Pat Blythe – This is not about COVID……and music

This column is usually about the clubs, the music, the bands, the nightlife and the denizens of Toronto who haunt those places. The clubs are shuttered, the live music has stopped, bands are silent and the nightlife…..well there isn’t any. Yes musicians (solo or otherwise) are busy streaming on any platform possible. Artists from the around the world record themselves in isolation and then join together via video to perform, Brady Bunch style. All around the world people are trying to keep everyone’s spirits up as we sit, isolated in our homes, many alone, having had no physical human contact in almost three months.

Ahhhhh the memories……..

The music isn’t dead, it’s just changed locations. It’s moved from live venues to laptops, iPads, Notebooks and PCs. A musician never sleeps. Fresh new music is still being written, recorded and released.  A good friend’s company is called Live Is All You Need…..and so we wait…..

I could regale you with all those lovely photos taken of gigs gone by or go into great detail about the past shows I’ve seen…..but I’ve already done that.  I’ve written three pieces to do with COVID 19 but we been so inundated with “breaking news” (and none of it’s been super positive) about the virus I think we’ve about had it up to our eyeballs. Now we’re losing venues, The Shore Leave and The Hideout Toronto are the latest casualties, and long time popular restaurants.


So little miss cheery optimism here is going to try and keep to the original theme and post some new music that’s recently been released by (primarily) local artists. Give them a listen and support them with your ears and when the clubs and venues are rocking once again, open your pocketbooks.

But first…….a few memories

On November 24, 1991 Freddie Mercury died from complications due to AIDS. On April 20, 1992, six months later, the remaining members of Queen (Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor) hosted a tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in London, England. All tickets general seating for the princely sum of £25. Metallica opened the show (which I still find a rather odd choice to this day). In no particular order were Liza Minnelli, Axl Rose and Elton John (BoRap), Extreme, Annie Lennox & David Bowie (Under Pressure), Robert Plant, Zucchero, Lisa Stansfield, Bob Geldof, Joe Elliott, Roger Daltrey & Tony Iommi (I Want It All), George Michael (Somebody To Love), Paul Young (Radio Ga Ga), Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, even Liz Taylor…… I was damn near jumping out of my skin I was so excited…..worse than that five-year-old at Christmas. I will never, never ever forget that show.

Queen, Maple Leaf Gardens, 1980

A group of us from Toronto arranged to meet up in London the day before the concert so we rendezvoused at Covent Garden. I brought my then 17-year-old son Aarron overseas with me and my best friend Lyle flew in from Vancouver to join us. The three of us shared a fabulously huge room in a beautiful Edwardian home in Earls Court/Kensington on Lexham Gardens. Our lodgings just happened to be down the street from Logan Place where Freddie’s home, Garden Lodge, is located. (I didn’t know this when I originally rented the room).

Of the following two photos, the top photo is a montage I put together for Aarron as a keepsake and had it framed. I took the group photo outside Wembley Stadium just before we walked through the gates. The photo shows the ticket, a yellow tube pass, a newspaper clipping now seriously yellowed, a £1 coin and the yellow tag for sitting in the handicapped section. The items in the “memories” photo are part of my collection of the Queen material gathered over the years, a collection that began in 1973.  The T-shirt has never been worn.

l-r – Graham, Liz, Adrian, Al, Aarron, Larry & Lyle Murphy


The concert was an endless stream of music and went on much, much longer than anticipated. It brought laughter, tears, cheers, lots of singing and dancing and the best un-choreographed show of hands for Radio Ga Ga I’ve ever seen……154,000 hands in the air!!!! I watched this from the back of the stadium and it was such an incredible sight. The entire event just filled you up until you wanted to explode it was so overwhelming. I believe the word is euphoric. It was a magnificent tribute to the man, the voice and the extraordinary talent that was Freddie Mercury.

This is a long shot of Wembley Stadium. The circle is where we sat up on a specially built riser

A close-up of our seating area. Lyle, Aarron and I are probably within that circle. I was walking with a cane at the time so seating in the handicapped area had been arranged ahead of time.

