The Toronto Sound Of The 60’s

By Russ:

Well, with a lot of encouragement from my blog partner, Gary, I have agreed to try to write about some of my experiences performing as a musician and contributing to the Toronto Sound of the 60’s.  I am pleased to say that for a decade I was really active in this scene,  performing and recording music as a young sax player.


Russ Strathdee (1961)

On Yonge Street, I played the Zanzibar, the Club Bluenote, Club 888 and the Hawk’s Nest. During those days, the saxophone was a very popular instrument. 

I also enjoyed the opportunity of being a recording session player to a small extent at places like ARC Sound – no earth shattering top hits, but one song (“Me and You” by the Regents) made Toronto’s CHUM charts and I have recording credits on several LP albums. I also got to appear on television (CBC’s “Where It’s At”).

As I take you through three significant time periods of my musical journey, this post will touch on various venues where music was happening during that era…

  • The Early 1960’s on The Yonge Street Strip
  • 1963-1966: Club Bluenote and “The Regents” Years
  • 1966-1970: “The Majestics” Years


The Early 1960’s on the yonge street strip

In 1960 I played on what was known as Toronto’s “Yonge Street Strip”.


This was a stretch of Yonge Street heading South from Gerrard Street down to Richmond Street, with a high concentration of popular and very active music venues all along the way. I think it is fair to say that a few of these places specialized in providing music of a certain type or genre, so there was something for everybody.


Live bands were hired to deliver entertainment that often went well beyond just singing or playing musical instruments.  It was all about keeping the patrons amused so they would stay all evening, drink lots of alcoholic beverages and perhaps eat some food.

Toronto bars stopped serving Liquor at 11.00 p.m., but were allowed to continue serving alcohol if customers entered a part of the club where food was served. Sometimes the food was merely a little plate with some celery sticks and carrots.

Of course, the drinking laws were radically different then. I have heard it said that you could get tanked up during a night on the town and then drive home with very little chance of getting into trouble, mainly because there were far fewer cars and people on the roads back then.

notesLine359 Yonge Street – The Zanzibar Tavern

The Zanzibar was (and still is) located downtown on the east side of Yonge right next to Ryerson University.The city landscape is totally different to what it was back in the 60’s

Back then, I went to Ryerson Institute of Technology (RIT), a block away from the Zanzibar, with the O’Keefe Brewery in between, spewing out the odour of hops every Monday morning as I sat in classes. 

Now, over the decades since my happy salad days, RIT has grown considerably. It has expanded its boundaries, gobbling up a lot of familiar landmarks, taverns and other hot spots, and morphed into the highly regarded Ryerson University of today.

In 1960 I was enrolled in the Electronic Technology program at RIT and FM radio station CJRT was right on our campus. (RT = Ryerson Technology).

Gone, with Ryerson’s expansion, are places once occupied by “Sam The Record Man”, “A and A Records”  and other spots along that large city block down to Gould Street.

The “Zanz” is one of Toronto’s oldest nightclubs, having survived Ryerson expansions, and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010.


The Zanzibar originally operated by the Dave and Irv Cooper brothers as a live music venue, featuring jazz, pop music, and blues. (By contrast, today there are not too many places where you can enjoy live musical entertainment while having a drink or a meal.)

At the Zanzibar, entertainment manager Dave Cooper had me signed Toronto Musicians Union contracts (Local 149 of the A.F. of M.) as I was the front man for a group called “The Ramblers”.  Back in those days, I think a lot of pop groups named themselves after cars.


1960 – The Ramblers: Chris, John, Russ, Ron, Peter

At the Zanzibar we played 6 nights a week and a Saturday afternoon matinee. This went on for 6 months from about March to September of 1960, doing tunes such as “Honky Tonk”, “Raunchy” and “Harlem Nocturn”. I can remember singing a song called “Linda Lu”.

We rotated every half hour with another band, “The Swing Kings” so the venue could offer continuous entertainment. Other groups in rotation were “Terry Roberts & The Deans” and “Sonny Bright & The Sequins”.

Sonny Bright

Sonny Bright & The Sequins


Tommy Danton & The Echos” also appeared there at that time. This was before the place became a strip joint.


Tommy Danton & The Echos – L-R: guitar player, Nick Bassel * , Bill Mulhall, Tom Gilboe, Tommy Danton

Tommy Danton & The Echos / Oh Yeah

To slightly digress, the Echos bass player, Nick Bassel, is a great guy. I used to play with him back in the late 1950’s. It was in a suburb north of Toronto called Thornhill, and this band, “Al Hepburn & The Houndogs”, was the first gig where I got paid ($3.00) to play.

Nick Bassel had perfect pitch. He could tell you the name of any note he heard, and whether it was in tune or not. If you broke wind, he would say that’s a certain note. Nick started out playing the violin and went on to (acoustic) Kay bass and then Fender electric bass. He would later also play in other show bands a thing called a Theremin, an electronic tone generator that he made himself. Nick was an electronics wiz.

Another piece of Toronto trivia… Nick Bassel’s uncle owned and operated a fantastic restaurant called Bassel’s, nicely located at the north part of the strip,  at the S.E. corner of Yonge and Gerrard St.


Bassel’s Restaurant – across the street from Club Blue Note.


Remember match books?


A match book cover from Bassel’s Restaurant

Heading south down Yonge Street, here are some other places where a lot of great live music prevailed.


349 Yonge – Steele’s Restaurant and Tavern

A few doors South of the Zanzibar, sandwiched between two legendary record stores, “Sam The Record Man” and “A&A Records & Tapes”,  was Steele’s Tavern…


… where you could walk in and see folk/rock/country music artists such as Ian & Sylvia, and one of Canada’s greatest songwriters,  the brilliant young Gordon Lightfoot.


Gordon Lightfoot – Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 3405.

Gordon Lightfoot / “Remember Me” / 1962

notesLine335 Yonge – The Edison Hotel

A little further down the East side, I remember at the S.E. corner of Yonge and Gould St. the Edison Hotel. They seemed to feature a kind of showy “Vegas” style music, but with a Toronto flair.


The Edison Hotel – 335 Yonge Street, S.E.corner of Gould St and Yonge


Versatile jazz drummer Alex Lazaroff played rock style in the Edison House Band along with a few other great Toronto professionals, including Darwin Aiken (piano), Don (DT) Thompson on tenor sax, and my guitarist/singer friend, Kenny Hepburn.

Kenny also happens to be the brother of Al Hepburn, who I played with (my first paying gig)  in “Al Hepburn & The Houndogs”.  Nick Bassel (re. Tommy Danton group) played bass in that group. You can see how we all knew each other as this “Toronto Sound” unfolded.

During the time Kenny was working at the Edison, he recorded an album called “Twangy Guitar”, which was in keeping with the popular sound of the day, as made big by Duane Eddy.

TwangyGuitarI had the honour of playing sax on that recording.    Here’s one of the cuts: “Honky Tonk – Part 2

notesLine333 Yonge – Le Coq d’Or Tavern

Right next door to the Edison was Le Coq d’Or. Now, this was considered to be one of the hottest places, and I think they featured Rockabilly music with a lot of great entertainers such as Ray Hutchinson and Ronnie Hawkins.


The Edison Hotel (335 Yonge St.) and Le Coq d’Or Tavern (333 Yonge St.)

Ray Hutchinson was very popular back then.


Ray Hutchinson (upper left) , Mike and Gilles, Joey Frenchette (front, centre)

A bit of history about Ray’s group – they were the first in Canada to write, arrange, totally finance and record their own music, all in Canada. This had not been done until that time.

They started out as the “Del-Tones” and recorded “Moonlight   Party“. Then they changed their name to “The Beau Marks” and recorded “Clap Your Hands“. This would have been in 1959, but it was not released in the US until 1960.  The Floodgates opened after that; they appeared on American Bandstand, Peppermint Lounge & Carnegie Hall. 

1959 / Moonlight Party & Rockin’ Blues (under the name the Del-Tones)
1960 / Clap your hands / Ray Hutchinson, lead vocal / # 1 Canada & Australia / #45 BB
1961 / Billy Billy went a Walkin’ / #39 Canada (Gary’s Favourite)
1961 / Classmate / #4 Chum Chart

Ray Hutchinson’s group deserves more recognition then it received.  People were lining up to get into the Le Coq d’Or just to see them.  My blog partner, Gary, was there when the Beau Marks recorded a live album in 1962.  Here is an old standard from that “live” performance at Le Coq d’Or.

Beau Marks When The Saints Go Marching In

Joey Frenchette was the leader of the Beau Marks and Ray Hutchinson was really the spokesman for the group.  Ray started to become more recognized later and then went with “Dave Nichols and The Coins”.

Another popular Rockabilly artist to appear on Yonge Street was Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Ray Smith

Ray’s big hit was “Rockin’ Little Angel


But probably the most successful entertainer to make Le Coq d’Or his “home” was Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins.


Jerry, Johnny, Ronnie, Rick, Robbie



Ronnie also played the Concord Tavern on Bloor Steet and that was like his Toronto base when he first came from Arkansas.


Ronnie Hawkins with Levon Helm on drums

Ronnie Hawkins / Thirty Days / recorded in Toronto at a studio on Kingston Road


I remember one afternoon when I was walking past Le Coq d’Or during a break in our Saturday afternoon matinee at the Zanzibar, Ronnie was standing on the sidewalk having a cigarette. He said to me in his Southern drawl as I was about to walk passed him, “Hey boy, I like the way you play, would you like to play in my band?” At that time, I said No, thank you, because I was already committed to a few other things… I don’t regret this decision, but sometimes wonder about it.

On another occasion, one evening when the Ramblers were on a break at the Zanzibar,  I walked down the street to see Ronnie’s group and as I walked in, Robbie Robertson waved at me from the stage with a big smile. Funny, some of the little things about people you remember.


Robbie Robertson

There was a popular legend going on back then that might have been put out by Robbie himself – about how he was able to bend his notes on the guitar, by soaking his guitar strings in turpentine.  Now this could have been just a joke, I’m not sure.

Ronnie Hawkins, in his book, stated that the best musicians he ever found were on Yonge Street in the early sixties.

notesLine311 Yonge – The Brown Derby Tavern

The Brown Derby was right on the N.E. corner of Dundas St. and Yonge. They used to have a food promotion, “All the spaghetti you can eat for 99 cents” and I tried to take them up on it once… very filling.


One of the very entertaining groups at the Derby was “Joe King and the Zaniacs”. They were really zany for sure, carrying on in the same way as Sam Butera.


Joe King (front centre) and the Zaniacs

notesLine279 Yonge – The Friar’s Tavern

The Friar’s was another stop for bands gigging along the “Strip”.  This location is now the site of the Hard Rock Cafe and there is a plaque inside commemorating the morning of September 15, 1965 when Bob Dylan caught a performance by Levon and The Hawks. For the next two nights, Dylan and the group that would ultimately become known as “The Band” rehearsed at the Friar’s before going out on Dylan’s first electrified tour.

Friar's Tavern, c 1960s-70s (public domain).

Friar’s Tavern, c 1960s-70s (public domain).

One of the great groups of the day at the Friar’s was “David Clayton Thomas and the Shays


Lower left and centre: David Clayton Thomas, Gordie Fleming (organ), John Wetherell (drums) ; back row: Scott Richards (bass), Freddie Keeler (guitar)



Freddie Keeler (guitar) played in the Majestics for a while, I think before he went with DCT. Gord Fleming (organ) used to play at the Zanzibar. That’s where I first met him – we did a few miscellaneous gigs together… what a nice guy he was.


David Clayton Thomas & the Shays
1964 / Boom Boom / Walk that Walk  #3
David Clayton Thomas & the Bossmen
1966 / Brainwashed / #11

Other regular attractions at the Friar’s…


Many other great acts held forth at this spot such as Robbie Lane & The Disciples,


Robbie Lane & The Disciples

Robbie Lane & The Disciples / 1964 / “Fanny Mae



notesLine225 Yonge – The Silver Rail Tavern and Restaurant

The Silver Rail was located on the N.E. corner of Yonge and Shuter Streets.


The Silver Rail was one of Toronto’s first licensed cocktail lounges. It has remained at the same location on Yonge Street since April 2 1947. The interior has remained almost unchanged for 50 years while the face of Yonge Street has changed dramatically.

Silver Rail basement

A postcard from Chuckman’s collection showing the restaurant that was located in the basement.

Not a lot of great entertainment there, in my opinion. Please enlighten us by Comment, if you have information to the contrary.

notesLine201-203 Yonge – The Colonial Tavern

Situated just North of Queen Street between two historic bank buildings across from the present-day Eaton Centre, the Colonial Tavern once attracted a steady stream of blues, jazz and rock acts during its existence. It was one of the most famous jazz venues in Canada from the 1950s till its closure in the late 1970s.

The Colonial had an awesome looking entrance with huge Romanesque pillars of the neighboring buildings on either side. Today a little park graces the site.


Jazz artists played on the ground floor, on a raised stage along one wall. The stage could also be watched from a balcony and dining area that wrapped around the second floor.  I can remember seeing Stan Getz play there.

Stan Getz / Desafinado / Girl From Ipanema

Concerts at the Colonial were often recorded by CJRT’s jazz disk jockey, Ted O’Reilly, for broadcast on Saturday mornings with hundreds of full interviews of jazz artists discussing their performances and memories. Some of these interviews are in the Ryerson University archives (my old Alma Mater).

Toronto Sound Venues Beyond the Yonge Street Strip


The Holiday Tavern Queen & Bathurst

Of course, live music scenes were not restricted to Yonge Street. They were happening all over downtown Toronto. “Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers” with Jackie Shane often appeared at a bar at the S.E. corner of  Queen Street and Bathurst Street, called the Holiday Tavern. 


I went to the “Holiday” one time to see a group called “Andy Wilson and The Cosmos”. They asked me to sit in with them, I guess because their regular sax player, Bill Mulhall, was having some health issues.


As it turned out, I won an “audition” and they invited me to play  a few gigs with them for a short time. Andy Wilson was  a one-hit wonder; with a song called “My Love, My Love”  he sounded a bit like Little Richard.

Andy Wilson & The Cosmos / My Love, My Love



Ascot Hall – Corner of Keele and Annette


Talk about the Toronto Sound, this was an absolutely amazing, rocking soul venue for all kinds of R&B acts, from the States and local, yet I am surprised that very few people of our generation remember Ascot Hall at all.

I was there on several occasions and heard Red Prysock and his band, Shirley & Lee, Jimmy Reed, Jackie Shane with Frank Motley and the Motley Crew.


