Pat Blythe – Chloe Doucet, Melody Maker, Against The Wind, and pics…….

Originally I wasn’t going to be producing a column today. However, feeling better than expected, at least at this particular moment, I shall attempt to put something together. Had a wee bit of surgery yesterday (Monday) and sister Chrissie is here making sure I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to…..well at least she’s trying.

It’s curtailing a number of activities including heavy lifting, bending over, driving and the drinking of coffee (the latter of which is being totally ignored). We did proceed to build a new “cabinety” thing for my spare room, a sort of hallway coat rack with storage bench. I reclined on the bed while handing my sister nails, screws, hammer and the other bits and pieces. It took far longer than we had anticipated but after a couple of missteps it came together beautifully. We were both pleased with the result, and it looks lovely in its new home.

….and the weather!!!! What’s with that?!?! In small pockets of London, Ontario a huge rainstorm that included clear (and rather large) pellets of hail dumped on the city Saturday afternoon. It was like walking through a giant waterfall. I was totally unaware of what was transpiring behind me as I headed towards Windsor with clear, sunny blue skies ahead while behind me backyard plants and trees were being shredded. People were still shoveling heaps of hail off back patios, porches, lawn furniture, etc. the following morning. Oddly enough, the storm only hit certain parts of London. My niece happened to be out shopping at the local Loblaws and captured this just as she and her boyfriend were leaving.

Sunday, June 18 was blues night at the Linsmore Tavern and I was looking forward to hearing Chloe Doucet perform. Sam Taylor had been talking about her for quite some time so I was pleased to hear she would be opening for him. With a clear, strong slightly folksy voice, Doucet performed primarily original songs that were put together and wrapped around simple life experiences and the emotions that accompany them. Calling themselves The Vikkies, both Doucet and boyfriend Pete Casey, both on electric guitar, gave the audience a refreshing and intimate introduction to blues night with Taylor and The East End Love. Unfortunately there’s not much to be found quite yet of Doucet’s music on YouTube or anywhere else. However, you can find her performing in and around the Toronto area with Casey including the Cameron House and the Dakota…..keep your eye out.

Chloe Doucet

The Vikkies – Chole Doucet and Pete Casey

Luke Doucet & The White Falcon-“Jolene”: Live @ The Burnaby Blues & Roots Fest 2011 (Chloe Doucet on lead vocals)

On Thursday, June 22 the Female Eye Film Festival’s (FeFF) photo exhibit opened at the Beach United Church. Dating back to 1914, the church was completely gutted and renovated in 2013 and a wing that had been added in 1950s was razed. Now one of the “greenest” buildings in the Beach, 182 solar panels cover its roof, LED lighting fixtures and solar blinds have been installed and the interior space has been totally revamped offering loads of natural light along. There are no longer the traditional pews but chairs that can be configured as the groups or congregation sees fit. The church rents out its space to large and small groups and it was a lovely setting for the opening reception of the stills photography exhibit and the exhibit itself. Thirty-five photographers submitted their work for the exhibit and sixteen were selected to show. All the photographs were unique with varying perspectives on the Air theme and I was extremely happy to be among them. Following the reception, The International Short Film Program presented several films from Lebanon, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the U.S.

Barrie Wentzell. Behind him is the Diana Ross photo that started his career (Photo credit Michael Talbot, CityNews)

On the final night of FeFF the extremely insightful and exciting documentary, Melody Makers, was shown at the Fox Theatre. A film by Leslie-Ann Coles (who is the founder of FeFF), it focuses on the glory years of Melody Maker (MM) magazine through the eyes of Barrie Wentzell, chief photographer from 1965-1975, one of the most important and influential decades in popular music. Some of the original MM staff including Chris Charlesworth, Chris Welch and Alan Lewis were interviewed along with musicians Eric Burdon (The Animals), Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Yes (Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White), Dave Cousins (The Strawbs) and many, many others, all contributing to the narrative of the film. It was eye-opening, informative and downright captivating. I now know where “three songs, no flash” comes from (thanks to Mick Jagger). Covering the heydays of the sixties and early seventies where photographers were also the interviewers….relaxed, sometime confidantes, (“off the record” remained off the record)….these photo-journalists had easy access to the musicians of the day. You were invited into their homes, dressing and hotel rooms. Frequently traveling, pubbing and partying with them, there were no barricades or security guards and no scandalous photographs. According to Wentzell in a CityNews article from 2009, “Would you like that done to yourself?…..and that’s why I didn’t take a lot of pictures…there was many times when ‘Oh man if you had a camera,’ but I put mine away, because it was like you don’t do that, they are your friends and how would you like that happening to you?” Integrity, trust and honesty were the currency of the day.

