The Lost Art Of Liner Notes: The Mom and Dads – Souvenirs (1972. MCA Records)

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There’s been a lot of talk in recent years on the topic of “fake news”, but a close reading of the liner notes for instrumental easy listening band The Mom And Dads’ third album Souvenirs suggests that fake news was already alive and well in the music business back in the day (and still is today, as a look at any overeager, excessively glowing PR email for some random unknown band would indicate).

In his liner notes for the album, Allen Matthews (if indeed that is his real name) refers to the band as “one of the hottest selling recording acts in Canada today” who somehow were the equivalent to The Who, Led Zeppelin, or The Beatles “as far as the over 25’s in this country are concerned.”

Really? I mean, I wasn’t around back then so I can’t say for sure, but for the notes to suggest that the quartet were “superstars” seems a bit of a stretch. I have a hard time believing that all that many people would really be buying and listening to something as aggressively square as this unless they were already approaching retirement age at that point. I mean, over 25? I feel like there’s still a bit of a gap there between mid-20s and whatever age it is that you’d be really into The Mom And Dads. What is going on here? Was this why the hippies said not to trust anyone over 30? Were all these Mom And Dads fans just normcore before there was normcore? Were The Mom And Dads really outselling any of the “so-called contemporary super groups” in Canada? And do they really expect us to believe that a band like The Mom And Dads could reasonably be referred to as “gimmickless”? Wasn’t their gimmick literally that they were a mom … and some dads?

I don’t know, but I do know that their version of “Alley Cat” is kind of a jam … in an elevator music sort of way. Give it a listen while reading the liner notes below and try not to dance like Chris Elliott while you do so:

Doris Crow, Les Welch, Quentin Ratliff and Harold Hendren are names that are, in all probability, not familiar to you, but as a group they represent the members of one of the hottest selling recording acts in Canada today, “The Mom And Dads”.

If The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, etc., are superstars in the eyes of young Canadians under 25, then it is becoming more and more apparent that The Mom And Dads are also in that category as far as the over 25’s in this country are concerned.

Although not Canadians themselves (they are natives of Spokane, Washington) this group has brought to us a brand of music that has filled a large gap in the entertainment industry that, until recently, we were unaware of. “Old Time Music” was, to all intents and purposes, fading into the past, its consumer appeal considered small, and its entertainment value supposedly almost non-existent until these four people came along and proved to us that, in no small way, this music is still very much a part of today and its appeal is as strong as ever.

After the initial radio exposure in Alberta, of a single called “The Rangers Waltz”, a surge of devotes began to appear and has grown rapidly a “The Mom And Dads Fever” spread across Canada. The group’s first two albums, “The Mom And Dads” on the Apex label and “Blue Canadian Rockies” on MCA, have outsold many recordings by so-called contemporary super groups and they continue to grow in popularity as more and more people are exposed to this happy, gimmickless, down-to-earth music.

This album, like its predecessors, is imbued with a magic that is pleasant to the ears and touched the heart with a warm glow of nostalgia.

It is filled with songs both familiar and new, all of which are guaranteed to bring you many happy hours of listening and dancing. It’s as if Doris, Les, Quentin and Harold knew what you wanted to hear, because, from “The Rippling River Waltz”, though to “Five Foot Two”, that’s exactly what you get.
June, 1971

Concert Review: Ken Boothe, Jay Douglas, August 21, CNE Bandshell

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During his set opening for Ken Boothe at the CNE Bandshell on Wednesday night, Jay Douglas had history on his mind, acknowledging some local history by talking briefly about the battle of York which took place on the CNE grounds back in 1813. Furthermore, Douglas acknowledged the historical roots of his music throughout the set, paying his respects to the artists who laid the foundations of reggae not just with shout outs but with a few well-chosen covers. Of course Douglas himself has played a significant part in Canadian music history, fronting R&B band The Cougars (represented on this evening with “I Wish It Would Rain”) and later helping to put together the excellent Jamaica To Toronto compilation.

Following Douglas was headliner Ken Boothe. Sharply dressed in a red suit and bow tie, Boothe started strong, opening his set with “Freedom Street” and grabbing the crowd’s attention from the get go. While his career stretches back to the 1960s, I’ll admit that I’ve only just discovered Boothe quite recently through his performance as part of Inna De Yard at Roskilde Festival last month. Seeing this 71 year old man come out on stage at that show and sing a reggae version of “Speak Softly Love” (aka the theme from The Godfather) definitely piqued my curiosity, so when I saw that he was playing a show at the CNE, I took the opportunity to check him out again. And he did not disappoint.

Before returning to the stage for a brief a capella version of “Try A Little Tenderness”, Boothe closed out his main set with his version of Bread’s “Everything I Own”, a big hit for him back in the ’70s which he’s recently rerecorded with the aforementioned Inna De Yard, a project put together in the wake of a documentary of the same name covering Boothe and several other old school reggae stars. Check out the video for Inna De Yard’s version of “Everything I Own” below:

Song Of The Day: Sleeper – More Than I Do

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When Britpoppers Sleeper returned this year with a new album, it was a welcome return for fans of the band’s ’90s output. And in naming their first release in over 20 years The Modern Age, the band seemed to be acknowledging that this was the start of a new chapter in their career, albeit one that also picks up from where they left off in many ways.

“More Than I Do”, the latest single off the new album, proves that modern Sleeper fits in quite nicely alongside the classic Sleeper tracks. Check out the video for “More Than I Do” below.

Song Of The Day: Drugdealer (feat. Weyes Blood) – Honey

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Drugdealer is the project of L.A.-based musician Michael Collins, who makes music that is heavily indebted to the sounds of the 1970s, with soft rock, psychedelia, and the singer-songwriters of that era all showing up as sonic touchstones in Drugdealer’s sophomore album Raw Honey.

“Honey” stands out as one of the highlights of the album, with Collins continuing his collaboration with Weyes Blood‘s Natalie Mering that started with “Suddenly” off of Drugdealer’s debut The End Of Comedy.

The ’70s references come through pretty clearly in this track, with Mering’s Karen Carpenter-esque delivery and some nice George Harrison inspired guitar flourishes hearkening back to the sounds of retro AM radio gold. Check it out.