Pat Blythe – ONES, The LaMagna Cartel, Jully Black and …Music!

A Philosophic Moment….

Here we are…..right where we’re supposed to be. Precisely at this spot… this instant….this moment in time. Think about it. I’m sitting here typing away. Sometime later today or tomorrow, you’re sitting there reading what I am now typing, while I’m already doing something else. Now, look up and let your eyes roam around. What do you see? I’ll tell you what I see? I see a life that has unfolded and significantly changed over the past five years. I see my kitchen, the twinkle lights, the coffee and tea supplies waiting patiently…. I see my kitchen witch on her broom bringing me luck and the bookcase holding all my cookbooks…..the last thing Chris built for me. I see the sweet potatoes and pears, lounging on their plate until it’s time for the soup pot. I see my drums, piano and guitar……a big comfy couch. I see the home I’ve created and welcomes all who enter. I see my fingers on a keyboard typing inanities and loving every minute of it. How does it make me feel?  Happy! I do indeed love my life and all those who have become a part of it. So, as you read this, stop, wherever you are, at this exact instant (your instant in time), take a moment to look around. What do you see? How do you feel? Be Here Now.

Oh, and only one more day until that bad boy Mercury finally starts moving forward again. What a fucked up time it’s been!!!

…where I live

So, my home for almost 40 years, The Beach, is not exactly teaming with venues hosting live music. As a matter of fact, many of them have shut their doors. Various reasons but one particular thorn in the side of live music….the resident Beachers themselves. Noise complaints!! It appears everyone likes to raise their voices against the music. Too loud, too late, to raucous, too close (to my house), too (you fill in the blank). Even the summertime patios bother them. Silence, in this case, is NOT golden. What the hell is the point of living in this area if you want to kill it?!?!

When I moved here in 1981 it was a vibrant community. This tiny strip of Queen St. E (from Woodbine to Beech) had wide selection of mom and pop shops and live music. Now, all these years later there are far too many empty storefronts and only two live music venues to keep us entertained throughout the year. Some businesses have been closed for over 20 years and too many transients in others. The Beach is losing its caché and its community……fast.

The Salty Dog remains a going concern….Tuesday is jazz night, Friday is the blues jam, Saturday matinees and Sunday evenings have something different every week.

Castro’s Lounge, a few blocks east of The Salty Dog, also offers live music Tuesdays to Sundays. Fraser Daley every other Friday (a must see!) and on rotating schedules an assortment of bands including Thelonious Hank, The Delfis and I Hate You Rob. Sam Taylor performed there March 23.  The Outrigger, deeper into The Beach, has Saturday matinees from what I can tell. Johnny Wright and Friends perform but it’s not clear if this is an old event or an upcoming one, or, if Wright performs every Saturday afternoon. For both tourists and residents, there’s little to offer and not much to draw folks up from the boardwalk. It’s a conundrum that needs to be fixed pronto!

The LaMagna Cartel……

On a Sunday afternoon, I strolled down to the Salty Dog to see two of my many Franks. One, a friend I haven’t seen for 30 years. The other, a friend of 40 years. Both Franks were performing together for the first time! Franco LaMagna (I knew him as Frank way back when) and his band Cinema Face performed in and around Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s. When I moved to The Big Smoke in 1979 I was living a few doors down the street from The Gasworks. I never missed a Cinema Face performance. Franco’s brother Vince LaMagna owned Country Cut ‘n Curl, a very popular hair salon that was directly across the street from The ‘Works. Vince and I became fast friends and through him I got to know Franco, writing bios and press releases for the band.

Frank Russell was a close friend of Chris’s whom I knew prior to meeting Chris (that’s another story). Drummer for Lee Aaron, Moxy, Buzzsaw, Downchild and many others, Russell sold me my first drum kit a few years back and patiently gave me my first formal drum lessons, even charting them for me. The two Franks, although both an integral part of the Toronto music scene at the same time, had never crossed paths before now.

Frank Russell loving his new yellow kit w/ Bill Petrie (right)

Tony Oldland

Franco LaMagna

It was an evening of catch up, some awesome guitar and drum solos and great music. You wouldn’t have guessed the four musicians had never performed together before. LaMagna’s keyboarding and guitar skills haven’t dampened over the years and I can still see whispers of Cinema Face. On bass and vocals was William (Bill) Petrie and on second lead guitar and vocals was Tony Oldland. A fabulous way to spend a Sunday evening!


ONES …Getting Ready to Hit the Road

It was rehearsal time last week as ONES is geared up for some adventures along the 401 corridor next month. New head shots for the website and listening to these guys perform…’s like your own private concert. I love it.

Revolution – The Beatles

Two shows, two venues in two different cities in April. Although one day and hours of driving apart I am soooooo looking forward to this. Popping into Kingston April 12 for a performance at the Grand Theatre. Next day is Centre In The Square in Kitchener….a 2,000 seat venue which is the largest theatre ONES will have performed in to date. Lots of new and exciting changes including a full 22-piece ensemble. Fourteen, count ’em, fourteen strings and horns to complement the core eight-piece band. This is The Beatles number one hits as they are meant to be heard….note for note. With new, added features to the  multi-media presentation……I’m so excited! Photographing this going to be blast.