Red Prysock – Photo: Russ Strathdee


Shirley & Lee – Photo: Russ Strathdee


Jimmy Reed – Photo: Russ Strathdee


Jackie Shane – Photo: Russ Strathdee

Jackie Shane / Any Other Way


Frank “Two-Horn” Motley – Photo: Russ Strathdee

“Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers” with Little Jackie Shane also appeared regularly at the Sapphire Tavern at 14 Richmond Street E. just off Yonge,  South of Queen St.


“Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers” recorded a live album there called “Honkin’ At Midnight“. Here’s the title track:


Another great track recorded earlier with his previous group, “Frank Motley and the Motley Crew” was called “New Hound Dog” and featured pianist Curley Bridges on vocal.



So many other places I have not mentioned. Let me know what you think should be added.


1963 – 1966 : club bluenote and the Regents Years

Club Bluenote


I think it was in 1961 Steve Kennedy asked to join the House Band at Club Bluenote. It was called “The Silhouettes”.

There were some really fine musicians in the Silhouettes; for example, organist Doug Riley. I remember when I first met Doug in the band, he was around 17 years old.


Doug Riley (back right) developed a life-long relationship with David Clayton Thomas


During my Bluenote days, we backed up many really fine artists.


Club Bluenote (circa 1962?) Kay Taylor featured vocalist – Silhouettes house band shows Steve Kennedy (centre) sax

  Diane Brooks, Jack Hardin, Jason King and Shirley Matthews were regulars on during our shows.



Shirley Matthews struck gold with a hit she recorded in New York, with funding by the very generous Al Steiner, who was the founding owner of the Bluenote. The story of how Shirley got to record “Big Town Boy” is described in another of our posts. Check out:

1963 / Shirley Matthews / Big Town Boy


Veteran Toronto Singer George Olliver looks fondly up at the former site of the Bluenote, a 70-seater where he and The Five Rogues played from 1962-64. “Of all the innovative clubs for R&B/soul, the Bluenote was the place to go. So many of the hit artists who used to work at the Maple Leaf Gardens came here after hours — people like Stevie Wonder, The Righteous Brothers.” In those days, he says, “It was all mohair suits and flash and silk. And the girls used to dress up with gowns onstage. It was a different way of performing back then.”


George Olliver (front centre) – The Five Rogues

1975 / George Olliver / Mandala/ Opportunity


Doug Riley would later go on to get a degree in music from University of Toronto, and in 1969 he formed a 16 piece group called “Doctor Music”.

This moniker became the title of a very successful vinyl album in 1971.


Dr Music track 1 / Long Time Comin’ Home 


Dr Music track 2 / On The Road 


The lineup for “Dr. Music” was like a Who’s Who – the cream of  Toronto talent. Doug Riley (keyboards) Laurel Ward (vocals), Rhonda Silver (vocals), Brenda Gordon (vocals), Terry Black (vocals, harmonica), Diane Brooks (vocals), Trudy Desmond (vocals), Michael Kennedy (congas), Steve Kennedy (vocals, tenor sax, flute), Brian Russell (vocals), Terry Clarke (drums), Kenny Marco (guitar), Doug Mallory (vocals, guitar), Don Thompson (bass, vibes, percussion), Bruce Cassidy (trumpet, flugelhorn), Gary Morgan (clarinet, baritone sax, alto flute), Keith Jollimore (vocals, baritone, alto & tenor sax, flute), and Barrie Tallman (trombone).

Another great musician from the Bluenote days was saxophonist Steve Kennedy. Steve played some blistering solos on the “Doctor Music” album.

Steve was also a key member of the group “Motherlode”. Other members in 1969 were William “Smitty” Smith (organ, piano, vocals), Ken Marco (guitar, vocals), and Wayne “Stoney” Stone (drums).

Steve and Smitty co-wrote the song “When I Die“, which eventually reached #5 on Canadian charts.

1969 / Motherlode / When I Die 


Here’s a promo video of “When I Die” that shows the four members of Motherlode:


Steve Kennedy also joined Paul Hoffert and Skip Prokop (from the Paupers) in a magnificent group called Lighthouse. I would say this group is a shining example of the “Toronto Sound”.


That’s Steve Kennedy upper right playing tenor sax in the horn section. Paul Hoffert on keyboard (lower left) and Skip Prokop centre (drums).

Lighthouse / Sunny Days / 1072

Lighthouse are still performing to this day.



After playing at the Bluenote, it was around 1963 I was invited by Bob Andrews (formerly of the Regents at the Bluenote) to join the next generation of that group.


One of the places I remember we played a lot was Club 888, which was in the old Masonic Temple at the N.W. corner of Yonge Street and Davenport Road. This was a few blocks north of the vibrant Yonge Street Strip.

The Masonic Temple in Toronto in a Sun file photo.

888 Yonge Street -The Masonic Temple (Toronto in a Sun file photo).- North West corner of Yonge Street and Davenport Road.


Russ playing at Club 888


A hit single on Quality Records by this group got recognition on Toronto’s CHUM Chart…

The Regents   / Me And You

We also produced a vinyl album called “Going Places With The Regents”, which included that hit single.


An instrumental tune we wrote for the Going Places album was called Pansy


A few years after our time of playing “Club 888”, the name was changed in 1968 to “The Rock Pile” and it catered to a younger generation of Rock Music fans.

What Some Other Toronto Bands Were Doing

While I was with the Regents, a lot of other Toronto groups were also quite busy. It was hard to keep track of it all.


Little Caesar & The Consuls released “If” on the Red Leaf label.

If…(I Found A New Girl) / Columbia


Bobby Kris & The Imperials

For a brief moment in 1966 Bobby Kris & The Imperials were arguably the most popular group in Toronto and one of the best paid on the southern Ontario circuit.


Their tasteful rendition of the Dionne Warwick classic, “Walk on By” was  a single produced in Canada in 1965 and it became a significant hit on Toronto’s CHUM chart in January of that year.

Bobby Kris & The Imperials / Walk On By / Columbia


The Canadian Squires


After leaving Hawkins in 1964, this group toured on their own, usually billed as “Levon and the Hawks”. Personnel changed periodically, but by the time of this recording, all the members of the group that would go on to become the Band was in place, four of the five from southern Ontario.

The Canadian Squires / Leave Me Alone /


Pat Hervey

This young lady was seen more on Television more than at live venues. At an early age, during a performance at an amateur variety show she was spotted by disc jockey Al Boliska who lined her up with CBC-TV in Toronto. They liked her so much she became a regular on the weekly network shows ‘While You Were Young’, ‘Holiday Ranch’, ‘Club Six’ and ‘Country Hoedown’.

Pat Hervey

Pat Hervey / Pain


Pat Hervey / Tears of Misery / #11 on the Chum chart, March 1963 


notesLine Ritchie Knight and The Mid-Knights – “Charlena”

I had the pleasure of playing with these guys at the Don Mills Bowl in 1963 and we did this song. They hired me to take the place of their regular sax player, Mike Brough, who was unable to make the gig.



Jack London & The Sparrows

They were a British Invasion-style group playing as part of the rock scene in Yorkville in the 1960s — first as “Jack London & The Sparrows” and then later just “The Sparrows”. They were best known for playing a residency at Chez Monique (a club on Yorkville Avenue near Bellair) and for regular gigs at El Patio (down the street, closer to Avenue Road).


Jack London & The Sparrows at Toronto’s Chez Monique, 1966

You probably know “Jack London & the Sparrows” as the band they would later become “Steppenwolf”. But they were “The Sparrows” before moving to California and becoming famous for songs like “Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”.

Jack London & The Sparrows / “Take It Slow”  / a track off their self-titled record released in 1965


Patrician-Anne McKinnon

Patrician-Anne was the stage name of Patrician Anne McKinnon, sister of singer and actress Catherine McKinnon, and wife of Brian Ahern, a long-time producer and musician. Brian was a producer at Arc Records.

Patricia 2

I did a sax track for one of her recordings at Arc Sound.That would have been when she was just starting out.

Patrician often appeared on Frank Cameron’s TV show, Frank’s Bandstand. An Arc LP Do You “Wanna” Dance (The Best of Frank’s Bandstand) has covers of “I Only Want to Be With You” and “As Tears Go By”, credited to Patrician McKinnon.

Patrician Anne McKinnon / Blue Lipstick / P.F. Sloan /Arc 1113



1966-1970: The Majestics Years

Around 1967 I joined another group, The Majestics. I was invited to join by Chris Vickery, their bass player. The drummer was Wes Morris and the musical director was a very young guy, just 17 years old, who was already the organist and choir director at Humberview United Church. I’m talking about Eric Robertson.

Now, this group had a 4-piece horn section and in those days that was very special. Eric arranged the horn parts in beautiful harmony and voicing that had a real punch.

Eric’s age was really not an issue because of his obvious maturity.  We never thought anything of it, except that he would amaze me once in a while with abilities. For example, he wrote out all the horn parts for a new song we were doing, while traveling on a bus.

Personnel of the group were:

  • piano/organ – Eric Robertson;
  • electric bass – Chris Vickery;
  • drums – Wes Morris;
  • trumpet – Brian Lucrow;
  • trombone – Orlando Guerrari;
  • tenor / alto sax – Russ Strathdee;
  • baritone sax – John Crone
  • singer – Shawne Jackson

Later on, we added another singer, Shawne’s brother Jay Jackson,  and then a guitar player, Dave Konvalinka (who had played with Bobby Chris & The Imperials). During a later time of the band, Freddie Keeler became our guitar player.

The Majestics  played many places throughout Southern Ontario circuit. Here are just a few that I can recall:

  • The Avenue Road Club, Toronto, Ontario
  • The  Gogue Inn, Toronto
  • The  Jubilee Pavilion, Oshawa, Ontario
  • The Broom and Stone, Scarborough, Ontario
  • The Beacon, Wasaga Beach, Ontario
  • Hidden Valley, Huntsville, Ontario
  • The Pavilon, Orillia, Ontario
  • West Hill Collegiate, Toronto
  • The Dardinella, Wasaga Beach
  • Neil McNeil’s High School, Toronto
  • The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
  • The Met Club, Toronto

Shaune & Jay Jackson and The Majestics at the Gogue Inn


Shawne and Jay Jackson and The Majestics – photo Doug Ellis

This dance spot was located on Danforth Avenue East, at the end of the street car line, the Luttrell loop. It had 3 floors, each having a different live group. The main act was always on the main floor.

Shawne & Jay Jackson and The Majestics at The Hawk’s Nest

The Hawks Nest (above Le Coq d’Or) – 333 Yonge Street

King Curtis happened to be playing downstairs at Le Coq d’Or and he came up to check us out during one of his breaks.  I asked him if he’d like to try out my new 1965 Selmer Mark VI tenor sax.

Wow!  I’m still trying to find some of those notes he was able to produce… totally mind-blowing and amazing to hear MY HORN sound so great.

Recording Sessions With The Majestics at Arc Sound

The Majestics got heavily involved in a number of recording sessions at a place called Arc Sound in Scarborough, Ontario, where they produced 5 albums and a couple of 45 rpm singles.

  • 1969 Album: The Soul King / Otis Redding / A Tribute / ARC770CDmaj770
  • 1969 Album: Here Come Da Judge / ARC780CDmaj780
  • 1970 Album: Heads Of Our Time / ARC790 / Goodgroove 7001HEADSofourtime

Toronto’s CBC Television Show “Where It’s At” with the Majestics

Around 1970 the Majestics with Jay Jackson appeared on about 6 TV shows. It was all so surreal for me. This was around the time television in Canada was just starting to have colour and some of the shows were quite colourful for sure.


“Where It’s At” dancing studio audience with guest Little Diane backed by the Majestics (all in lovely green suits)


Pre-show conversations: foreground – the late great Arnie Chycoski talking to drummer Wes Morris with Russ Strathdee and bassist Chris Vickery in background

Remember this “colour presentation” logo?


Just for fun, I’m presenting a little bit of audio from one of those TV shows.

Majestics / Where It’s At / Opening Theme and Jay… /



Other Toronto Artists (While I Was With The Majestics)

Grant Smith and the Power
1968/ Keep on Running /
It was all so exciting to be a part of this “Toronto Sound”, as it came to be called, yet I missed a lot of the action that was going on with other artists and other bands. For example, a kid that lived just a few blocks away from me in Willowdale, Bruce Palmer, went on to great heights with Buffalo Springfield. David Clayton Thomas (a.k.a. Sonny Thomas) was just a rough neck kid hanging around Willowdale getting into trouble. 

It was like being caught up in a storm and not knowing all that is being affected in the bigger picture.   I guess it was around 1961 I opted to remain a part time musician because I wanted to build my career as a computer programmer. 

But it was great to see how some of my friends  went full-time into music, making hit records, getting radio play and developing big names for themselves. 

When I look back on it now, I feel blessed to have been involved. I had a great ride; it’s 2016 and I am still enjoying playing. 


370 responses to “The Toronto Sound Of The 60’s

  1. Nicholas Bassel

    Omg Russ I really enjoyed this anthology!
    So many memories. Thanks for doing this. I’d like to take the liberty of suggesting another venue to the narrative: The House of Hambourg. The H of H was situated in the cellar of an ancient building in Yorkville Village. Y.V. was a bohemian community of artists & musicians, long before Y.V. morphed into a commercial venue for plastic yuppies.
    H of H was run by a kindly old guy named Clem Hambourg, a serious music affectionado.
    We used to go there after our gigs, & for a $5 admission charge you could sit there in the gloom listening to awesome jazz featuring the likes of Don Thompson, Moe Koffman, Ron Rully, Ed Bickert etc.

    • Hi Nick – The House of Hambourg was definitely a very cool place. I would say it was THE quintessential jazz spot of Toronto for many years.

    • Hi Nick. Russ has done a wonderful job of bringing back some very old memories. I did not realize you had such a prominent musical past. Quite different from slogging HP medical equipment around Ontario hospitals.

      – Ross Marsden

    • Ron Rully was a friend of mine till his passing last year. His brother Bob Cook’s Drums Rully and I are still friends and talk almost every night.

