artis moved to Detroit and married.


If video does not appear, watch it here.

Visit Artis online here.

Source: Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, You Tube, Artis Lane & Jim Shreve.
By S. Beaulieu
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Wilf Lancaster Orchestra 1967

November 29, 2009

 

Wilf Lancaster Orchestra 1967


Thank You to Wilf’s daughter Cheryl, who replied to the archive with this great information.

  My dad began playing the drums in bands in and around Chatham about the mid to late ’30s.  He played at Erie Beach, and in Chatham the band played at a couple of outdoor dance pavilions during the summer and the Pyranon Ballroom as well. 

  This was war time and dances were held most evenings.  As I mentioned to you in an earlier e-mail, big bands were playing in Detroit and the Chatham Musicians’ Union agent would travel to Detroit, meet with the band’s booking agent, and if and when a convenient day was determined, that band would travel to Chatham to play a one-night gig.  The Musicians’ Union rules at the time dictated that if an out-of-country band was playing, an equal number of Canadian musicians had to be on hand at the dance hall and paid according to union wages.  As dad’s band was the house band at the Pyranon Ballroom, he and his musicians were paid to be in attendance and to play during the big name band’s intermission.

Click to enlarge

  In 1966, dad began putting his dream of a band reunion together with several of the old members.  The First Annual Reunion of the Big Band Sound of Wilf Lancaster was held in October, 1966.  The curtain rose to the playing of ‘With A Song In My Heart’ (his theme song chosen in 1938).  The hall was absolutely packed.  I was indeed privileged to be a part of that night, as my dad had included a part for organ in the arrangements.  The band went on to play monthly gigs at the Pyranon and were hired to play at various clubs’ annual dances.

  Due to poor health, he was forced to give up playing.  On Friday, November 13th, 1970, the curtain came down on the band.  As we were playing the theme song for the very  last time, I looked over at my dad and saw one big tear trickling down each cheek.  It was all I could do to keep playing.  On that night, the baton was handed over to Fred Foster (now deceased) and Bill Pritchard.

  Dad passed away in June 1973, but I know he would be so very happy to know that his band continued to play well into the 90s, under the name of ‘The Lancaster Band’.

(The full band picture was taken in 1967 at the Kinsmen Auditorium.)
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Jani Jakovac 2004 CD

November 29, 2009

Artist: Jani Jakovac
CD Release: Take Cover
Year: 2004
Home: Chatham Ontario
Resides: Vancouver

Notes: Jani records a collection of songs by other artists that she likes, which makes “Take Cover” a great  name for this collection of covers.

Bio:
Who is this Jani anyhow? Where has she been hiding? Well, actually it is Jani (jay-nee) Jakovac (jack-o-vack) but who she is can be as tricky as the name. Because she is many things. She is a singer, songwriter, pianist, actor and an athlete to name a few. She’s funny, she’s intense, she’s energetic, she’s controlled, she’s sweet, but don’t ever get on her bad side…not so sweet. She is chic while she owns 6 pairs of slippers and wears flannels to bed. Clearly, she is a Gemini with issues.
          She studied drama and played varsity volleyball at the University of Guelph in Ontario. The day after graduating, she moved to Vancouver to pursue an acting career. This led her to few acting roles and many bartending jobs. She then moved to Europe to benefit from something else she had put many years into…. volleyball.  She played and coached professionally in Denmark for three years.
          So, that was where she’s been “hiding”. If hiding was her intent, this would be about the only place this 6 foot blonde could have remained inconspicuous. But inconspicuous she definitely was not when she was hopping up on stages in Copenhagen and joining bands in impromptu performances.
          Growing up in a house that thrived on music, it was always a part of her, a necessary element of her being. She knew she could sing, but strangely enough, she did not think it was “a big deal”. And since the only people that had ever heard her sing were friends and family, Jani assumed that they were merely being polite when they told her that she had talent. Belting out the blues or luring people into a trance with her sultry sounds was just her own act of passion. But the response to her music made it undeniably clear that people wanted to hear more. The music she writes is a soulful mix of the different styles she grew up listening to. The diverse music she appreciated were just a turn of the radio dial away from one another. The stations were numerous. The stations were from Detroit.
          She grew up in the small city of Chatham, Ontario, 45 minutes over the border from the Motown.  Her influences, ranging from classical to funk, are revealed in every song that she writes. Her often autobiographical lyrics leave audiences thankful for the living she has done. No, music has not been the only part of Jani’s life, but it has been the strongest, most dynamic, most necessary, always with her, traveling to every place she has been. The ever positive, vibrant, energetic Jani, admits that her music is a therapeutic device that she has used for many years to keep the smile on her face.  Audiences are thrilled she has lived enough life to have stories to tell with her songs and young enough to make it interesting.

Visit Jani online. Visit her website to order the CD.
http://thejanireview.tripod.com
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Jani Jakovac 2003 CD

November 29, 2009

Artist: Jani Jakovac
CD Release: This Is Her Life
Style: Vocal and Piano
Year: 2003
Home: Chatham Ontario
Resides: Vancouver

Tracks:
01. this is her life
02. lovin’ you
03. I’d rather be
04. strips me bare
05. she has no name
06. closer
07. something borrowed
08. take it back
09. the score

All music & lyrics by Jani Jakovac
Recorded in Vancouver B.C.
Cover photo by Carmen Day

Notes: This is her second recording, but her first to the public.
  She grew up in the small city of Chatham, Ontario, 45 minutes over the border from the Motown.  Her influences, ranging from classical to funk, are revealed in every song that she writes. Her often autobiographical lyrics leave audiences thankful for the living she has done. No, music has not been the only part of Jani’s life, but it has been the strongest, most dynamic, most necessary, always with her, traveling to every place she has been. The ever positive, vibrant, energetic Jani, admits that her music is a therapeutic device that she has used for many years to keep the smile on her face.  Audiences are thrilled she has lived enough life to have stories to tell with her songs and young enough to make it interesting.

Visit Jani online here.

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Bradley J. Preston 1983

November 28, 2009

Artist: Bradley J. Preston
Release: 45 RPM Single
Year: 1983

Home: Chatham Ontario
Genre: Country vocalist
Born: 1951

Note: This is Bradley’s first professional recording.

Tracks
Side A: In The Spring The Roses Always Turn Red (Dorsey Burnette)
Side B: You Gave Me A Mountain (Marty Robbins)

  Bradley J. Preston is currently a singer with the popular local country band “The Melody Ramblers”.
He has taken an extra step by recording a single and producing 1000 copies at his own expense of $5,000. This effort to branch out has taken Mr. Bradley to a career touring the U.S.A., Canada, and over seas.

  In the 1970’s, Chatham was a hot spot for musicians with around 400 people in the local Union. There were more venues (Clubs, bars, legions etc) to play in Chatham than most surrounding cities offered. Bands would play six nights a week at a venue than move on to the next. They would have the calendar year booked solid before the year started.
  Then, the drinking laws changed and venues were only able to offer bands two to three nights in a row to play. If you wanted to make a living playing music, you now had to travel to find the work. Bradley chose to pursue music and this took him on a journey into places he had never been before. It was a risk, a chance, and an adventure. Bradley went for it. S. Beaulieu

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