Pat Blythe – MIrror, Mirror, Little Magic Sam, Jeans ‘N Classics …and Music!

So……some asshole, who decided he needed one of my car parts more than I did, expertly stole my passenger side mirror. Parked on Queen St., directly in front of the Cameron House, against a snowbank. F********K!!!! Not a “smash and grab” but carefully popped out, heating wires neatly disconnected and presto, I’m out $80.

Piled Sam, Maia and equipment into the vehicle after the gig at 2am….u-turn on Queen St. to head home. Signal on, looking to pull into the right-hand lane and I’m telling Sam, with some urgency, to put the window down and flip the mirror housing out (it folds in if it’s been knocked). Sam’s trying to tell me there is NO MIRROR! It takes a few seconds to register before I understand what he’s saying. A small wave of panic rises through me as I can’t see through people and equipment. We went back to check and see if maybe, possibly, on the off-chance it was dropped. Nope! Once I got myself home and parked I didn’t move the vehicle until Tuesday (yesterday), when I drove it in to get the new mirror installed….and I made sure I didn’t have to make a right-hand turn or change lanes getting there.

I have a GREAT mechanic. If anyone is looking for a fantastic, trustworthy, knowledgeable mechanic who also happens to be a super nice person head to Cocomile Service Centre on Pape Ave. and ask for Vince. He owns the joint and along with a great team of expert mechanics they take very good care of my vehicle. I would never think to go anywhere else. Vince has also become a good friend sharing the ups and downs of life. Chris loved taking the vehicle in for service throughout his illness, just so he could visit with Vince. For at least 20 years (or more) my vehicles have been visiting Cocomile’s service bays and now, slowly, the wrench is being passed to Vince’s son Nicholas who’s every bit as sharp as his dad. Sounds like him too! So a small plug for this local family business because they are simply amazing. From everyone I’ve conversed with while waiting for my vehicle I can honestly say “we love you Vince Greco!” It took him all of one minute to install my mirror…..no charge!

…..and in other exciting news…..I have a brand new hot water tank! ….and now to change the channel…….

Little Magic Sam……

Sam Taylor

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been out to see this young lad. A very busy and exciting six months for Taylor, from recording the initial tracks of his new songs at Sun Studio in Memphis to releasing his much anticipated debut EP in a packed front room at the Cameron House on February 21. Taylor, who now goes by Little Magic Sam professionally, is what one would refer to as an “old soul”. He and I have been close friends from the minute we met three years ago and I swear I’ve known him a lifetime. I have been watching his struggles and hard work finally come to fruition and the talent that he is continues to get stronger….. experimenting, developing and changing to even surpass himself each day. A truly prolific songwriter (just give him a single word and he’ll wrap an entire song around it), passionate doesn’t begin to describe Taylor and his love for music, especially the old Chicago-style blues.

l-r – David MacMichael, *Violet Hill, Jace Traz, Sam Taylor, Maia Van Raes

Sam Taylor – Memphis

Taylor’s self-titled EP is produced by his old friend, teacher and mentor Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness). Berg also produced Taylor’s song Loaded Gun which has been featured on television shows Degrassi, Haven and Cracked. Along with Jace Traz (my favourite artistic drummer), David MacMichael on bass and Maia Van Raes on keyboards, Taylor has managed to create three completely diverse songs that can take you from an exciting journey down the open road (Rolling Away) to complete heartache (Kiss Me One More Time). The third song, Memphis, lands right in the middle. A jazzy, up-tempo kinda’ crooning tune. Van Raes is featured on the ivories for this one and Traz’s brush work is silky smooth. MacMichael’s bass work on Kiss Me waltzes along quite beautifully, a perfect foil for Taylor’s guitar and voice. MacMichael’s lead-in for Rolling Away and the way he walks the bass on Memphis is understated yet powerful. All three songs draw vivid pictures in my mind….open roads, crowded bars, a dance floor of bodies swaying, a sidelong glance, a half-empty bourbon bottle…

Steve Grant and Sam Taylor

Sam Taylor – Rolling Away

Through a glass darkly….the band as seen through a mirror

A hugely successful launch, Berg, Devin Cuddy as well as Robbie Lane and his wife Marilyn were also in the audience. Harmonica player Steve Grant (Buddy Guy) joined Taylor and the band on stage for a couple of songs and brought the house down. Cold night, hot blues…..love it!

