Posts Tagged ‘mike francis’

h1

Ray Francis 2010

January 1, 2020

rayfrancis_2010

Ontario’s Country Music Pioneers: Ray Francis

Born: February 9, 1931 – Eberts, Ontario
Died: June 30, 2010 – Chatham, Ontario

Based out of Chatham, Ontario, Ray Francis formed his first band The Whippoorwills in the late 1950’s (with John Tangelis, Max Dauphin, Ray Dauphin, and Bill Taylor) and they quickly earned a solid reputation by backing up touring Nashville stars like Ray Price, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, etc., and making appearances on major stages. The Whippoorwills also hosted a “live” show, aired weekly for more than five years over CFCO radio in Chatham. The act recorded two albums in the mid 1960’s: “The Whippoorwills” released on Canatal Records; and “Country Jamboree” on Arc Records.

After the demise of The Whippoorwills group, Ray Francis joined Gary Buck’s touring country band based out of Sault Ste. Marie, and shortly afterwards, returned home to Chatham where he formed his own band, which featured his then-teenage son Mike “Pepe” Francis on lead guitar. The act was short-lived, as Mike Francis was lured away to work major recording sessions in Toronto, and Ray Francis then formed yet another back-up band, The Rancheros.

By the early 1970’s, Ray Francis was also launching a solo recording career with a debut album, “The Country Way”, released on Marathon Records. The lead single, “Restless Woman”, was one of many original songs that Ray Francis recorded during his career. Also in 1973, Ray Francis released the album “An Old Tyme Christmas”; and followed it up with two albums on the Condor Records label: the 1974 “The Two Sides Of Country”; and the 1975 package “The Good Old Days”.

The Condor Records albums yielded several nationally charted singles, including “If Ginny Knew”, which reached #39 on Canadian hit charts in 1974; “I Knew Her Then”, which was a Top 20 hit; and his best chart showing with the 1976 single “The Good Old Days”, which topped out at #11 on the charts. A subsequent single, “Out Of My Mind”, b/w [Ed: “b/w”: abbreviation for “backed with” – 45 RPM vinyl singles had an A and B side] “Little Bit of Heaven”, failed to chart. After a lengthy hiatus from the recording scene, Ray Francis returned to the recording studio in 1998, releasing the album “A Ray Of Country”, featuring updated selections of his previous hits, balanced with cover versions of country favourites.

During his senior years, Ray Francis continued to entertain audiences with personal appearances at music shows in local church halls and nursing homes in and around the Chatham area. Ray Francis passed away June 30, 2010 at age 79. His musical legacy lives on through his son Mike “Pepe” Francis, who has gone on to great fame as a producer of sessions for Canadian recording acts, as well as lending his award-winning guitar stylings to many of the recordings.

From: https://cmaontario.ca/newsletter/ontarios-country-music-pioneers-ray-francis/
By: (by Larry Delaney)




h1

Mike Francis Bio 2010

August 23, 2010

 

 

Musician: Mike Francis” (Pepe)
Year: 2010
Home: Chatham-Kent Ontario (Grande Pointe)
Resides:  Moved away to pursue carreer choice in the Toronto area.
Son of the late Ray Francis (Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills etc)

MIKE FRANCIS – Biography
Extraordinary Anonymous Guitarist
Mike Francis has been a professional musician since the age of 17. The first several years of his professional career was spent playing the regular club circuit before Mike discovered his ability to perform well under the pressure that is the recording studio. The past 22 years he has worked as a first call studio guitarist in the Toronto recording scene, as well as being a musician first an foremost, he is also a writer and producer.

He is mostly known for his commercial jingle or session work.

  Versatility is key to a session musician and his session credits include most of the commercial jingles heard regularly on TV and radio. Mike’s clients include some of the busiest advertising agencies and jingle writer / producers working. Some of his more identifiable performances are heard commonly on O/V, Budweiser, McDonalds, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Harvey’s commercials. He’s also the guitar player on any Miller, Molson Ex, Labatt’s, 7-Up, Coors, Blacks Cameras, GM Trucks, Esso, Ford Trucks, Pontiac, Pizza Pizza, Chrysler, Toyota, Canadian Tire, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Swiss Chalet, The Bay, Canadian Pacific or Sears commercial you may have heard.

  Also as a session player, Mike has performed on and / or written material for a number of television shows and movie soundtracks over the years. Some of the more visible projects he’s been involved with include Beverly Hills 90210, Street Legal, Due South, Beetlejuice, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and the Jim Henson Hour.

Canadian productions such as Traders, E.N.G, Legacy, Black Harbour, The City, Nothing too Good for a Cowboy, Scales of Justice, Rita & Friends, Corey Hart Special, Elvis Stoyko Special, Canadian Country Music Association Awards Show and the Juno Awards have also used Mike as the first call guitarist.

Album projects are all in a day’s work for a session veteran, and the list of recording artists and album projects Mike has been involved with is a testament to his skill and versatility as a guitarist. He has recorded with artists like Alanis Morissette, Shirley Eikhard, Liona Boyd, Dan Hill, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Enrique Iglesias, Kim Mitchell and George Massenberg. He’s also been on albums with Harem Scarem, World On Edge, Rita McNeil, the Rankin Family, Terry Kelly, Ron Hynes, and Roger Whittaker, Cassandra Vasick, Susan Aglukark, Natalie McMaster, Michelle Wright, John McDermott, Bruce Gruthro and Tim Thorney.

In addition to playing on sessions, he has also been active as a producer in the studio. The Mavericks, Jeff Healey, Dallas Harms, Dick Damron, Terry Carisse, Carroll Baker, Matt Minglewood, Joan Kennedy, Anita Perras, The Good Brothers, Joel Feeney, Don Neilson, Robert Armes and Ken Harnden.

Mike does get out of the studio on a regular basis, and over the years his involvement with live radio and live television broadcasts has meant that he has played with some of the best and brightest stars the industry. Versatility as a player is a key to his success as a session player, so he has been called to support a diverse group of artists on stage. His live performance credits include performing with Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Chet Atkins, Buddy Emmons, Jesse Winchester, and Ronnie Hawkins. He’s also performed with Ronnie Milsap, Liza Minelli, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, kd lang, Smokey Robinson, Paul Schaffer, David Clayton Thomas, Jeff Healey, Hiram Bullock, Chris DeBurgh, Hal Linden, Michael Burgess, Dr. Music, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Paul Brandt, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Pride, Dolly Parton, Roy Clarke, Jerry Reed and Charlie McCoy.

Anyone with info or pictures, please email:
chatham_music_archive@hotmail.com

 _______________________________