    • Nicholas.,..I met you in the late 50’s? on the club scene, even tho’ I had left Toronto /and my family) for university out of town. To me you were the tall dark striking Byronic hero although you seemed a bit I would say you had a Ramones’ vibe).and you had an addiction to Vicks cough drops..the yellow kind. We ate at Bassels together and I hated leaving Toronto as clubs were definitely a siren call..I was still @17-18 yrs of age. I married at 21. went to London with 2 kids and became a journalist/ and the Beatles came to the office where I worked to be photographed. When asked didn’t I want to go to the studio one floor down where they were being photo’d I replied Oh,no , I am into Vivaldi!! It was 1964. University made me a cultural snob. Later on I became a rock & blues and everything else good music fanatic and did publicity for a band, Jerome Godboo the lead of that band, the harp player is still playing today and I try to catch him when poss. I am now in my 80’s and relatively intact. Hope you are same. Best

      • Hi Paule
        Russ here – I will reply on behalf of one of my longest standing friends, Nick. You mentioned thinking he had a Byronic hero image. Nick would be flattered. He was definitely tall and dark… quite a character underneath the covers. During my teens, Nick lived in the Lawrence Park area but would come up to Willowdale where he felt comfortable jamming and playing with the likes of Al Hepburn and the Houndogs. He liked the Willowdale crowd. We played in several bands together until Nick went on the road and ended up spending a lot of time in Michigan. Interesting to hear you worked with Godboo. Now there’s an iconic figure.

      • Hello back Russ. Nick would not remember me at all, but he made an impression on me. Like I said, there were no Ramones at that time, but he could have been one! I really left Toronto during all those early music days, and only peeked in from time to time. I remember Yorkville in the 50’s before it exploded. Little run down studios with artists and eccentrics from all media. Then I went to live in the UK as I said. Many years later I met Jerome Godboo in ’87 and wrote some publicity materials and went round the clubs asking them to book this 23 yr old kid. He played last night at Linsmore’s, my feet just couldn’t ‘walk on’..but he has a following. Interesting about Nick going to Michigan. Was it Detroit? Did he party at Gar Wood’s estate? I spent 4 years in Windsor at university in the 50’s and went to Detroit b/c it was a monster city at that time.Felt all the racist vibes too, but went to Black clubs to hear jazz etc. it was the end of the beat era..and then Detroit exploded shortly after I left. These were my teen years and left an indelible impression. Love all good music everywhere.

      • Paule – In Michigan, Nick went to MIT and he played at some swanky lake resort. He worked for Hewlett Packard servicing medical monitoring equipment for many years… a very clever dude.
        I remember Yorkville in the 50s, just around the end of the Beat era. There was this great jazz club called The House Of Hambourg – an eccentric pianist, Clem Hambourg, operated the place and it was an amazing home to such great jazz talent that came through Toronto and performed for the after hours crowd. We had the likes of Lenny Breau showing up. An indelible impression was left with me too.
        Why did you move to the UK? We can take this discussion offline if you want to Message me via facebook, or use my email address
        – Russ

    • Clem played Beethoven Moonlight Sonata. Still have chills.

  2. This dance spot was located on Queen Street East, at the end of the street car line. It had 3 floors, each having a different live group. The main act was always on the main floor.

    Russ it was on the Danforth at the end of the street car line.

  3. So much of this is just before my time (I was 10 ’59), and I moved from the Big Smoke in ’63, but The Strip still figures in my mind because of the movie theatres I haunted when I was supposed to be at the Y. Because my sister is 5 years my senior, I know many of the bands written about here, and it’s wonderful that you’ve not only included the history of the time but also some of the tunes. Thanks!

  4. Wow Russ, What a wonderful odyssey. You brought back many memories of my “rounder” days on the strip and catchment area. I am going to read this many times and not miss a detail. So many names that I know.
    You know how much I value past happenings and dislike to see history lost. Would you consider writing a book about these heady days of Toronto’s history, it would be a valuable contribution to the past viewed from a front row seat.
    many thanks Russ

  5. P.S. Russ, I forgot to mention the “Town Tavern”. Perhaps not in the same vein as a rock venue but still worthy of mention as some of the jazz greats played here during its heyday. Steve Palmer and I when pursuing our eclectic music interests would frequent the “Town”. One of our highlights was getting to meet Lambert Hendricks and Ross for an hour long discussion about the merits of their music at their hotel.

    Cheers DD


      omg–Dave- i had just tried tweeting(not use 2 it yet)about a trip down memory lane and thanking him- anyhow- i told him about meeting my ex-hubby at Town Tavern-lol-His band at was the house band at one point for down stairs at the Town Tavern——

    • Russ:Bob Andrews,Later called “The Bobby Duvalle Review” played there..We were booked from NYC. They thought we were an American act and payed us in U.S.$. We were reviewed as equivalent to “The Boss Brass” who were playing The Savarin. There were five of us.Size matters lol Bruce

  6. I will be delving a little deeper into this later as there is a lot to take in and i thank you for that! I was wondering about the Brown Derby, did i miss it as i went through this fairly quickly and was wondering if there was any music history there as well? Cheers!

  7. Hey Russ…………thanks for the mention and your great pictorial and music memories of Yonge Street and especially the Bluenote.

    George Olliver
    former lead vocalist of The Mandala
    Oshawa, Ontario

  8. Great memories great job really enjoyed

  9. Too early for the Jarvis House upstairs and downstairs as well as the Butcher’s Arms? I played both those venues in the early 70’s in a duo with John Moran ex lead singer of the Poor Souls, We went under the names “John and Peter” and later to “The One and Only Two Man Band” “The bottom of the “strip” also had a pretty wild scene going on. When John and I were playing both those venues, we got friendly with the comedians from Second City and they would often invade our room after they had finished performing and proceed to do skits and improv on our stage. Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, Valerie Bromfield to name a few. I later worked with most of them when writing and producing the music for two animation TV specials “The Gift of Winter” and “Witch’s Night Out”, as they did the voices for the characters. After my time with John Moran I became the keyboardist for Fludd and then a founding member of Saga.

  10. What great walk down memory lane , Many of the groups would play at the Summer Gardens in Port Dover and the Belgian Hall in Delhi where the country kids could get a glimpse of the Big city groups, a wonderful time in the development of the Canadian music scene, Thank you for putting this together

  11. Hey Russ This is a great blog about the good old days. I LIVED at the Bluenote during George Oliver’s time there. You and I have touched base online a couple of years ago. I learned from this blog that a guitar tune I have been playing for 50 years is called ” Honky Tonk “.

  12. Bohemian Embassy or the Cellar Club

    • Both great spots for sure. There was a lot more I could have covered but it was getting to be a long read.
      Maybe in another post, eh? Thanks for your suggestions!

  13. Hi, Russ.
    I don’t know you personally but I sure do remember you and Steve Kennedy and Shawne Jackson from those early days. As a 16 yr old, I used to sneak into most of the places mentioned with my friend Bobby Dupont from a band called The Statlers, the last house band at the Bluenote before it closed. (Bob and Phil Smith would form the 70’s band Sweet Blindness).
    For the record, in the picture of DCT and the Shays, you forgot to name bass player Scott Richards (top left), who went on to become a legendary ‘promotions man’ at the RCA Victor record label, in Toronto, during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
    Thank you so much for composing this story and filling in so many blank memories from those days.

  14. Truly amazing…love this stuff, and the stories that go with the pictures.

  15. Great. Great. Great.

  16. Thank you for “forcing” me to spend an evening reading and listening to pure nostalgia. Time well-wasted!!!!

    I actually worked for a while at the Avenue Road Club and got to know Grant Smith, Charlie Miller, and the guys, but, of course, what was the only audio clip not working? E.G.Smith and the Power. ;-(

    A minor correction, Stan Getz’s song is Desafinado. And a question, is that your sax on Soul Serenade? WOW!

    • Hi Gerry
      Thanks for the corrections. I will get them done right away. Yep, that was me on Soul Serenade with the mighty Majestics.
      – Russ

      • Something I forgot to mention on my previous post, by way of wanting to say thanks for all the work you’ve put in and for all the enjoyment you’ve given, I’d like to offer to contribute a little something to your site.

        I do a lot of messing around in Photoshop, amateur and semi-pro, and wondered if you’d like me to “restore” your Friars poster for you as my little contribution.


    • Heh Gerry, I spent a lot of time at the Avenue Rd Club and most of the other places Russ mentioned.. I also live in Aurora now. What ever happened to Murray Cambell ?

      • I lost touch with Murray and Steve not long after The Devil’s Den and the Avenue Road Club closed (for a while?) when I went on to Teachers’ College in Toronto. How did you know I was up in Aurora? Did I mention it and then forgot? Old age ain’t what it’s cracked up to be!

      • Gerry, I clicked on your name and your website came up, which said you lived in Aurora..

      • Website? What website? I’m not trying to be funny, I’m just curious.

      • Gerry, Maybe website wasn’t the right word. A page came up when I clicked on your name with your information.

      • Cheryl Melino

        Hi Linda, I know you wrote this a long time ago and may not see it but Murray was my grandfather, though he passed before I ever met him.
        I’ve been trying to learn more about him and his life.. do you have
        any memories of him? Info you could share?

  17. Great read! Great info!

  18. This is great. Go round again.

  19. This is fantastic work. and a very important contribution to our cultural history! Congratulations!

  20. Russ, you are one of the first guys to get the Toronto Sound right! I love some of the pictures, makes me feel young again, man we were something back then, ha. It has been my honour and pleasure to play with you over the years and to call you friend for well over 50 years. I had lunch with Shawne just before I left to come down south, we were thinking about some of those good times and the we had been friends for so long, most of my life long friends have come through my music and I can recall some of those gigs like they were yesterday! Thanks for bring it back to life, keep playing man!

    • Hey man! Thank you for so many things… for keeping me on my toes in the Majestics horn section (haha), for helping pull the band trailer (what a story that was), for asking me to sit in for you one time (what an honour), etc. etc. I could go on.
      If you know how I could reach Chris, I’d like to know. You could send me an email.

      I’m glad you think I got the story right… there was so much more to say.
      – Russ

      • Russ, how about Chris’ trip through the windshield after one of those out of town gigs, it’s a wonder any of us are still alive! Sent you a private email with info.

      • I love your comment about Bobby Kris and The Imperials being one of the best paid bands at the time. However, I don’t remember getting paid that much when I played with them! I guess at the time it was about the music, I did however get enough money to pay for my 66 red mustang convertible. God those were the the days Russ, work all day play at night and weekends. At the time I worked at Union Station during the day and “Bobby” didn’t know his last name worked there as well, he sang with The Counts Five another great group from that era, we would have coffee and talk about where we played on the weekend and where we would play next week. Russ, where was your favourite gig to play? Remember Londons Wonderland Gardens where the owners always made us a Hugh dinner after the show? That was cool, but I liked Deerhurst because of all the international acts we got to share the stage with, another blog I guess.

  21. Great trip down memory lane. Let’s not forget Georges spaghetti house at Sherbourne and Dundas where I watched Lenny Breau and Billy Merril play in an altered state many times. Also Moe Kaufman and Brian Brown were in the regular rotation. Also how about the Cellar Club at Ave and Dav. Also pretty sure that the House of Hambourg was on Grenville street in what was then the first Village , before Yorkvile.
    There is an entire other parallel scene of folk clubs flourishing at around the same time . Places like the Coffe house on Gerrard between Yonge and Bay as well as the Jack and Jill, The Bohemian embassy on St Nicholas ,and many more in Yorville. Anyone remember Websters restaurant on Avenue Rd. Mike sanderson

    • You are wealth of information, Mike and you are absolutely right! I should have mentioned George’s. In fact, George’s Spaghetti House should be a whole subject unto itself. I used to really love the Brian Brown trio, especially the drummer.

      Another thing I could have mentioned was Fran’s Restaurant.
      – Russ

    • Is this Mike from JCI?

  22. Excellent walk down memory lane. Thank you.

  23. Wow, what a fantastic sight Randy, blew me away. Everyone of those Toronto clubs and artists I grew up with, best days and time of my life ever.
    Listed a couple that seem to have been overlooked
    George’s Spaghetti House was a jazz club located at 290 Dundas Street East
    In 1956 entrepreneur Doug Cole (1925-2012) bought the restaurant, keeping the existing name. Cole began to feature jazz at the restaurant on weekend evenings, and starting on 5 September 1960 booked music six night per week. Saxophonist Moe Koffman served as the booking agent for the club. Many of Canada’s most famous jazz musicians played at the club, including Don Thompson, Ed Bickert, Guido Basso, Doug Riley, Terry Clarke, and Rob McConnell.

    Cole later opened a restaurant called Castle George on the second floor of the building. He also operated two other clubs in Toronto: Bourbon Street and Basin Street, which occupied the upstairs and downstairs portions of 180 Queen Street West. Cole sold George’s in 1983.

    The Town Tavern was a jazz club located at 16 Queen Street East in Toronto, Ontario. Operating between 1949 and 1971, it was one of Toronto’s preeminent jazz clubs and a regular performance venue for pianist Oscar Peterson
    Owned by Sam Berger, the Town Tavern was one of Toronto’s busiest jazz clubs throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In July 1958, Oscar Peterson recorded a live album on the Verve label from the Tavern, featuring his then trio composed of Herb Ellis and Ray Brown.

  24. Really enjoyed the memories, Russ. I was married to Gord Fleming (The Shays, and later Ronnie Hawkin’s band). We would frequent all those places when Gord wasn’t playing. After he left Ronnie Hawkins’ band, he got a gig at the Zanzibar, playing B3 with bass pedals. As I recall, The Zanzibar had live musicians from 1 pm to 1 am – with strippers and Go Go Dancers as part of the entertainment. The Silver Dollar at Spadina and College was the same kind of venue.
    I still see Eric Robertson (Majestics), who writes movie scores, and leads a choir in which I sing (The Hedgerow Singers). I am still in contact with Shawne Jackson, George Olliver, John Till (who used to be the guitarist in Ronnie Hawkin’s band, and later joined Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band). I was surprised to read that Freddie Keeler went with Janis Joplin.
    Those of us who used to make the music of the 60s still have a lively community, and see each other from time to time.
    Thanks for this wonderful trip back in time, and all the hard work and devotion you put into it!

    • Hi Debbie
      I used to love jamming with Gord, and such a nice guy. Was just talking to Jay last night. It is such a blessing to be able to keep in touch with each other after all these I years, eh.