Should Have Been There aka Melody Makers (Trailer) – Leslie-Ann Coles

If your picture made it on to the front page of Melody Maker, the boost to your career was almost instantaneous.

Melody Maker magazine began publishing weekly, in broadsheet format, in 1926 and is the world’s oldest music magazine. It was once the musicians bible for finding gigs whether you were looking to hire or seeking to join. A sampling of bands and band members who were “introduced” to each other through ads placed in MM include Yes after Bill Bruford placed an ad in 1968 that was answered by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. Deep Purple found David Coverdale and Depeche Mode found Alan Wilder. Steve Hackett placed an ad that was answered by Phil Collins, Rick Davies formed Supertramp….and the list goes on. Melody Maker finally stopped the presses in 2000 due to severely falling revenues. An era had ended.

Roxy Music

Ad placed by John Taylor and Nick Rhodes. Andy Taylor responded. Who was the band?

From eBoss Canada, “Canadian filmmaker Leslie-Ann Coles’ feature documentary film MELODY MAKERS is not just another doc about a band. Instead, it chronicles the birth of music journalism, and the world’s oldest and longest standing seminal magazine, Melody Maker, founded in London, England in 1926. Originally created as a jazz musician’s trade paper, it boldly became the “bible of Rock n’ roll” by the mid 1960s.” I would highly recommend, if presented with the opportunity, to watch this film. It’s a fabulous blast of the past and right up there with The Wrecking Crew and Mussel Shoals…..for photographers. A must see!

On that note, a little 60s nostalgia:

Here In Heaven – Sparks

Bang A Gong (Get It On) – T. Rex

Fairport Convention w/Sandy Denny

Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

Living In The Past – Jethro Tull

Last Friday I headed to London and then on to Windsor on Saturday. I was photographing Against The Wind who were performing at the Capitol Theatre. From their FB page, “dedicated to honouring Bob Seger, paying homage to the undeniable motto – “Rock and Roll Never Forgets”. The charity event, hosted by local promoter Mario Ricci, was a hit with the audience, many of who chimed it themselves, singing along with the band and dancing in the aisles. Founded by drummer Jeffery Dean Goldstein, ATM band members are keyboardist John Jamieson, who is also the band’s musical director, Kevin McClosky (bass), Adam Langley (lead, acoustic and rhythm guitar), Josh Gordon (lead and rhythm guitar), John Panchyshyn (alto, tenor and baritone saxophones), backing vocalists Cyndi Richards, Marysia Gonzalez and Amanda Rose, and lead vocalist Andy Law.

L-R – Cyndi Richards, Marysia Gonzalez, Jeff Goldstein, Kevin McClosky, Andy Law, Adam Langley, John Jamieson, Josh Gordon and John Panchyshyn

L-R – Cyndi Richards, Maryisa Gonzalez

Two one-hour sets and a two-song encore covered off Seger’s biggest hits. If you closed your eyes you would have thought the man himself was in front of you. Law did an amazing job, singing with all the panache, power and growl of Seger. A key ingredient in Seger’s music is the sound of the saxophone and Pancyshyn did not disappoint. Plaintive, sultry, sexy, the sax calls to you, touching your soul, drawing you in and Seger, wisely (or intuitively), used the “call of the sax” in many of his songs. The large stage gave everyone plenty of room to move around with Langley and Gordon taking full advantage. Backup vocals and harmonies were spot on. A fabulous show, it’s one I would see over and over again.

Against The Wind – Bob Seger


Check out my little events page for live music


eBoss, Toronto Star, The Guardian, Melody Maker, Wikipedia, CityNews


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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