I’ve selected a few songs from Queen’s first three albums…..Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack. There’s a good chance many of you haven’t heard these before. You can hear the “beginnings”of BoRap in March of the Black Queen. These are from my favourite Queen albums. Oh the memories!

Liar – Queen

The Making of Queen/Seven Seas of Rhye – Queen

Seven Seas of Rhye – Queen

Tenement Funster/Flick of the Wrist/Lily of the Valley

For Lyle…..two of your favourites

March of the Black Queen/Funny How Love Is – Queen

One final note; The fight against AIDs, HIV and the stigma attached will never end until we take precautions and act responsibly. Twenty-eight years later people are still infected every day. This shouldn’t be happening! Education, information….it’s all at our fingertips. Around the world in 2018 there were 37.9 million people living with HIV, 1.7 million people were newly infected and there were 770,000 deaths. Stop for one moment and think about it. Remind you of anything? ”When will we ever learn?”


Frank Gutch Jr.

I wrote this last year. I wouldn’t change one word and I still feel exactly the same.

Two years ago (April 23) all of us at DBAWIS received word that one of our beloved writers had passed away. It was so shockingly unexpected and sudden. The news took my breath away and all I could do was try and suck the air back into my lungs. I was stunned….and then I wept uncontrollably. It felt like I had lost Chris all over again and still feels like that today. He had become “my person”.  ….and so today, the remembering continues.

Frank Gutch Jr. gave so much of himself to everyone he met, every word he wrote, every photograph he took and every deed he performed. He was kind, gentle, thoughtful, definitely a bit of a curmudgeon (he had earned the right), self-deprecating, witty, funny, supportive, loving and one of the most passionate music lovers I’ve ever met. He oozed it, breathed it, lived it, wrote about it, pushed it, supported it, listened to every nuance in it, reviewed it, collected it… was his lifeblood. We will never find another Frank.

We still feel his loss as both a friend and a writer. He left a gaping hole in the music community at large, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. I manage his email account on behalf of his sister and even now, two years on, the emails pour in.

This was one of Frank’s favourite bands. He sent me a few of their tunes and I was instantly hooked.

Tomorrow – Research Turtles

Damn – Research Turtles

A Sampling of their songs – Research Turtles


SHIT!!!! This just in….Mariposa Folk Festival 2020 has officially been cancelled!!!!

This year was to be Mariposa’s 60th anniversary celebration with an amazing lineup of artist and record setting ticket sales. I am heartbroken. Mariposa has become an integral part of my summer. I love the people, the music, the spirit….it’s three days of pure bliss (and a lot of running around among 10 stages). I have been introduced to so many artists I’d never heard before, met some of my heroes and legends and was privileged to photograph them all.

The sun has set on the final evening of Mariposa 2019 (My Son the Hurricane)

For more information….


Following are a slew of brand new releases for your listening pleasure. Most are local Toronto/Southwestern Ontario artists. Some pop, some rock, a little bit of country and of course, some jazz. Check out these artists and introduce your ears to some wonderful talent and new tunes. The music never stops!

The Ridge – Julian Taylor

As I Go – Kelsi Mayne

Len Mizzoni – Just Because

Sideways 2020 – Shawn Brady

(there by the grace of God go I)

Outlaw – Suzi Kory

Through The Flames – Leon Harrison & Jonathan Holowell

Never Alone – Sarah Smith

Gonna Drive – Drew Winters

Claudia – Rob Christian & King Chino (from the album Slapping Tracks)

Living on the Letdown – Drew Winters

Reckless Corazone – Lily Frost

Take It All In Stride – Drop Top Alibi

All Woman – Nicole Rayy

Rainbow Glasses – Lily Frost

Feel – Jimi Bertucci

…..and if you get this far, let me leave you with this. For all you dance lovers!

The Evolution of Dance – 1950-2019 – Ricardo Walker’s Crew


Photograph of Queen at Maple Leaf Gardens ©1980, 2020 Christopher Blythe, The Picture Taker

Photographs of My Son the Hurricane, Group Shot outside Wembley Stadium, and the concert T-shirt with clippings and memorabilia ©1992, 2020 Pat Blythe A Girl With A Camera


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

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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