      Your comment about Freddie made me realize I might have been mistaken, and I will retract that “misinformation”. I now realize it was a totally different nice guy I was thinking of – Rick Bell went with Janis, right?
      – russ

      • my god Debbie i have been wanting to talk to you for so long i caught you on a late nite show a long time ago its art larmand i live in alberta my email address is phone #780 826 2035 give me a call i come to toronto a couple times a year i would love to see you

      • i don’t know if i am doing this the rite way but and i wanted to thank russ for the jolt and with pleasure add some little known crumbs should get iti went into the zanzibar tavern in 1961 and left in 1970 had a lot of great musicians woking for me i should not have stayed as long as i did grant smith told me many times to let my hair grow and go on the road the power used to rehears obove the zanzibar were bud matton was the booking agent when i went into the zanzibar ray harrison was the organ player great guy to work with my two favorit musictions that i had over those years were my brother joe and gord flemming he was a master i am 75 now played on young street for nine years he is still the best man i ever had work for me do you remember therole of things like the village after hours bands that were just little guys trying to survive long and maquade and there help the first music store in the country to rent stuff so the little guy could play there were a lot of unknown band on the scene boby dean played the afternoon gig at the zanzibar and guys like lenny brou would come and jamb with the band john till ,chuck berry ,leo trtier,there was a lot of great musicians came and played it was a bright time in those years for every one i think myself ,joe king ,and ronny were there the longest i never recorded anything but i should have i played 430 to 630 every day and 9to one met grant smith ,george willis ,gerry pen found,john till ,garth hudson ,debbie fleming ,duke elington,went with gord flaming to the tow taven met oscar pederson had a great time i would do it again if i had the chance and would love to see all the people yo talked about you can tell any one of them if they remember me please contact me i would love to hear from them i saw russ in a band i just can’t remember were it was i am still playing and still sing in tune

        thanks for all you have done art

      • Hi Art – you are a living legend, man. I have heard a lot about you through playing with The Martels. Still playing and still singing in tune is a GOOD THING for sure. I am glad that you enjoyed reading about some of my experiences on Yonge St, etc. You mentioned having worked with some great names there. Gord Fleming was a beautiful guy, wasn’t he. I really enjoyed playing with him. Gerry Penfound gave me one of his Larson mouthpieces. I had it in my sax case for a long time and then it mysteriously disappeared… twas a beauty. I used to play with Leo Trotier in The Majestics. It’s a wonder you and I did not meet each other at the Zanzibar. If you want to get in touch with me, Google me. – Russ

      • hi russ i did not realize that you worked with gary french i saw you guys at some outside show in barrie a few years ago and wanted to meet the guys but it was busy and could not make the conection at that time gary is up there with gord fleming as far as playing with good people he is an ace i love the man i dont spend enough time with hime i remember going to see you a bqand that had you and steve kenedy were the horn section it was a great r and b band i come to ontario to viset my familly i would like to get together if possible the next time i come down i stopped playing a few years ago when my youngest boy was born he is now forty and i lost my wife of 46 years and i am now retired so i have decided to get back into the horn got a big hill to climb but that ok i am stwrting to get the horn tosound good and get the fingers to work again i might get to sound pretty good again its a great pastime i would like to chat about the people that had such an influance on the music in those days pete tranor ,gerry ,grant smith ,john till i would like to see these people and get pictures i would love to do that again and know what i know now i foget what the name of the band you were in i just remember i liked it it might have been the blue note not sure i will try to get in touch when i come down home nice to hear from you

        regards Art

        ps give french a hug from me i love the man and allways will

        good luck


  25. I enjoyed reading and listening to all of your work. Thank you!
    Born and raised in Toronto, but I was a little later on the Toronto scene, mid to late 70’s. The place I would frequent was, The Brown Derby.

  26. …and the Purple Onion? Never got there myself, but heard about it…

  27. Reblogged this on sevres-babylone's Twang & Distortion and commented:
    A really informative piece about Toronto music in the sixties, with lots of audio clips to go along with it. Thank you Russ Strathdee for putting this together.

  28. Thanks for Jarring some Great Memories..of Days gone by..! Most of the Bands you mentioned made London Ontario Bars their 2nd Home..”Campbells, Brass Rail, Red Lion, The 400, The Iroquois ..Motherlode was the House Band at My Club “Thee IMAGE Discotheque, after they Left Grant Smith and the Power..and wrote “When I Die’ at the Club!!

  29. What about Simon Caine and the Catch? Had great musicians including Dennis Pendrith, John Savage, Mouse, etc.

    • Dennis was with the Apostles, right?

      So many groups, so little writing space. Maybe in another post, I can cover some more bands, other than the ones I felt close to.
      Thanks for your comment, Larry.
      – Russ

  30. Richard Bell also left Ronnie Hawkins, with John Till, to join Janis Joplin and her full tilt boogie band.
    Every band Ronnie ever put together was magnificent (because of all the rehearsing after the gigs that they had to do). “Tighter than a frog’s ass stretched over a box-car” was a quote I seem to remember as Ronnie would describe his bands.
    One of the next bands Ronnie put together had David Foster on piano. Yes. THAT David Foster. And B.J.Cook (who married David Foster) was one of the singers in the band, as was Beverly DiAngelo.
    Ronnie knew how to surround himself with greatness and talent, and was very supportive of his peeps (providing they behaved themselves). 🙂

  31. A place that I also used to frequent was Grossman’s Tavern … there was a waiter there who had tattoos like the guy in Moby Dick … saw bands like Whiskey Howl … thanks for doing this … a great trip through my memories of the ” Toronto Sound ” … so proud, and lucky, to have been there !!!

  32. i didn’t see The Paupers (1967-1968) and not sure how you can write such an article w/o mentioning them……………. did i miss something? are they here?

  33. The Paupers? 1967-68? Great article but no mention of The Paupers?

    • The Paupers were a great band. I saw them for part of a rehearsal one day in the basement of a house on Spadina Rd. with Skip on drums. I was living just next door.
      Why did I not include them? This post was mainly about bands that I knew quite well and, sorry to say, The Paupers were not one of them. There were so many other great groups back then too, like Luke and The Apostles, etc. I have a whole catalogue of groups back then, but had to limit my writing to just what jumped to mind first. Your idea about including them can be left for another article. Thanks for your comment, moon childiva (cool name).

  34. Janis’ back-up band, Full Tilt Boogie Band, was an all-Canadian affair with Hawkin’s former guitar player, John Till, putting the group together at Janis’ request. This was undoubtedly the best band she had and what more great music we would have heard if not for her untimely death while recording “Pearl”. Just listen to John’s blistering solo on “Move Over”. John still plays with Plum Loco in Stratford, Ontario

  35. Russ, your memories and photos are crucial to understanding the full history of the Toronto Sound. Thanks for sharing these great details. One day, there will be a Toronto Music Museum and your contributions will prove invaluable.

  36. Speaking of Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band, let’s not forget Brad Campbell (from Yorkville’s ‘Last Words’?) on bass. Upon further thought, perhaps he played in the original ‘Big Brother & the Holding Company’?

  37. Wow. Thank you for creating this! Any chance you remember a Toronto band called “Chimo!”, active in the late ’60s and early ’70s? Their name is stenciled on my bass amp. I’d love to see a photo of it onstage with its original owner, if such a photo exists. Thank you again! -Mike

  38. Nice job Russ (and Gary). Full Tilt had four Canadians – Richard Bell, John Till, Brad Campbell and Ken Pearson – and one American (not counting Janis herself), Clark Pierson. Also, was that Gord Fleming in the early Shays photo or his predecessor, Brian White (I believe)?

    • Hi Bill – I had the pleasure of jamming with Rick Bell at his parent’s place, and recall his dad was Dr. Leslie Bell and the Leslie Bell Singers. Also, Jammed with Gordie Fleming and gigged with him on a few occasions when he and I played with the John Leslie band. It is Gord Fleming in the Shays photo where DCT is in lower left. Brian White played with the Regents and then I lost track of him.
      – Russ

      • Dave Koegler here, former drummer for The Counts. Brian was in The Counts before I joined in 1965. He was a good guy and played beautifully. I remember that the two of us would jam at his home from time to time. I have also lost track of him since.

  39. Man this is so cool! Thank you!

    Been to some of these places and at 57 years now I’m probably just a puppy to a number of y’all! LMA

  40. Denny MacDougall

    Oh man, this post brought back a flood of great memories. Freddie Keiller’s solo on Boom Boom inspired me to play guitar. DC and the Shays played frequently at one of our haunts the Mimicombo om the Lakeshore. So much great music in Toronto. Glad to see mention of the Last Words in one of the posts. Perhaps you might also recall a popular west band called the Ardels.
    Thanks for all of this.

  41. The Early 60’s was the best time in Toronto. As a Member of “Richie Knight and the Mid-Knights” and Later “The Regents” I played for two great groups. As one of the original members of the Mid-Knights, It was a thrill to be part of the growing up era of Rhythm and Blues in Toronto. Having the song “Charlena” go Number One and being in a band that was honored for being the first band to have a number one hit in a major centre. Playing with the Regents was also a great opportunity as they were just leaving the Blue Note and were looking for an Organist. Playing with Bob Andrews and Jack Arsenault and singers Judi Jansen and Duncan White was playing at a different level because of the horn section and Bob doing the directing.
    Thanks for the good times – Barry Lloyd on Piano and Organ

    • Hey Barry! So great to hear from you. We have some catching up to do.
      You were always such a gentleman in the band. – Russ

    • Bruce staubitz

      You were a great salesman for The Regents.You took me with you for a run around numerous dancehalls in S. Ont. You got contracts signed everywhere we went.You were a real plus for the band. I,m seeing J. Jansen on Fri. Bruce Staubitz

  42. wow brings back a lot of memories growing up in Toronto. Some of these acts I was fortunate enough to see at the Jarvis House where I worked the door with my pal Rocky Crawford. Mt dad had restaurants & bars in Toronto & GTA and funny enough my name is Nick Bassels.

  43. Russ and Gary! All I can say is WOW!!!! What an INCREDIBLE site! What an AMAZING job!!! What patience, perseverance and pure love you have put into this and shared with so many!

    Russ, I have to say that the years my brother Jay and I spent with you and the Majestics were some of the best in my career! You were always an exceptional man.

    My Madman buddy John Crone wrote that you wanted contact info but my dear friend Colina Phillips beat you to the punch and sent me this site!

    What an accomplishment! We ALL have to thank you for the memories!
    God Bless You Both,
    Love, Shawne Jackson

    • Hi Shawne, Your words of kindness blew me away. Yes, they were wonderful times with the Majestics and I think it is such fun to bring everybody’s thoughts together on sharing in the joy of that era. Thanks for being YOU.
      – Russ

  44. As I said before, you have done a Stirling job on this blog, not only the visit back to the sounds and sight of 60s Toronto rocks with your skill and talent displayed of your work of those early days, but also how well you write and hold today those locales, that music. Very well done. I especially enjoyed the Soul Serenade with your clear tones and smooth transitions. And the fact you have teased out so many musicians and fans who shared those days or are just getting an introduction to your glorious youth. As one suggested it should be a book, I heartily agree. Perhaps a large book that can include the music. I would buy that. I bet many who responded in these last few days might want that book too. Rock on.

    • Hi Connie – Thank you for being so supportive in what we do. I like your choice of words… “teased out”. haha
      Writing a book is the easy part. Getting it published is like winning a lottery. IMHO
      – Russ

  45. Hey Man What a terrific blog Your presentation not only recreates those wonderful days but your enthusiasm and obviously enjoyment really makes for an entertaining and fun read The memories you ignited made it seem like yesterday. I really appreciated reading about your years with the Majestics as you and I had lost the time. I consider myself so lucky to have been able to accompany you to the many gigs, and practices during your early years. Perhaps because I was not a performer the thing that was most astounding of those times was how available the entertainers were to the fans. I recall standing right behind Jerry Lee Lewis at the I believe Le Coq d’Or and being amazed at the size of his hands.Great times! Great Memories!
    Thank you so much old friend.
    Would you agree that our song “Voices Of The Past” critiques the blog?

    • Hi Doug
      I am so glad you are enjoying the Russ & Gary blog. Yes, it is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun, especially when someone like YOU responds so positively.
      – Russ

  46. Fabulous🎺🎺🎺

    • Wow! Excellent memories. I was very young then. 13 years old playing The Hawk’s Nest, Yorkville clubs, Devil’s Den. I saw all the bands you mentioned. I was the organ player for The Lords Of London. Thank you Russ.

  47. Unfortunately, I was a different Gerry. I worked (non musician) downstairs with Murray Campbell and Steve Bach for quite a while which is how I got to know E.G. and the Power and hung around with Charlie Miller, the drummer.

  48. This takes me waaaaay back! Thanks for putting this together—and including some of the music!

  49. WOW!, This takes me back. I grew up in Willowdale but was downtown a lot as a high school friend worked at the Eaton Auditorium, just up the street from Bassel’s Restaurant, which was right across the street from the Bluenote.
    My first IT job was at Simpson-Sears on Mutual Street and I can recall being in all of the clubs identified on the map. In addition to the The Hawk, I listened to Bo Diddley at Le Coq d’Or., Levon and The Hawks at Friars and others.
    THANK YOU for the great memories that flooded back.
    I also recall The Battle of The Bands that were held during the summer at various rinks at the park on Eglinton west of Duplex, the Don Mills Arena, etc. Frequently, Robbie Lane et al (or similar) were on the bill with two or three other bands each night.
    I have loved music all my life and took up music studies a couple of years ago and I am learning to play the oboe and I play in a community band. It is never to late to learn.
    Thanks again!

  50. Jackie Mccullough

    Loved the walk down memory lane. We frequented downtown mist Saturday nights. Wonder what happened to many of the groups. Ronnie Hawkins we know what about Joe King & his Zaniacs. Enjoyed the sax player by Harry, Joe,s brother& all the others

  51. Great job Russ. I remember playing in TheArdels and Bedtimestory in those days and you have it down perfect. It is fascinating that after all those years we got together both with Dave Konvalinka of the Majestics and also as members of Little Caesar and. The Consuls. You mention playing the various gigs but. Since you won’t blow your own horn , I will. You were among a very select group of superb musicians that could hold their ow with anyone in the world. You guys were terrific and set the bar really high for the rest of us. Keep
    Doug Dixon

    • Wow – Thank you, Doug, for those words of encouragement! Yes, I was blessed to have had experience playing some of those superb musicians. And the fun continues…
      It was a class act having you on the stage with us.
      – Russ

  52. Hello Russ, Thank you for a wonderful trip down memory lane. Club Bluenote holds a special place in my heart as I was so fortunate to listen to such wonderful, talented singers and musicians. We did grown up in the best era. There is no other music like R&B and Motown. Russ I am fortunate to live in Barrie and have the honour to listen to you play all over town with other wonderful artist. You truly get better with age as you sound as good or if not better than your Club Bluenote days. I have never stopped dancing the two step that I learned from all those amazing dancers at the club. Thank you and see you at City Hall. Debbie &Eddie

    • Hi Debbie – Sorry I missed seeing you at the Bluenote. You should have come up to me and said “hello” – haha
      Remember they had pop machines? Absolutely no booze allowed.
      – Russ

      • Russ – re: ” No booze allowed “. I seem to recall the ladies hitting the washroom a lot to imbibe whatever beverage they had snuck in. The alternative was to go to the local watering holes on Yonge Street. Since I was only 17 or 18 my buddy and I did our drinking before getting on the streetcar to travel from the west end. On one occasion I was not feeling too good by the time I got to the Bloor Yonge subway with all the swaying of the streetcar etc..