Sam Taylor – Kiss Me One More Time

Some jeans and a few classics……

l-r – John Regan at the piano, Katalin Kiss, Andrea Koziol, Lis Soderberg

Sunday I was treading the hallowed halls of one of the top concert venues in the world, the George Weston Recital Hall. One of four theatres in Toronto Centre For The Arts, I was about to photograph a matinee performance of the Jeans ‘N Classics show here for the first time. It would also be the first time I had photographed a full orchestra. A huge thank you to Jennie Worden, Executive Director, Orchestra Toronto, who patiently took time to show me around the theatre, pointing out the angles/positions I could shoot from. Never having photographed in this particular hall, I knew it would be a challenge considering the size of the stage (small) and no room on the floor in front. Dashing up and down stairs and through the warren of hallways and rooms we eventually settled on some good spots.

l-r – David Blamires, David Dunlop, Steve Hogg, Paul DeLong

The “jeans” part of the show was the second act at 4pm. A long day for a band that had to be on site for a 9am load in and soundcheck. The placement of drums and piano was a bit odd…..drums stage left and piano stage right….. with guitar, bass, and vocalists up front and in the middle. Bit of a stretch, literally, to get them in one shot with a 70-300mm lens, even from the very back of the theatre. The entire Abbey Road album was performed to the delight of the audience and given a standing ovation along with the hoot-n-holler for an encore. Show over and we were out by 5:30pm. After a quick stop for tonic, mint and lemon for a you-know-what it was time for delicious Thai food takeaway and popcorn in front of the telly for Oscar night.

l-r – Katalin Kiss, Andrea Koziol, Lis Soderberg

The Jeans ‘N Classics performers were Paul DeLong (drums), Steve Hogg (bass), David Dunlop (lead guitar), David Blamires (vocalist), Lis Soderberg (backing vocals), Andrea Koziol (backing vocals) Katalin Kiss (backing vocas) and John Regan (piano/vocals)….all with long histories in music and multiple awards hiding somewhere in their closets back home.

l-r – Paul DeLong, Steve Hogg, David Dunlop, David Blamires, Lis Soderberg, Michal Newnham (orchestra conductor), Andrea Koziol, Katalin Kiss (off camera is John Regan)

Queen opens the Oscars! with  resounding explosion!!!!

We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions – Queen and Adam Lambert open Oscars 2019

I was just about jumping out of my skin! What a blast of an opener for Oscar night! It was fireworks worthy and I could barely sit still through the songs. It was over far, far too soon and it took a while for my adrenalin rush to subside. Next highlight was the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper duet. I loved the movie and Cooper’s vision of A Star Is Born, but this song, Shallow, gives me goosebumps. Highlight number three…..bringing together Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to introduce Bohemian Rhapsody. Again, another  appearance that was far too short. Those two haven’t lost it! I’d go see another Wayne’s World in a heartbeat.

Oscar, Oscar, Oscar…..long show, not enough pizzazz, hosted or hostless. Oscar winners, y’all need to take some speechifying  lessons over at Toastmasters and learn how to keep it simple. The audience neither knows nor cares who you’re thanking or why. They just want to get on with the show. However, Bohemian Rhapsody did win four out of their five nominations (huge smile). By the way, Queen will be performing here in Toronto July 28. I’ve already got my order in for tickets.

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey – Oscars 2019

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform Shallow Oscars 2019

One final note……

There’s a new kid in town. The Joint is throwing open its doors to welcome you into their world of live music and tasty culinary delights. Toronto’s newest home of live music is located in the historic St. Lawrence district. This iconic site, built in 1886, offers 19th century architecture with a 21st century experience. New owner Glen Tymchuk has taken on the reigns, breathing new life and excitement into this intimate space. A sexy facelift with new décor and lighting creates an intimate, speakeasy-type atmosphere and a new sound system has been tweaked specifically for the room. A special, dedicated menu designed to satisfy any palate and live music six-nights-a week — all complemented by one of largest selection of bourbons in Toronto. Opening night is March 1 and you’re all welcome. The Joint is situated downstairs from Hogtown Smoke at 55 Colborne St. Doors open at 5pm to close at 2am. (and if all that sounds like a it’s part of a press release…..it is….but I wrote it)

…..music….

They had me at “keep” in 1973 and I’ve been in love with this band ever since. Through all five concerts (1977 to 1982) between Toronto and Detroit, the televised Live Aid concert and attending the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium with my eldest son in 1992 ( I took him….it was his first ever rock concert), Queen have remained my favourite band for almost 50 years. No two songs are alike. Their creativity and musical range was unlimited.

Keep Yourself Alive – Queen

…..and off my favourite album, Queen II, probably my favourite Queen song.

As It Began/White Queen – Queen

…..and this is my personal “swang song”…..

Teo Torriatte – Queen

On a more uplifting note……“It’s such a jollification…”

Seaside Rendezvous – Queen

The vocal range in this one is astounding! “Cause you’re a cool cat, coming on strong with all the chit chat…..”

Cool Cat – Queen

…..and of course let us not forget Roger’s “A side”……

I’m In Love With My Car – Queen (Roger Meddows Taylor on vocals)

Th-th-that’s all folks.

Cheers!

*backup vocals for the first set

All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera with the exception of the Cocomile photo

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Please scroll down and leave a comment. Thank you.

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! 

5 Responses to “Pat Blythe – MIrror, Mirror, Little Magic Sam, Jeans ‘N Classics …and Music!”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Thanks for yet again raising the bar! Just kidding, great column.

  2. Frank Tiefenback Says:

    Great stage-bow shot pat. You can feel it… All oil changes for free from now on…?

  3. Lawrie Ingles Says:

    WOW!
    that was an awesome enjoyable read and loved all the linked multimedia stuff, especially the Little Magic Sam stuff and anything Queen.
    Well Done Pat!

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