Posts Tagged ‘Whippoorwills’

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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)




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The Whippoorwills 1964

December 3, 2009

Click on the above picture to enlarge

Band: The Whippoorwills
Release: The Whippoorwills
Format: LP Album
Year: 1964
Formed: 1958
Disbanded: late 1964
Home: Chatham Ontario Canada

Label: Canatal Records
Genre: Country Music

Members:
Ray Francis – Rythm guitar
Bill Taylor – Drums
John Tangelis – Bass
Ray Dauphin – Tenor guitar
Max Dauphin – Steel guitar and fiddle

Tracks:
01.Honey lovin’ (Bollington)
02.When two worlds collide (Roger Miller and Bill Anderson)
03.Lost in the islands (Reg Dauphin)
04.A wound time can’t erase (B. Johnson)
05.Ridin’ high (Max Dauphin)
06.Little darlin’ (John Tangelis)
07.Drivin’ nails in my coffin (Jerry Irby)
08.Dead end twist ( William S. Taylor)
09.What would you do (Jim Reeves)
10.South of the border ( Carr and Kennedy)
11.Tears broke out on me ( Hank Cochrane)
12.Tears will fall ( Ray Francis)

This is the second of two releases.

Liner Notes:
    Most country music lovers in Canada and the U.S. have heard of Ray Francis and his western group – “The Whippoorwills”.

    Ray and “The Whippoorwills” have appeared on the best loved country shows, including “Grand Old Opry”, with such well known artists as Brenda Lee, Ferlin Husky, Minnie Pearl, Tex Ritter and others of equal fame.
   
    This versatile country and western group are constantly touring and making personal appearances, in both counties.

    The vocal and instrumental selections recorded were carefully chosen and they feature the melodic sound of the steel guitar, which adds greatly to the rounded blend of this album. The groups first love is the type of music they recorded on this album.

    Standing in the studio in their stocking feet, Ray Francis and his men played one of the finest western and country sessions we have ever heard. Why not share it with us?
Art Snider – Canatal Records.

Note: After this second album, Ray chose a solo career, recording four more albums and appeared on many TV shows.

Recorded at: Newberry Sound Studio LTD.
Engineer: Dave Newberry and Art Snider
Produced by: Art Snider
Cover Photo: Robert Ragsdale, assisted by Margaret Epp
 
About Ray:
  Ray bought his first guitar at the age of 13 and taught himself how to play by watching others in his area, including men living in railroad cars. Ray lived on Edgar Street which was behind the rail road station in Chatham. These train carts were home to men who worked for the rail road but travelled from city to city with their work. Ray would watch them play guitar then ask them to show him how to play that new chord he never saw before. He would then rush home and practice it until he got it down.

  After a long run of it, the road took its toll on him and he decided to walk away from it all to be home with family and take on a job in his home town. Ray’s son Michael is one of Canada’s most accomplished studio musicians and carries the legacy on. S. Beaulieu

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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

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