  53. Hi Russ, the drummer for DCT and the Shays was John Wetherell.

  54. Thanks so much for your contribution Russ ! I was a regular at most of the places you mentioned. I was at The Bluenote when a very young Little Stevie Wonder showed up after his first his first hit Fingertips. Those were the days !

  55. Is this not the best–thank you very much–living in London now I remember most of these club and performers-I used to visit the Zanzibar all the time and watch Art and The Blue Canes—thanks so much.

  56. Hi Russ………..thanks for the mention and.
    great memories of all the clubs and gang from the 60’s. I remember seeing you sitting in with Doug Riley and the Sillowetts at the Bluenote at Yonge and Gerrard.
    Thanks again
    George Olliver

  57. .

  58. Such a lot of work for you to put all this together. How old are you now and do you still play on your own or with a group. I remember a lot of those places. Thanks Pat

  59. Great stuff Russ and Gary ! The early to mid 60’s scene was the forerunner to live bands bursting out in youth halls and school gyms all over the province. Many played at our Newmarket Teen Town. The Mandela with both George Olliver and Roy Kenner, Jackie Shane, Big Town Boys, The Shays, Jon and Lee and The Checkmates and of course Shawn and Jay and The Majestics. I have had the pleasure of talking with Russ about these days. A wealth of memories for sure. It is great to see a record of some of them.

  60. Great stuff Russ and Gary ! The early to mid 60’s were the forerunner to live bands bursting out in youth halls and high school gyms all over the province. Our Newmarket Teen Town had many; The Mandela with both George Olliver and Roy Kenner, The Big Town Boys, Jackie Shane, The Shays, Jon and Lee and The Checkmates, and of course Shawn and Jay and The Majestics. I have had the pleasure of talking with Russ about those great years. It is great to see some of your memories recorded where everyone can enjoy them.

    • RussGary
      Wouldn’t it be great to have a reunion ! Why don’t we put it out there and see is anyone wants to take it on !

  61. I was there.the lead guitarists such as :Terry Bush, Robbie Roberson, Bobby Starr, Fred Keeler , and Don Troyano stared a styler and technique later copied by Bloomfield, Hendrix, Stevie Ray, etc. However, the Toronto sound is not as well known for this. Just listen to Robbies solo on “Hey Bo Didley“. Here`s my contribution

  62. What about the Brunswick House on Bloor. I think Ronnie Hawkins used to frequent that place as well.

  63. Do you remember the after hours club “Frankie’s” where Jackie Shayne hung out ?

  64. This is great reading…. thank you for putting this together for us.
    Do you recall the Paramount Tavern just down the street from Grossman’s and know anything about it? I never see it mentioned but I know I had drafts there!

  65. What a wonderful trip down memory lane for a snowy morning in Toronto.
    I also remember the Owl’s Nest on Avenue Road. Does anyone remember Peter McGraw a singer who co-wrote Hats off to the Stranger? My friends and I loved the Blue Note. I remember seeing Gladys Knights and the Pips there one night. There was also the Bohemian Embassy on Bloor.

    Thank you for compiling all this research. It’s priceless.

    • Hi Jean – Do you have any idea what year that would have been that you saw Gladys Knight at the Bluenote?
      – Russ

    • Is that the same Pete McGraw that sometimes used the nickname “Littlejohn” and hung out at Fran’s at Yonge and St. Clair?

    • Peter was one of the guest singers on the group Bent Roots’ third CD, which was released just a couple summers ago. He also sang the song at the CD release show. Great voice, great CD, and Bent Roots are a great band – with two veterans of the classic T.O. R&B scene – Michael Fonfara of the Checkmates and Ed Roth of the Tripp, aka Livingston’s Journey. Group leader Nick Balkou dates goes back at least as far as Scarborough’s Milestone, who released some 45s in ’70 or ’71, then merged with another group that included Ed Roth, bassist Denny Gerrard from the Paupers and future funk superstar Rick James.

  66. My brother took me to see Oscar Peterson at the Colonial in Late 60’s, early 70’s well after he had made the big time. The story is he would play the Colonial ( pretty small venue for him by that time)at least once a year as pay back for the club giving him gigs early in his career.

  67. Hello
    John, Lee & The Checkmates were also a fabulous Toronto band. They played R&B.

  68. The memories are flowing back. I was at a private party at the Purple Onion with Bill Wyman. I think it was 1962 or 63. Those were the days !

  69. when I lived in scarborough – haha and went to Woburn – I would travel every sat to the masonic hall for 3 hours of dancing – ballroom ballet and tap
    when I moved to Toronto in 1969 – I danced as a go go girl at the friars club – pretty sure I saw ALL OF YOU THERE lololololo memories

  70. PS. I remember seeing Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee at the Riverboat a few times. What a treat !
    I think the Bohemian Embassy was the one on Bloor St

  71. Hi guys. Great job!! With regards to the Town Tavern, my father Bernie Black was the resident cocktail pianist at the Town for over 10 years. During that time, many big name artists were featured for the evening performance. Dad would challenge any of the cocktail audience to name a song that was “reasonably popular” and if he didn’t know it the house would buy them a drink….the house never bought anyone a drink. Later on the LCBO made Sammy Berger stop as it promoted drinking. During Dads long term gig, many times the piano player who was to perform with the headline band would be late, get stopped at the border or whatever. They looked to Bernie to sub on piano. Needless to say dad ended up working with a variety of first class musicians….Miles Davis, Jackie & Roy, Carmen Mcrae, Joe Williams…and the list goes on. Whenever Oscar played the Town with Ed Thigpen and Ray Brown, they would end up back at our house for one of my moms home cooked meals. I was a budding drummer back then ( age 6 or 7) and had a small kit in the basement next to the piano. What a treat it was for me to be awakened at 3-4 am by the jam session that was happening in the rec room! I didn’t realize back then what an incredible event was taking place. These guys were simply friends of Dad and were at the house for some late supper. Dads reputation for his incredible memory of tunes, was picked up by the visiting bands and it didn’t take long for his gift to be talked about everywhere. I can’t tell you the number of times the phone would ring at 4 or 5 in the morning. “Hello is this Bernie Black….(yes) hey Bernie this is ________ I need to know the name of this song….(humming). Dad would answer the question, and you would hear thru the phone…I told you this guy would know”. ” Thanks Bernie”….click. Dad would take me to the Town once and a while. What a treat it was to have a sandwich and coke in a fancy restaurant as a little boy. Dad went on to be musical director at the Chelsey Hotel, and played the Chelsey Bun lounge for many years. Later on in life I had the privilege of working with my dad. ( Sapphire Tavern, Constellation Hotel, Ascot Inn).
    It was Arc records that recorded Dad at the Ascot (live) and released his album. Thanks again for the super nostalgia.
    Warmest regards,
    Bob Black

    • Hello Bob,
      My good news. I haven’t seen or heard Ed Thigpen’s name in decades. I’ve never met him but, my best high school musician (drummer) friend was Charlie Miller – I think our high school music teacher Art Hilliard was the connection to Mr Thigpen so he became Charlie’s private instructor. Charlie very quickly established himself as a Toronto talent. He soon became drummer along with Wayne Stone (also a drummer), his brother Ralph (a trumpet player like me) and Mike Harrison (bass player) in the group Grant Smith & The Power. All of them jammed at The Devil’s Den after gigs with other great Toronto musicians including Jon Lee & The Checkmates, and George Olliver of Mandala. BTW, The Power had 2 drummers when it started in 1967. Very unusual at the time.

      My bad news. Charlie left his wife and 4 children behind as he succumbed to cancer in 1978 as I was moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I visited him at Mount Sinai Hospital on Bay Street before packing up and heading south.

      Charlie was a gifted musician who was extremely well liked by everyone he met. I still miss him.

      Best regards to everyone connected to your posts. The articles and posts I have read so far bring back tons of memories.
      Peter Waters

  72. Great blog Russ, Gary. You have filled the blanks in my memory bank. Thanks for sharing.

  73. Pingback: Music on Yonge Street | Toronto Past

  74. This was unbelievable. Brought back so many great memories. Just the other night I was trying to explain about his mother and I being at the Brown Derby, the Friars and so many more. Thank you for the memories

  75. Hey Russ and GerryC,
    Another great memory from the mid-60’s. I went with Ralph Miller of The Power to a soul concert at The Embassy Hotel in the Village to see Wayne Cochran & The CC Riders. I still remember that night. As he was closing his performance, he stood on top of his organ player’s Hammond B-3 and reached up to the tile ceiling and puled down a large piece of tile and thew it into the audience! Holy Moly! What a showman.
    Ralph also asked me to go with him to Georgetown High School around 1966/1967 to see David Clayton-Thomas and took me back stage to say hello in person. Totally awestruck with DCT (I think he was with The Shays at the time).
    Also I reconnected with an old friend Bill Anderson from my 2nd high school York Memorial Collegiate Institute (YMCI) who told me he used to go to The Bluenote all the time and met Shawne Jackson. If you’re reading this Shawne, you and Bill traveled to some show (I think it was in Cobourg) in the back seat and talked all the way. He still remembers that trip.
    Russ. Best regards to all the people who posted comments here. It will be a strong part of Toronto’s 60’s history.
    Peter Waters

  76. PS
    My high school York Memorial High School was also home to Ralph Miller and Mike Harrison of The Power, and George Semkiew and one other musician from Ritchie Knight and The Mid-Nights.

    • That “one other musician” would be bassist Doug Chappelle.

    • I should add that Scott Richards of DCT and The Shays, Ron Russell of Ronnie and The Corvairs, and Neil Lillie (aka Neil Merryweather) were also from York Memorial. There were others as well…

  77. Hi Russ, a great and historic site you posted..lots of memories. Our time we played together was all too short, but the last and waining time with the Majestics still sticks in my craw. I played and designed ‘The Heads of our time ‘ album by the way. I worked with Eric Robertson steadily for 15 years after that..I do owe him and Doug Riley a debt of gratitude for my career in Toronto…I’m now retiring nicely in Penticton B C, all the best..Brian Russell.

    • Hi Brian – I sent you an email – lots to catch up with. – Russ

    • Hello Brian, I don’t know if you heard but Doug Riley passed away in 2007 from a heart attack. I only met Doug once while he was directing a recording by Motherload (“When I Die” made it to the Billboard Top 100 in 1969). Thereafter he got Dr Music going. The 3 people I knew (Wayne Stone, Kenny Marco and Steve Kennedy) from Motherload went on to Dr. Music.

  78. Fantastic Thank you for so many great memories.

    Bob Mitchell

  79. Paul (Wayne) Ryder

    Fantastic memories. I grew up on the strip more in the mid 60’s. I played in a band called “Fat Chance’.” We were managed by Ronnie Hawkin’s ” manager. (I played organ.) I remember playing in most of the bars you mention in your blog. You bring back a ton of fond memories of places and people I met back then. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to share this history with us. I am going to forward this email to the rest of my old band and friends who lived in this era…..Cheers

    • Hi Paul
      Do you remember a bass player named Sam in Fat Chance?

    • Hi Paul,

      One of your group’s mothers worked with my father at Simpsons’ downtown store, so I was a bit more interested in them that I otherwise might have been. It took me close to 30 years and a trip to Nanaimo, but I found the Fat Chance 45. Published by Love-Lies-Bleeding Music, which was otherwise related to the Daffodil label. Was that who you were signed with?

      • Hi Bill, I ran into Denny Gerarrd in the late 70’s, I was playing at the Bloor Tavern and he had mentioned he was with a group called Fat Chance and made a comment in jest about “fat chance making it.” Question… are we talking about the same Fat Chance? Did / was Denny the bass player?

      • Could have been ‘the same’ Fat Chance, in that the group name could have been owned by management, so the original musicians could all have left and been replaced seventeen times but the name kept on going. ‘Motherlode’ would be good local example of the phenomenon – the original four who did “When I Die”, a new four built around Smitty who did one 45, another studio group who made a final 45 (“All That’s Necessary”), the mostly different group that was put together to appear on the back of that 45, and the guys from Truck who replaced them. The original four did get together to record around ’76 or ’77,, but they couldn’t use the name Motherlode so released it under Ken Marco’s name.

        By the way, another group name that went on throughout the seventies mostly without original members was Tranquillity Base (originally led by Ian Thomas). The only time I ever met Denny Gerrard, he told me that he’d been in that band too; when I expressed surprise, he said that if you took any two working musicians in the area, one of them would have passed through Tranquillity Base. An exaggeration of course, but it makes the point.

