Welcome to day three of our multi-day Canada Day music celebration which is combined with the 22nd edition of Long Song Tuesday. Today we highlight a Canadian group called Mahogany Rush.
Mahogany Rush was formed in 1970 by guitarist Frank Marino. I became familiar with them based on their 1975 Album named Strange Universe and it is the title song from this album that we are featuring today. Let’s listen….
I think you will agree with me that this is an amazing song. Clearly Frank’s guitar playing and songwriting were both significantly influenced by Jimi Hendrix. Let’s listen to another track from that album, Tales of a Spanish Warrior, that once again shows Jimi’s influence.
It seemed clear to me that Frank was “the band” and the other members of the group were basically just hired hands. This was made clear to everyone when the group was renamed Frank Marino’s Mahogany Rush before eventually evolving into just Frank Marino in the 1980s.
I bought, and greatly enjoyed, Strange Universe but lost track of the band after that. Their Hendrix inspired sound captured my interest for a moment but they did not have enough originality to hold my interest over the long haul.
Welcome to day two of our multi-day Canada Day music celebration. Today we will highlight a group called Lighthouse.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s bands with large horn sections were huge ( think Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Chicago, The Ides Of March, etc.) Canada had its own horn driven band named Lighthouse and they were actually my favorites for this genre of music.
Lighthouse was formed in Toronto in 1968 but I really didn’t get into them until their 1971 album named One Fine Morning. I absolutely feel in love with the title song from that album. Let’s listen……
What an amazing song.
Lighthouse followed up One Fine Morning with a 1972 double album live set recorded at Carnegie Hall. Here is a cut from that album called Old Man that really gives you a sense of of their musical chops.
Their next studio album, Sunny Days, was also released in 1972. This album features some really fine music, including my favorite track called Broken Guitar Blues. I think you will like it…..
Lighthouse and I drifted apart after Sunny Days. The group broke up in the mid-1970s after producing a couple more studio albums. I understand that a version of the band regrouped in the 1990s and still performs live.
Before we end this post, I want to leave you with one interesting footnote about Lighthouse. The band’s original alto sax player was Howard Shore and he went on to do great things after his time with Lighthouse. He was a long time musical director on the Saturday Night Live Show in the 70s and went on to became a composer of film scores. He is probably best know as the composer of the music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy for which he won three Academy awards.
Happy Canada Day! We kickoff our multi-day celebration of Canadian music with a group called April Wine!
April Wine formed in 1969 and initially caught my attention in in 1971 with a very catchy song called Could Have Been A Lady. Let’s listen…….
You have to love that guitar!
I kind of lost track of them for the rest of the 70’s but they once again caught my attention in 1981 with a song called Just Between You And Me. See what you think….
I completely lost track of April Wine after 1981 but based on a little recent research I am happy to report that they seem to still be a major concert draw in Canada. If you haven’t heard of April Wine before I highly recommend that you check them out, especially their early stuff. There are a number of greatest hits type collections that would be a good starting point. More great Canadian music tomorrow.
No…I am not a Canadian by birth but I absolutely love all things Canadian. Let me run down the list:
- The country of Canada is absolutely breathtaking. I have spent time on the Pacific Coast (British Columbia), the Atlantic Coast (Newfoundland), the Canadian Rockies, and in Ottawa and and all of it was absolutely beautiful.
- The people of Canada are the friendliest people that I have ever met. Everywhere I have travelled and worked in Canada the people are happy and helpful.
- A huge number of my favorite musicians are Canadian. How about just a top three list for now: Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and Joni Mitchell.
Based on this love of all things Canadian, this blog will be celebrating Canada Day through July 4. Each day we will feature some lesser known (in comparison to the three superstars mentioned above) Canadian musicians and enjoy their music.
By the way, in case you don’t know, July 1 is a national holiday in Canada celebrating the anniversary of the 1867 unification of three separate colonies into a single country called Canada. To kickoff the celebration, I think you will enjoy the following videos (made by Molson) celebrating some of what it means to be a Canadian.