……AND…….oh boy!!!!!…..They’re at the Sony Centre in Toronto December 7th, one performance only. Finally in their home town! This is trampoline/pogo stick bouncing exciting!!! Again with a stage full of strings, horns and of course, the band. Most of us remember this grand building as the O’Keefe Centre (and in my mind it still is). The first time I stepped into those hallowed halls was to see the production of Man of La Mancha with Richard Kiley in 1979. I was mesmerized and awestruck. I can’t believe I’m going back to photograph this show. A new experience and a new venue to photograph. I am so very lucky to work with such an incredibly talented group of artists…..every single one of them…..and not just the ones on the stage. Tickets for the Sony Centre performance go on sale April 4. Click here to purchase or for more information for this and other shows.

St. Catharines 2018

… then there’s Jully Black.

Many of you know from my FB post, her 2015 concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre was the very first show I photographed…..period. With media accreditation approved for Canadian Music Week (CMW) my illustrious editor let us know there was also a photography pass available. I said “sure” and he said “not with your phone”. Oh shit! So, as I scrambled to free Chris’s photographic gear from its three-year slumber, trying to figure out if I had all the working parts, shear panic started to set in. As I looked at the camera I realized I hadn’t paid nearly enough attention to Chris’s teachings. He was the photographer, not me. I wasn’t in the frame of mind to *RTFM. A cry for help went out to long-time friend Frank Tiefenback, a photographer who knew his gear. After two three-hour sessions and the camera settings in position for ease-of-use (read I didn’t have to think about it except look through the viewfinder and press a button) I was set…..sort of……and off she goes. Well you’ve seen some of the results of that shoot. Not bad for a newbie….and I had discovered new a way to capture my passion for music. Fast forward and with a new camera (Chris’s ran out of steam but I still keep it an as bookend) here I am, back again, four years on, shooting Jully Black.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hugh’s Room so tightly packed. The temperature was like the middle of summer. Toe-to-toe, cheek-to-cheek (the lower ones)…..barely standing room. With all the servers running around, the collective body heat was creating a sauna. By the end of her show Black’s body was glowing (women don’t sweat, they glow) and I was running out of clothes to take off without being arrested.

A towering presence, Black needs a stage as large as, if not larger, than the Phoenix. Hugh’s Room cannot control or contain this woman’s energy…..It just busts out all over. Black is everywhere. At the front by the bar, walking across and standing on tables, in the back corners, teetering on top of the small wall that runs through part of the restaurant…..she’s constantly circling the room. With a powerful and soulful voice that touches every person in the room, Black gives a performance like it’s her last. Every ounce of her being is “out there”, laid bare. A compelling woman, a commanding force, a queen, her voice a mighty and expressive instrument that conveys her passion, coming from deep within her soul, bringing me to tears at one point. What a show! What a night!

Black’s band is comprised of amazing, accomplished musicians who know and understand her every move leaving Black free to roam the room. I spoke to guitarist Geoff Willingham briefly after the show. He’s been with Black for the past four years (the Phoenix show was shortly after he joined the band) and it’s easy see the camaraderie on stage. I mean really, how many performers hang on to their guitarist’s hair so they don’t fall backwards…..while said guitarist, with a smiling, blissful look on his face, continues playing. Many thanks again go to Jane Harbury who made the necessary arrangements to allow me to photograph the Hugh’s Room Live event. A thoroughly enjoyable night!

Geoff Willingham holding steady for Jully Black (Phoenix 2015)

Tabletop singer

Bustin’ a move with guitarist Geoff Willingham

…..and will someone please tell me what happens to those hundreds, if not thousands out-of-focus, shaky (and still talking over the music) pix and videos? Are they hibernating somewhere?

I had to add this pic of Kiley, taken during his performance in Man of La Manch at the O’Keefe Centre. It was a performance that made a deep and lasting impression I still feel 40 years later. Kiley died in 1999. A great actor and a marvelous voice that made you stop in your tracks and listen.

Richard Kiley and Tony Martinez in Man of La Mancha, O’Keefe Centre, 1979

So, without further ado …Music!

The Impossible Dream – Richard Kiley

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

(Robin Williams performs in this video)

Strawberry Fields – ONES

The Highlands – Fraser/Daley

Fraser Daley Video Compilation

Don’t You Forget It – Cinema Face

Cinema Face Live at The Gasworks

(I remember this show. Rick Lamb, who died in 2004, is on keyboards)

Lee Aaron, Reading Festival 1983, Frank Russell on drums

Follow Your Love – Jully Black

(this song was used for the 100 Strong and Sexy Promo Video)

5x Love – Jully Black

Happy Belated Birthday Jeff Healey

When The Night Comes Falling – Jeff Healey Band

….and then there’ this….let’s see if you get this far……

Yesterday – Movie Trailer


*Read The Fucking Manual

Photograph of Richard Kiley and Tony Martinez in Man of La Mancha, O’Keefe Centre, 1979

©Toronto Star 1979, from the Toronto Star Archives, Toronto Reference Library

Photograph of the Salty Dog ©2016 Tamir Rosenbert

All other photographs ©2015-2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera (except for the Queen St E sign)


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! 

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