      • Hi Bill
        I think I may have played in “perpetual” groups like that at one time or another – haha – Russ

  80. Don’t overlook Wally and THE SHANDELLS, Avenue Rd. Club.
    From Oshawa to the four corners of the provence. /62 to /70

  81. Laima Dambrauskas

    OMG!,! What fantastic memories which I LOVE reliving….often! Echo my gratitude for this mammoth task u completed! Couple of the venues I was going to remind of were eventually mentioned. I remember almost wearing a groove into Yonge st. crossing over to the bar at Bassel’s from the Note to get drinks, even tho I was waaay under age! The Palm Grove Lounge at the Embassy is where Wayne Cochran put on an amazing show n I remember seeing Gladys n the Pips there, about 1967.
    So lovely to see Smitty’s face again after all these years! Eric Mercury (Jay’s best friend) of course was also at the Bluenote. (Which had a cpl reunions).
    BTW The Silver Rail restaurant, while the music wasn’t all that, they had THE best Caesar’s salad – bar none!!!
    I was at all these venues from 1966 til they closed many moons later n developed some of my most longstanding n richest friendships at n thru them!!! The Fabulous Peps became great friends (Joe n Ronnie still around, Tommy passed away cpl yrs ago). Detroit became a second home for me.
    Saw Erroll Garner (writer of “Misty”) at the Colonial, King Curtis passed away w/in 6 wks of the gig at Le Coq d’Or where Bill Cosby came to check him out. Jackie Shane n I used to split a cab from the Saphire to get to the Bluenote in time for the floor show, n God forbid anyone got in the way of getting those seats out for it! ROFLMAO
    Saw Jimmy McGriff at the Towne or was it Jimmy Smith??
    The ParliaFunkadelicMent Thang absconded w/Prakash John after the Hawk’s Nest I think. (M intouch w/Fuzzy Haskins).
    Just hearing Shawne in my mind’s eye n ear singing “come n get these memories…” had the good fortune to c Shawne n Jay n his wife, Jan at the Princess of Wales catching “Motown: the Musical”!! What a wonderful blessing to c them!
    Sorry for the scattered thinking/writing but just soooo many memories triggered by ur excellent blog!!!!!! In my mind’s eye again c Sandy Rhodes doing the two step, excellently, w/his usual partner, Georgina (I think her name was)?
    We had THE best music scene no question! Tremendous that some gained much warranted success from these times, but also several more were certainly worthy of it as well!
    The late, GREAT Edwin Starr mentioned often, his very favourite venue was the Club Bluenote!
    Ok – m taking a breath n think I m done -for the moment! Lol …..
    Ooops, Terry Logan, Bob Francis, Charlie ?? (comedian) Louie, George, the Peepers, Mary-Ann (beautiful, waist length red hair) did coat check at the Note moved to Holland mid-70’s n got married there. Returns to Canada to visit family cpl times/yr. Her son, early 30’s , is a disc jockey there n guess what his favourite music is!?! Lol – o, n btw, he’s wheelchair bound w/cerebral palsy, but sooooo good at his job!
    Ok, now I’m REALLY done! Lol! Cheers! Have an awesome week-end!!

    • Hi Laima
      You said “… get to the Bluenote in time for the floor show, n God forbid anyone got in the way of getting those seats out for it! ROFLMAO “.

      That is too funny fur sure. I can remember standing on the stage beside Steve Kennedy when we announced the floor show was ready to begin. I had forgOtten this until your hilarious comment, which is right on. Yes, indeed, look out of the way when everyone scurries around to get those fold up chairs assembled and tries to get the best seating arrangement. ROFLMAO – Russ

  82. This is just wonderful!!! Thank you. The incomparable Keith McKie forwarded it to me. A history lesson, some memories. It is laid out in a way that is invaluable for others to know a bit about the 60s in Toronto. I was just coming up and caught the tail end of most of it but it is still precious. By the end of the 60s, I worked at Mariposa Folk Festival as a gofer for Gordon Lightfoot and others but I sure knew and listened to the music. I didn’t really go to the clubs except that Richard Flohill took me to listen to Ronnie Hawkins where I met Keith. In time, I would study music with saxophonist Bobby Brough but by then I was getting into jazz and politics in music. Never the less, this is brilliant. thank you for your music, vision and sharing. thank you so much Honey Novick

  83. Hello Russ … First , what a terrific site 🙂 Second … Do you remember a comedian named Doug Romaine who worked The Blue Note a number of times . I am one of his sons ?

  84. What an awesome trip through memory lane. My grandparents owned a hat shop at 352 Young St. The strip is burned into my memory as my grandfather would often take me on walks and pass by all the clubs. Sonny Bernardi and I were school mates and his mom and dad were involved in the Concord Tavern. We would spend our Saturday afternoons watching shows there. Thanks for the memories.
    Hirsh Gardner
    Boston Ma.

    • Hi Hirsh
      Sonny Bernardi is like a household name around here. I have known of Sonny for a long time. He played with The Power. Another drummer friend of mine, Sonny Minle, has great respect for Bernardi. That sounds like a great past you had in your younger days with your mom and dad and your grandparents.
      I love hearing about this stuff.
      Thanks for the comment.
      – Russ

  85. I know your column is Yonge Street but just off, Yonge on the north side of Queen there was a tavern whose name escapes me (starts with a “B” ?) where Oscar Peterson regularly played, probably late ’50’s early 60’s. Too, in the basement lounge, a singer-pianist named Tish Goode was the regular entertainer. I think she later appeared at the Beverley Hills Hotel on Wilson Ave. on a regular basis.
    A small, irrelevant aside. I was traveling on Hwy 401 a few years later and got caught in a slowdown (read dead stop) of traffic when, much to my surprise a driver left his car and approached the car stopped in front of me. The window was rolled down and the chap who came to the car proceeded to punch out the driver. Traffic started to move but I made a note of the license number of the car in front. I wanted to get in touch with the driver to let him know I had witnessed what had happened in case he needed it for the police.The car was registered to Tish Goode, and although she was not the driver, she appreciated my call. It’s a small world.
    Most importantly though, I enjoyed your column. Many memories, particularly of Joe King, but I remember him from the Edison Hotel.

    • Hi David – A bar that was just off of Yonge at 16 Queen Street East on the north side was the Town Tavern. Owned by Sam Berger, the Town Tavern was one of Toronto’s busiest jazz clubs throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In July 1958, Oscar Peterson recorded a live album on the Verve label from the Tavern, featuring his then trio composed of Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. The building in which the Tavern operated has since been demolished.
      – Russ

  86. Awesome stuff, thank you for your time and effort to share your memories with others.

  87. Thanks very very much for this trip down memory lane. We lived out in the west end but managed to get downtown quite often. I remember the Place Pigal (sp??) The Pig just north of Yorkville on Avenue Road. Not sure but I seem to think we saw chuck Berry there? Memory not that clear LOL Thanks again.
    Jeff Dickinson

    • Denny MacDougall

      Your mention of the Pig in Yorkville brought back memories of another Yorkville haunt featuring great music, the Embassy. Saw Liuke and the Apostles there among other great Toronto bands. Thanks for jogging the memory.

  88. Thanks guys for a great ride along memory lane, Back in the early 60’s I was DJ at “The Met” a small club way out west (in those days) in New Toronto. Over the years it was a stop off point at one time or other for I would guess at least half the groups mentioned in your blog to play one of our weekend shows. I am sure many of the players would have fond memories of a great little spot upstairs above a large clothing store where we would pack in maybee a hundred and fifty people on a Saturday or Sunday night. I was in my early twenties an avid Hot Rodder who built and customized cars in a small garage in that area, a big Soul and R & B fan who followed George Lorenz on WKBW or WBLK and drove to Buffalo every couple of weeks to buy the latest music much that would never make it to Toronto or at least until quite some time later. Looking back it really was the time of my life with great music, many hot rods and cars I wish I had held on to. Ended up marrying the coat check girl at the club now my beloved of 53 years, looking at the faces of the members of some of the groups shown in your great pictures it seems like only yesterday I could see them rocking out on our small stage..Norm the Sax player in Little Ceasar and the Consoles comes to my minds eye, he always seemed to be having such a good time and putting so much effort into his playing…great memories.. Russ did you ever play there.
    Ron Pickford

    • Hi Ron
      I was with Shawne & Jay Jackson and the Majestics when we played the Met. It was an amazing club, with so many people showing up. It was always packed, as I recall, and I can remember listening to some of the greatest R&B records when we were on a break.

      Audrey and Dells was the place to go in Buffalo to get some of the latest sounds. You had to listen to The Hound so you knew what was on the leading edge of that music trend. Later on, I got a lot of enjoyment listening to WBLK and WUFO.

      You mentioned Norm, the sax player in Little Caesar. What a coincidence. I just got home from playing sax in Little Caesar & The Consuls. Normie recently retired and I am now the only sax in the band. It is the band’s 60th Anniversary this year.

      Here’s a link to the latest Consuls news…

      – Russ

  89. Hi Russ-Gary
    Kay Taylor and the Regents were the house band at the Club Bluenote from October 1960 to August 1962….Bobby Dean and the Gems were the first house band in 1960 and we took over from them….
    Emailing you some pics and recordings of the band at the Bluenote if you are interested…..Kay Taylor vocals, Brian Massey bass, Tommy Graham guitar, Peter Groschel then Fred Therialt drums, Steve Kennedy and Les Terrell on twin tenor sax’s)…Hey Russ, before Les or after he joined the band, you played a bit with us at the Bluenote again featuring the twin tenor sax’s…..we all loved that sound…you and Steve sounded so good man….Bob Andrews on trumpet came later to join the band….I’ll email you a short audio recording sample during our time at the Bluenote recorded by Howie Moore on a mono Ampex portable recorder…on a Sunday night August 1962
    Most of the R&B entertainers who came to town dropped into the Bluenote in those days….Jimmy Reed, Maxine Brown, The Supremes, The Olympics, Shirley Mathews, Diane Brooks, and so many more who were R&B popular at the time, or had hit recordings they were supporting during their time in Toronto…. I can’t recall them all at this time…..Since most of them got up and did a couple of songs during the famous “floor show”…( the audience sat down for the show)…
    There was of course no rehearsal with the band and we were always flying on our own….However, we became real musicians…sink or swim time…gulp

    At the end of our time at the Bluenote, the Silhouettes, a great group, became the house band….Doug Riley organ, Whitey Glann drums, Steve Kennedy sax, Domanic Troiano I believe on guitar….can’t recall the other musicians…
    We the Regents, became the Big Town Boys initially backing up Shirley Mathews with her big hit Big Town Boy….produced by Bob Crewe, with Charlie Calelo his arranger….
    Was a great time in Toronto….

    • Hi Tommy
      It is fabulous hearing from you after all these years. I really appreciate your recollection of who played at the “Note”, especially naming the years. The only thing I am not clear on is when Les was the sax player. All I know is, I was invited to join the Silhouettes by either Steve or Fred Theriault. Fred was the drummer for a while and then Pete Grochelle was the drummer… or was it the other way around?

      When I was playing with Steve, other guys in the band were Howie Glen on bass and Mike Holman on guitar, with a 17 year old Dougie Riley on organ. I can definitely remember Dianne Brooks was a regular singer, as she and Steve were keeping house together. And her daughter, little Joanne would sing with us once in a while… it was very cute. She would probably have been around 11 at the time. I can remember also backing up Shirley Matthews before and after she made her big recording in NYC.

      When the floor show was announced at the Note, there would be a mad scramble to put chairs on the floor facing the band stand. I remember the coat checking area was at the very front of the building and after you got past Al Steiner and his beautiful blonde wife, Gerry?, you walked past some soft drink vending machines to get to the dance floor area and the stage on your right. The floor was black and white checker board pattern and there was a kind of mural picture of a city scape on the wall between the stage and the back door, which lead down a narrow flight of stairs to the back parking lot.

      I would love to see any photos you may have and hear any audio you may have. Brian has already shared some photos with me, as you probably know, like the one of Kay Taylor singing with Steve and Les on saxes. Maybe I came into the band after Les.

      I know after Bob Andrews left Kay Taylor and the Regents, he went on to form another version of the Regents (with Dunc and Judi) and he then invited me to join that group. That would probably be the reason I left the Silhouettes. If you think my memory of all this is distorted, please let me know.

      I fully realize all of this stuff is ancient history and probably doesn’t mean a thing to anyone else.

      I can remember before playing at the Note, I was playing with a guitar player, Jim Bishop, and Fred was the drummer in that band too. I assume you have read my account of the Toronto Sound of The 60s. Hope I got most of what I said correct. You seem to have a good memory so maybe you can advise.
      – Russ

    • It would be great to see interior photos of the Bluenote. Anyone who went to the club back in the 60s, as I did, would really be blown away.

  90. Thanks for your efforts to run down Yonge Street’s famous watering holes of yesteryear. I saw and heard Errol Garner at the Colonial and the Town on a few occasions, and there was a jazz organist, Lloyd Bury(sp?) who played at a hotel on the west side of Jarvis Street. George’s Spaghetti House, Dundas and Sherbourne, was also popular during my time with jazz greats such as Moe Kaufman, Peter Appleyard, Phil Nimmons and Rob McConnell of Boss Brass featured. Those were the days.

    • Great to hear from you, Ron. Yes, those were the days… I was firmly planted on the playing ground with one foot in jazz and the other in pop music. Jazz was where I got my inspiration… Pop was were I made a bit of money … haha. – Russ

  91. A bit of info on the Colonial. My parents used to go there after dining at Bassel’s. Over the years they saw Theolonius Monk, Wild Bill
    Davidson,Miles Davis among others. Monk sat down at the piano one night, played two notes and walked out the front door. Fifteen minutes later he came back in, sat down, and played. Needed inspiration or something I guess.
    This is a fabulous production-brings back so many memories.
    Thank you.

  92. Where have all the suits and dresses gone on today’s musicians? Ruth

  93. What a fantastic, important contribution to our cultural heritage! Congratulations and adulation to the people involved!

  94. WOW what a great walk down memory lane. So many great players came out of the Toronto music scene, Yorkville included. Some have passed away, some gave it up and some were inspired to dedicate their life to studying and teach music. Check out David Wood’s website, the younger brother of Harold Wood (Long & McQuade) the main music instrument store in Toronto every musicians go to destination.
    Seeing some of the names who has posted comments is also a treat, Brian Massey if you read this contact me, back from your years as a sheet metal worker.

    • You have my attention Bill, WAZUP ?

      • Brian: Now that was a real surprise. When I saw your name here I couldn’t believe it. Do you still live in Toronto? I live in the country just north of Belleville for the past 9 years. Other e-mail address
        Did you check out This is one of the projects I’m involved with since retiring from 21 years the film business in 2000.

    • Bill, do you have a link to Dave Woods’ website?

      • ‎Hi Russ,I wish I did!Best wishes for 2018,Bill Munson Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Rogers network. From: Russ & Gary’s The Best Years of MusicSent: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 23:15To: billmunson@bell.netReply To: Russ & Gary’s The Best Years of MusicSubject: [New comment] The Toronto Sound Of The 60’s

        a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; }

        a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; }

        /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Jim Henderson commented: “Bill, do you have a link to Dave Woods’ website?”

  95. Barbara Lee-Little

    Wonderful memories !!

  96. Maybe I missed it but John Finley was popular act at that time. John and Lee and the Checkmates and then Rhinocerus.

  97. I was the Drummer for Fat Chance. We played at the Le Coq’Dor, the Colonial, the Famous Door, the Coal Bin and other places, including the Strawberry Fields pop festival at Mosport Race track in 1970. We shared offices, rehearsal space and management with Ronnie Hawkins on the third floor above the Le Coq’D’Or and The Hawk’s next. I am still a close friend of Ronnie and his family. Great times !

  98. Lloyd Welke ( Honky Tonk Outlaw)

    Great journey down Memory Lane… Lots of great artists and some of the venues are gone but the memories are still there.

