Pat Blythe – Remembering a life……and music

It’s been a flurry of activity over the past couple of weeks. Thanksgiving was wonderful! I finally had my boys and their wives over dinner…..first time in a very long time. Of course, loads of leftovers which made their way to new homes. Homemade turkey soup dealt with most of the remains. Working on a new podcast project, which is finally gaining some legs (at least up to the knees anyway), and hopefully next week’s meeting will bring it to hip level. Garden work and spending time with friends make up the balance.

It’s a wonderful time of year with warm sun, crisp air and yes, winter planning. I’ve finally succumbed to the bathroom floor morning wakeup dance…..porcelain tiles are really friggin’ freezing in the morning……and turned on the heat.

Remembering

Next Saturday, October 23 is a gathering of friends and family of musician Chris Reed at Cherry Cola’s. Hosted by his brother Kirk Reed, Kirk’s partner Veronica McNamee and the Reed family, Cherish Stevenson has graciously opened Cherry Cola’s doors and her heart to Chris’s favourite clubs.  Chris took his own life at this time last year, and the news hit the local music community, like a bomb. It was so completely unexpected and shocking…..hitting everyone like a one-two punch to the solar plexus. It literally sucked the breath out you.

Sometimes pulling the words out to express how one feels can be almost impossible. I wrote the following last year as a tribute to Chris and his family. It somehow feels right to share this again. I made a few changes since dates have changed. As well The Reed Effect has a new album out, 1973, Chris’s last project with his brother, making this album especially poignant.

Bassist at work

I met the brothers Reed, Kirk and Chris, four years ago. There are many people out there who were much closer to Chris than I, but that made him no less important in my life. On occasion someone enters your world leaving an indelible print on your psyche. It can be as simple as entering and exiting a room. The Reed brothers are two such people…..crazy in love with each other, their parents, their friends and especially their music. Now we have lost one of them and we are numb and stunned with disbelief.

To me Chris was many “someones”…..he was someone who always sought me out in the club when I was shooting to make sure he said hello; someone who always had a ready bear hug, a compliment and was genuinely happy to see you; someone who took the time to chat; someone whose stunned expression and complete loss for words I will never forget when he saw me in my black wig for the first time; someone with the “quiet” face and that impish grin; someone whom I welcomed into my home; someone who’s warmth and kindness I will miss immensely. Chris was someone I considered my friend.

How Deep is Your Love – A Tribute to Chris (a Bee Gees cover)

A fabulous bassist, guitarist and vocalist with a quirky sense of humour, Chris was the other half of The Reed Effect. Together, with his brother Kirk, they would tear up stages all over Toronto.  During these surreal and fractious times they have kept us company and entertained us with their brotherly quips and comments, all while singing and harmonizing for us as we hunkered down in our homes. Chris’s love and passion for music had no boundaries.

The Reed Effect

I have written previously that when someone dies we mourn for our loss. It is us who will be missing them. It is us who feel the pain and emptiness of their passing. We celebrate and remember them, but it is our own questions answered and closure we seek. That hole in our hearts never really goes away, only a thin veil covers the wound. We bow our heads, weep and sigh for what was and what could have been. We hope (and sometimes pray) those who have taken leave of this world have moved on to a peaceful place, whole and good again. We hope for this because that is what brings us peace and hope for ourselves. In writing this I find my own peace and calm along with the tears.

Carlynn Reed dancing to rhythm of the bass

There’s a lovely story behind the photo of Kirk and Chris’s mom Carlynn Reed. During a rather lengthy technical glitch with the guitar amps during a gig at Lee’s Palace, Carlynn decided the crowd needed some entertainment. Stepping on to the stage she began moving to the sound of Chris’s bass and the beat of the drums, her beautiful, graceful dance totally enthralling the crowd. She received resounding applause. If we’d all been sitting it would have been a standing O. I would hazard a guess it’s probably the longest bass solo Chris ever played, but he had the perfect accompaniment. This was the true definition of “the show must go on”. I’m not sure if this was the last time she danced to her son’s music, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.

We will share our tears, our smiles, our love, our memories and our strength together next Saturday. We will help each other to pick up the pieces.

Days Are Never Long Enough – Thomas Dybdahl & Lera Lynn

Letter From Home – Pat Metheny

Free At Last – The David Blamires Group

Last Train Home – Pat Metheny

Of course this column would not be complete without these great songs and videos…..

Rise Up – The Reed Effect (off the new album 1973)

Fine Here – The Reed Effect (off the new album 1973)

No Way Out of Here – The Reed Effect

Friend Martin Melhuish posted this fabulous remake of Jefferson Airplanes White Rabbit. I couldn’t resist so I listened and was blown away! IHO she does Grace Slick proud yet with her own flair.

White Rabbit – Haley Reinhart live from Sunset Sound

This week’s podcast is Alfie Zappacosta. Click on the link below.

https://luvthemusic.podbean.com

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All photographs ©2018-2020 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

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.

little-red-headed-dancing-girl

Together for 34 years, Pat also 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! 

One Response to “Pat Blythe – Remembering a life……and music”

  1. Letter from Home and Last Train Home are two of my all time favourites!

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