  99. What a lot of great stories and information. I hung out at just about every place on the strip in 68-71 and saw a lot of great musicians. I am sure glad I was around for most of the action. I tried my hand at guitar and organ for a few years but only in a few obscure cover bands. Finally got a “real” job with shift work and that was the end of my music career. Still I don;t regret a minute of it.

  100. Great pic and history Russ!!! I’ll get back with some of more Yonge St gig stuff soon!!

  101. loved the colonial, the rest- not so much

  102. Another great Band from Toronto “The Last Words”Keep up the great work Guys

  103. Thanks for the memories Russ. Gratifying to see The Last Words mentioned in the comments. We played some of the venues in your blog, but we were more “pop” than R&B. We were, however, R&B wannabees and looked up to all the musicians mentioned.
    Thanks again,
    Bill Dureen (Keyboards and vocals..The Last Words)

  104. Denny MacDougall

    Agreed Russ with your reply to Bill’s comment regarding the Last Words. We requested their hits I Symbolise You and Give Me Time at a gig they played at York University until they became annoyed with us and would not perform them one more time. They were part of a weekend music festival which also featured the McCoys and Neil Diamond. Very much apart of the Toronto 60’s sound.

  105. Terrific article Russ!

    I’ve emailed you a letter which you’ve read already, but I wanted to make the article public so that others here could read it. I’ve posted it on my website:

    • Hi Anthony / Tony
      Your letter blew me away… so much great information. That was a real L.O.L. moment for me to read that you were at the Hawks Nest the night King Curtis blew my new Selmer. Man, we have been leading sort of parallel lives to some extent, with maybe just one degree of separation at times.

      I am glad to see that you have published your letter on your web site. Thank you for all your kind words and supporting what we do the way you have. Your information really goes quite well with our Toronto Sound article, filling in a lot of the blanks for the reader.

      I still play with Sonny Milne… too funny. We’ll have to get together next time I get down to Toronto. I can get Sonny to join us.

      Take care, man.
      – Russ

    • Sir: This is one of the most interesting, and fluid, accounts of this subject that I have ever read! And you allude to Yorkville as well. The ‘letter’ will be a valuable addition to Mr. Standlee’s collection. Thankyou.

  106. Really enjoyed Anthony Carr’s blog on those early days of the thriving Toronto music scene. I remember a lot of the characters he describes so beautifully. GREAT story, Anthony!

  107. Today has been a powerful experience in re-visiting the musical past and this site has been a welcome part of it. I would like to know if someone knows of a way to contact “Little Diane”. Our paths crossed in a band just prior to her time with the Majestics.
    Had the good fortune to do a bit of playing with Mike Harrison, Val Stevens and Kenny Marco.

    Thanks for this wonderful site.

    • Hi Mike – I do not have any special communication channels with people like Little Diane… sorry I can’t help you. Maybe someone else reading this blog could assist?
      – Russ

      PS – did OUR paths ever cross?

      • Mike Brewes

        Probably not, Russ. I was at the periphery of the scene and entered it in its later period. Mike Harrison was my first personal contact. I still remembe that moment very well.

    • Mike Harrison

      Hey, McTavish!

  108. Angela Penfound

    Thank you Russ. .what a great read☺

  109. Just came across this thanks to a friend. Joe King was my father in law. Although I was disappointed that you didn’t have any live music archived, it was nice of your to mention him. When he passed about 6 years ago, I inscribe the “King of Yonge Street” on his tombstone. If you know where I can locate any live music from his band, please let me know. All the best! Jeff Albert

  110. I was in the band Fat Chance. We shared rehearsal and office space with Ronnie Hawkins above the Le Coq D’Or tavern. We played there and most of the clubs mentioned and recorded for Capital Records in 1969 It was a great time and The Hawk is still my close friend.

    • Hi Paul! Those were great days with lots of work for everybody. I heard from my bass player friend Sam, and my keyboard friend Walter, that Fat Chance was a very busy group touring for Harold Kudlets all over the place and down into the States. (Maybe we should do a blog about them.) Keep up the blowing. We need to keep it going. – Russ

  111. Thanks Russ. I am still playing now that I am 64. In two bands in Vancouver. an 8 piece blues and R&B bad with sax, trumpet and violin and a 7 piece rock group. Making ten’s of dollars!

  112. Ray Harrison here..i spent many years playing Yonge st…Brass Rail Zanzibar friars tavern , tavern etc It was an amazing era for sure..played with many of the guys you have listed here too …..those were the days !!!!

  113. Left out the Holiday Tavern at Bathurst and Queen, Great article ! !

  114. Hi Russ…..always a fun time with you in the band…..two saxes was always one of my favourite sounds and times at the Bluenote ’61-61….
    All the best to you….
    Tommy Graham…Kay Taylor and the Regents

    • Hey Tommy
      Great to hear from you, man. Thanks for the kind words, coming from a PRO. Those were definitely very special times.
      And thanks for the “carbon dating” with your time machine. 1961 sounds about right.
      Where’s our next gig together?
      – Russ

  115. Hi Russ, You probably don’t remember me but when we were teenagers I played drums and we played together on a few gigs at frat houses, schools, church halls and a legion in Willowdale a few times. We played with the likes of Jim Dixon, Paul Weldon, Nick Bassil, Bob Andrews and Al Sumpter.

    My name is Rob Bush and I thank you for this trip down memory lane.

  116. Dr. Wanda Brooks-Long

    Have you ever heard of a Jazz Pianist name Duke Page?

  117. Thanks for this trip down Memory Lane Russ!
    What was the name of the downstairs bar played by Fats Domino in the 60s … off Yonge Street on perhaps Bay with a rather nice hotel upstairs? Thanks!

  118. Wow, our band would play at the Chez Monique as a house band, Lornnie Adams & The Soul Gents in the summers after Jack London and The Sparrows left to become Steppenwolf. I recall all of the clubs and my favorites were the Purple Onion where Luke and the Apostle’s played. Then I’d wander over to the Avenue Road Club to watch Grant Smith and the Power. Brings back memories of all the great times in my teens.

    • Hi Wayne
      After playing with the Majestics, I worked with a house band at the Avenue Road Club called “White Wail” – this would have been in the early 70’s. Grant Smith would have moved on to other things by then. I think he played in a part of the Avenue Road Club called “The Devil’s Den”. Murray Campbell was the cool manager at that time. Does that ring any bells? – Russ

      • Cheryl Melino

        Hi Russ, I know you wrote this a long time ago and may not see it but Murray was my grandfather, though he passed before I ever met him.
        I’ve been trying to learn more about him and his life.. do you have
        any memories of him? Info you could share?

    • Hello Gerry,
      Charlie Miller was my best friend at the start of high school. Through Charlie, I met his brother Ralph (who I played trumpet with) who was also a founding member with Charlie of The Power. Met all of the group members at The Devil’s Den many times, and attended Grant’s wedding ceremony there (still have a few color pictures at the wedding).
      Peter Waters

      • Thanks for the reply, Peter. Can I be cheeky enough to ask you if you would be kind enough to get scans of any photos (or negatives) with Charlie and Ralph if and when you get a chance?
        I don’t have a single image of either of them. Falling out of touch with Charlie is one of my life’s regrets. I would of course reimburse you for any expenses you might incur. Many thanks IF YOU CAN!
        gorbals406 AT gmail DOT com

  119. I worked for Murray Campbell in the Devil’s Den with Steve Bach. The late Charlie Miller, one of the two-drummer setup of the Power, was a good friend. Originally, the band was called E.G. Smith and The Power. Good memories!

    • Hi Gerry – your memories are good for sure – quite accurate, I would say!
      Working for Murray would have been a mind blower, eh?
      – Russ

    • Originally. the band was called Eddie Spencer and The Power. Grant replaced Eddie on January 1, 1967, and Stoney joined as the second drummer a couple of weeks later.

      • Hi Guys! My high school mates in Oakville included Scott Cushnie – his father taught me Chemistry at Blakelock – and Charlie (Chuck) Daniels.
        Both hit the road to join a band … I wonder if your archives can tell the rest of the story? Thanks!

  120. Great site, thanks! You mention that the Silver Rail didn’t have a lot of music. Oddly enough, though, it was one of the last places for live music on Yonge St. In the 1990s they had quite a few jazz trios playing there (I had the pleasure of seeing Don Franks singing with Steve Hunter playing piano). It also has another GREAT claim to musical fame, being the bar that Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and Bud Powell drank at the evening of their “Great Concert at Massey Hall”!

    • Hi Paul
      I stand corrected and informed. Wow – I loved Don Franks, not to mention those jazz giants of the Massey Hall concert. In the 1990s, I was living another musical life in Barrie and seldom got to enjoy live music of the “big smoke” (Toronto).
      Thanks so much for sharing. – Russ

  121. Russ and Gary, I can’t thank you enough for all the work you have done on this, a history of Toronto music of the 60’s. I was only a kid still at school, playing with various mostly unknown bands, and frequenting all of the clubs on Yonge st. We did a couple places at the village like Che Monique and Place Pigualle. Most memorable, was catching Lenny Breau at a club just south of Bloor on Yonge st. N.E. corner, side street, with Terry Clarke and Don Thompson. I got to talk to George Benson at the Colonial between sets, great down to earth guy. I caught Levon and the Hawks at the time just before they joined with Dylan at the Friars, The Rogues at Club Bluenote after hours, when Kenny Rogers and the First Eddition walked in after their cfto gig. I listened at the door of the Brown Derby to Joe King and the Zaniacs, also Le Coq d’or and other clubs. Later in the early 70’s, I joined forces with some guys that were gigging at the Speak Easy on Bloor st.with Toby Lark. We formed a Funk and Soul band, called “Fellowship”. We played the Yonge St. Strip, like Colonial, Le Coq D’or and all the other clubs, like Piccadelli Tube, Forge, and especially the Generator, where we followed Rush one time, and all the big clubs in town, not to mention Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and gigs in Michigan and Ohio. Most memorable in the 70’s was Tower of Power at the Colonial, what a band, the whole audience was a who’s who of Toronto musicians. we took the week off, there every night. That’s when they had Lenny Pickett on tenor, Chester Thompson B3, and Lenny Williams on vocals. We played the Embassy on Bloor st, there was a wall behind the stage where everyone that played there had their autographs on the wall. Proud to say, I signed under Louis Armstrong. I remember all the bands you mentioned and played for, loved all the songs, caught a lot at school dances. I listened to chum all the time as I was a hit picker for my school, this was a period in my life that I loved and treasured. Unfortunately, my memory is not as it used to be, and you, Russ and Gary, have renewed it to a large extent. Once again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Hey Evan
      Those were definitely SWEET times in our young lives.
      Thank you for all your kind words, plus sharing your own (similar) journey through the music time machine.
      – Russ

  122. Russ thanks for doing this, I’m 70 now and remember so many of these great, great groups. My favourite was the Bluenote on Yonge St for sure. Maybe someone mentioned this but another favourite of mine was The Palm Grove Lounge, downstairs from the Embassy at Bloor & Bellair. Great groups there, many from the US.
    Thanks again
    Bob Elliott

    • I also went to the Palm Grove Lounge. I saw Wayne Cochran & The CC Riders there with Ralph Miller of Grant Smith & The Power. What a show, including Cochran stepping up on to the Hammond B3 ghen grabbing the ceiling tile ripping one large piece off and throwing it into the crowd. Holy Moly!

      • Thanks for that reminder about the name and location of the Palm Grove Lounge … I’ll never forget seeing many of our legends in that downstairs showcase, Fats Domino included!

    • My father was the manager at Palm Grove Lounge at that time. Ed Achtenberg.

  123. WOW…what a great piece of Toronto music history. Thank You Russ. In my area, when we didn’t travel downtown, we would drop in at the Cambridge Hotel (The Bridge) and see some great Motown sounding cover groups…like Robert E Lee and others, I totally forget. How you remember all these details…loved it. (The Chicken Deli…Robbie Laine was there for years…maybe still is? He has a great radio show now and adds so much of his own personal memories/information when introducing songs, etc)….

    • Thanks, Steve, for your appreciation of our post. Yes, I have SOME vivid memories of trivial stuff that means nothing to most people today. Yet remembering to read blog comments and deal with today’s issues is much more challenging lol – Russ

  124. Hi Russ. Great anthology! It must have taken years! Question, got any Blue Note pix of the the Charmaines with Shirley Matthews, her sister Joyce, Dianne Brooks & Mimi, also one of me? You sent me one but I can’t find it.
    Thanks again. The memories abound.
    Mike Holman

  125. HI Russ,
    I’m 80 years old & read through it all. Mind boggling. Played Che Monique with a band named MARRS 5, did some recording that got on the battle of the sounds on CHUM. Love the memories!
    Thank you
    Rene Roberge

  126. Tommy Graham…
    HI Russ,…back here again……how did you remember all this….(must have been before marijuana…lol….
    Bluenote anthology…..
    started with Bobby Dean and the Gems as the first group for a short time…then myself, Brian Massey, Steve Kennedy – KayTaylor and the Regents, for a couple of years…(where we all learned how to be real musicians….floor show- artist from the USA performing in Toronto all showed up at the Bluenote…Al Steiner of course talked them into doing a song or 2 on the Floorshow….the Regents had to just Jam it…scary but wonderful magic…..Russ you did a couple of gigs with us….love those twin tenor saxes……Sometime Brian and I would do some not rehearst skits on the floor show….one time Brian did a magic bit where he asked for Boyd Carter’s (famous football player from the
    Toronto team), new silk very expensive tie… the sissors out and cut the tie in half…..then proceeded to roll it up in his hand to magically reassemble…opened his hands and Boyd’s tie fell to ground still in 2 parts….Boyd was really pissed….lol…the crowd loved it of course…..
    Then after K.T.and the Regents were the Sillhouettes…..etc etc…..what great band….and great years……

    • Hey Tommy
      You have a very detailed recall of the “Bluenote anthology” and I love the magical Massey story where he cut Boyd Carter’s tie. Too funny!
      Just one thing I might add to that “anthology” era… It seems to me that Jay Smith & The Majestics were a fixture at the Note during those early days.
      – Russ

      • Tommy Graham

        Hi Russ….not to my knowledge at least before the silhouettes were the house band…..
        All the best,

      • Club Trocodero at Bloor and Durie from ’62 to ~’65.
        One of the members, Jim Oskirko on the keyboards, my brother, passed away a year and a bit ago.

      • Tommy Graham

        Hi Rick…….the first few bands to play the Bluenote were Bobby Dean and the Gems, 1961…Kay Taylor and the regents….(the floor shows were always amazing and anything could happen, and then the Silhouettes….all great bands and part of the early Toronto history….

    • I was there around 1965-67 and the floor show started at 12:00 a.m. and went to 2:00 a.m..Am I correct on that?

      • Hi Don – I believe you are correct about the time slot for Steiner’s Bluenote Floor Show… and NO alcoholic beverages were permitted for this after-hours teen club. I can remember pop machines as you headed for the dance floor.
        – Russ

      • Tommy Graham

        1061-63…..sounds right but floor show probably only went on for an hour or a little bit more….

      • My memory may be off a bit. I remember Diane Brooks and Eric Mercury. Any idea when they played there?

      • Tommy Graham

        Hi Don….Dianne Brooks sang there from last 1961 though 1962

      • She must have come back later because I was only 14 in 1962 and I did not attend the Bluenote until after highschool year 1965.

      • Mike Watson

        I’m pretty sure that both Dianne and a young Joanne performed with Bobby Dupont’s ‘the Statlers’ (the Bluenote’s final houseband) during ’67 to ”69.

      • Bill Munson

        Dianne’s early career in Canada is hard to pin down – as it is with many once school is over and there’s no ability to peg dates to stuff like the home-room teacher. And as Dianne had been recording (for Savoy out of NJ) since, ’57 home room was a distant memory for her. Her own best guess was that she moved to Toronto in ’60 or ’61 (thanks to agent Billy O’Connor). From what she and others told me over the years, she sang regularly at the Bluenote with the Silhouettes and Whitey and the Roulettes. And then she and Steve Kennedy joined Eric Mercury in the Soul Searchers – in ’65 or ’66 (at which point Domenic Troiano took over from Steve as musical director of the Roulettes, who changed their name to the Rogues (or Five Rogues).

      • Tommy Graham

        Hi Don….yes, she stayed after Kay Taylor and the Regents left the Bluenote.

      • OK. Thanks for clearing that up.

  127. Hi Russ, something people don’t remember about the Blue Note. In the very early days there was a small kitchen area where you could get a sandwich and coffee from a Chinese man by the name of Pinky. I remember him well because he always made me a plate of chicken fried rice when I asked for it. I was special then and I still am.
    Brian Massey

  128. Brian…what kind of crazy name your now going by……jajajjajajajjajajaj

  129. Dan Logeman aka Jamie Taylor.

    Loved your trip down memory lane. I was Jamie Taylor of jamie Taylor and the climax band. Worked the Hawks nest broom and stone jubilee pavilion and many others from 1967-70. Opened for mandala and worked alongside the power Jackie Shane and so many great artists of the time. You certainly made my day reading your detailed info on one of the greatest music scenes ever. Thanks so much.

  130. Russ, will respond soon as just now my portable a/c overflowed and flooded half my apt. Apres ca la deluge! lol Up late reading all the contributions..remember I am sort of an interloper here, not a musician and left Toronto in ’57.But lots of bits and pieces throughout more than a half century to add to your grand portrait which is massive. Look forward.

  131. A great read. Nice seeing a lot of old friends.

    • Thanks, Larry. – Russ

      • I always love your blog post Russ, and it was good to see that picture of Booby Kris and The Imperials, it’s amazes me how thin I was back then! 😂
        Although I’m playing around town a lot with big bands and smaller jazz groups, my years spent playing R & B with both The Imperials and The Majestics were some of my best memories. And how many of us can say they have friends like you that they have known for well over 50 years. We need to play together again! BigDaddy

      • Hey man – we need to play together again for sure. I wonder if Eric is up to it?
        Chris lives a bit far away now. We could get Russ Little on ‘bone.
        Even a rehearsal band would be fun.
        – Russ

  132. Reblogged this on kschmo7177 and commented:
    I knew Sonny & the Sequins playing at the Brass Rail, owned by Irv Cooper brother to Zanzibar owner in 1966. Sandy was a go-go dancer there at the time.


    Great Canadian Music History – well done + Super History Pictures.

  134. Great info about a terrific era in Toronto music. So many amazing musicians. Can you tell me the name of the bar that was on the east side of Belair just north of Bloor and it had a huge area downstairs??? Driving me crazy to locate the name.

    • Sorry, John. I do not recall the name of that place on Belair. It’s all a bit of a fog about that heady time back then around Yorkville.
      Here is an interesting article you may not have seen…

      – Russ

    • Wouldn’t this be downstairs at the Embassy Tavern?   I think of it fondly because in ’75 or ’76 Richard Flohill arranged  a 10th ‎anniversary event for band Sweet Blindness (née the Statlers) and invited old-timers from the ’60s scene. (I wasn’t one, but got to go because I’d lent Richard my old Toronto 45s for the jukebox in the room – they got a lot of play.)I got to meet a bunch of key guys from the old days, including Duff Roman, Robbie Lane, Stan Klees‎ and Rick James. Robbie is still a friend, as is Duff – and as is Richard.   Stan later spent hours going over his history with me at the RPM offices, and Rick James had me over to his apartment on Tichester for a cup of tea.   He had the Mynah Birds 45 hanging on his wall. Bill Munson    From: Russ & Gary’s The Best Years of MusicSent: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:01To: billmunson@bell.netReply To: Russ & Gary’s “The Best Years of Music”Subject: [New comment] The Toronto Sound Of The 60’s

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      /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ John B commented: “Great info about a terrific era in Toronto music. So many amazing musicians. Can you tell me the name of the bar that was on the east side of Belair just north of Bloor and it had a huge area downstairs??? Driving me crazy to locate the name.”

  135. the Palm Grove Lounge!

  136. The Embassy.

  137. I do not know when the Nickelodeon was established or if it used a different name in an earlier incarnation. It was a venue that provided an debut entry to the Yonge St. strip for many acts. The Proprietor was a lovely, gracious woman named Martha. She would dress elegantly and greet her guests at the door. The club was on an upper level accessed by a tiny stairway – providing a brutal load-in for a Hammond and Leslie.
    The neighbourhood I was born in (Keele & Lawrence) had a number of players. John Witmer (Whiskey Howl) was five houses down. Up around the corner was Walter Zwolinski. Wally started out on accordion which seemed a tad hokey. I remember being blown away when he got a Hammond and set it up in his garage to rehearse with his band ‘The Cymbol’ (or something like that – it was a peculiar spelling). Ed Shaw played drums with that band.
    Rob Theodore and brothers Robert and Michael (Robbie Roxx later, earlier ‘The Soul Reason’) were a couple of streets over. As I was born in 1953 I was not old enough to get into the many listed clubs at the times referenced. I played keyboards for Bobby Dupont in the mid ’80’s. Routinely, old friends would come out to see him and often come on-stage for a tune or two.
    The first big concert I attended was at Maple Leaf Stadium. Opening act was the 5 Rogues, an introduction to Blue-Eyed Soul. The Animals were another undercard to Hermin’s Hermits.

  138. I see that Jackie Shane has died at age 74 in Memphis. An unusual human being for sure. The only ” live recording ” of her that I have heard was done at the Saphire Tavern and the sound was pretty bad.

    On another tangent.. Do you remember a guy called Freddy McNulty, who was a sort of band mascot for Hawkins ? He was a great dancer, but he wasn’t very good with the social graces. Rumour was that his Father was a Superior court Judge.

    A final question. I was one of the “young guys ” who worked at the Trocadero on Bloor west near Jane. I remember a singer named Eugene ” Jay ” Smith from MImico, appearing there with the Majestics. I think he is still working as Jay Smith and The Work Out Band. Is my memory correct about Jay Smith ?

    Thanks Jim B.

    • Eugene Smith is still going strong, based in BC with visits to the Toronto area a couple times a year.  The Warm-Up Band hung up its skates ages ago, but got together for a couple of reunion shows over the last two or three years (with Grant Slater replacing the late Teddy Grimes).  I saw him playing in Victoria last month with just a bassist and he sounds great.  A musical gem – always has been. By coincidence, I found a couple of his '70s 45s at the Kop's Collectables store on the Danforth last week.  I had the impression that they had multiple copies.  Some of his material has found its way onto CD – on compilation released by the Pacemaker label and various sold-from-the-stage efforts.  Unfortunately, the material of Eugene that I like the very best is only available on vinyl: the Lucifer album produced in Detroit by HDH in 1970 and a couple of the Goldfish label 45s, the very best of which was at Kop's, "Freight Train" / "Piece Of Wood".  

  139. Eugene “Jay” Smith is still going strong and must have the genes. He looks great and sounds great. Funny stories…he was offered the opportunity to do “Me and Bobbie McGee” , before Janis. A song by a guy who was sweeping the recording studio in exchange for recording time… Kris Kristofferson. He turned it down as he didn’t care for it. Needless to say, the rest is history but the cut recorded by Janis had Jay’s former band mates in the Hawks backing her as the Full Tilt Boogie Band.

  140. As a teenage growing up in Hamilton it was a thrill grabbing a Gray Coach bus and zooming over to Toronto to wander around Yorkville and catch the vibe – seeing a few shows at the Riverboat (Gordon Lightfoot and Seals and Crofts). I was too young to get into a bar, but managed to catch a church dance show eioth Shawne and Jay Jackson & The Majestics, a high school dance with Grant Smith & The Power and Motherlode in the basement of the Hamilton ‘YMCA.” Their set list was so short they did “When I Die” to open and close the set.
    So many years later in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it was exciting to be working in Toronto radio – playing these oldies on 1050 CHUM. While at CHUM it was so cool to become friends with Robbie Lane, meet George Olliver, Jon Findlay and Keith Hampshire.
    Thanks for the excellent blog – a lot of great stories and history.
    Charlie O’Brien
    former DJ 1050 CHUM / CKLW Windsor-Detroit

  141. Fred Keeler passed away July 14th 2019. A truly sweet gentle and very talented musician. His son, Jessie, has carried on his legacy and Fred would be proud of him. RIP Freddie!

    • So sad to hear this, Ruth. Such a gentle sweet soul indeed.

      • There is a celebration of Freddie’s life taking place Saturday August 10th at The Bridge Church for All Nations in Pickering and Rebecca would welcome anyone interested in coming out.

    • Sad news. I saw Fred play many times with David Clayton Thomas and the Shays. Never tired of hearing his solo on their version of Boom Boom. I am certain he inspired many including myself to pickup a guitar and learn to play. A pretty good legacy I would say.

  142. Sunfish camp in the 40s. I became a professor of insects. You had a dachshund and we kept in touch after returning to the east end. I’m impressed by your account of a music scene of the 50s. Best
    Glenn Morris

  143. Greetings In this terrific blog which is a treasure trove of music trivia …for those of us that can remember….you mention Gord Fleming. Is this the same guy who arranged the charts on several of those terrific Keith Hampshire records. I called them the ‘ Canadian Wall of Sound’! They sort of jumped out of the radio back in the day. Let me know when you have time. Cheers

    • Gord Fleming – the B3 guru from Toronto (not the accordian guy from Montreal) – was indeed the same guy who arranged the charts for Keith Hampshire. I was married to him at the time, and loved watching the process of those songs coming to life. Keith Hampshire is still alive, well, and singing up a storm.

  144. anyone remember a band out of Oshawa – Bobby Ray and the Du-Kanes – Frank Pollard, a booking agent was in that band – Billy on lead ruined the top of the piano (jumped all over it – had to be refinished) doing a gig in Belleville, Ontario, Moira Secondary, a local high school – but they did a song with horns better than Bobby Bland and his blues band – ‘Turn on Your Lovelight”. I outlined this info. in a previous blog – signing off – david

    • What became of Bobby Ray?

      • Bruce Staubitz

        The Du-Kanes drummer and leader was Frank Pollard. Billy was most likely Bill Goguen aka “wild billy dancer”. Bobby Ray [Brown] has passed some years ago.

    • Billy must’ve been Billy Dalziel (Diel), subsequently with Jerry Warren and the Tremblers, Larry Lee and the Leesures and the Quorum (and much more). In recent years he was doing a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis show. The only Du-Kanes record I know of is a 45 from ’65 or ’66 where they back Ross Campbell.

  145. Debbie Grinshpan

    I remember those days well especially the club blue note. My partner and I Cheryl were Debbie and Sherry the Manhattan a go go dancers and we featured on the floor show at midnight on the weekends. We also did other gigs around the city especially with the group called The Manhattans hence our name Debbie and Sherry the Manhattan a go-go dancers. Went to Doug Rileys wedding when he was (briefly) married to Claudette.

    • Aw yes, Claudette. She was on the cover of one of our LPs.

      • Russ: I was told many, many years ago that it’s Claudette on the cover of the first Majestics LP. Who is on the cover of the LP that Jackie Gabriel sings on?

      • Claudette was on the LP “Here Come The Judge” ARC 780.
        She may have been on the first LP “Instrumental R&B” ARC 732 but I am not sure.

      • To tie two recent threads together, pianist Billy Diel and his bandmates in Quorum backed Jackie Gabriel on a 45 she did in the ’70s.

    • want this added to my page


      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  146. WHO Memories Galore

  147. A fantastic blog entry! Do you happen to recall what year Kenny Hepburn’s “Twangy Guitar” record was released?

  148. Straight-up fantastic, I do applaud your time on this very worthwhile project. I often wondered why Q107 on Psychedelic Sunday never did (that I know of) a day on the Toronto Sound. I have lived and played in Toronto all my life and we really did have a great deal of wonderful bands. I have some posters of concerts that I attended, Hendrix, The Doors, The Who, The Rock & Roll Revival, The Trans Canada Pop Festival, The Bump & Grind Revue with Mainline and The Last Show at the Elmo, again with Mainline. I am missing more than I have and was wondering if you had any idea where any/some could be acquired, thanks and again, great work.

  149. Martin B. Silver

    Hey Russ,

    You may not remember me but I think we met at the Earl Haig S.S. 75th Reunion in 2003. We had a good chat about our respective days at the Haig and the music teachers of the day mine being Mr. Cringan where I learned to play alto sax. I was also responsible for putting together the playlist of music that played out of the Haig’s Radio Station Room on the 2nd floor of the school and was pumped into the halls and theme rooms of that memorable event. I’m a big fan of the music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s etc. and I still have my original collection of 45’s, LP’s and reel to reel tapes of music form these era’s. I still have my 45 version of Classmate by the Beaumarks which is still one of my older brother and my faves. I also have a copy of a later Jack London and The Sparrows 45 on Capitol Records called If you Don’t Want My Love that I played over and over in my teen years. Shirley Matthews doing Big Town Boy was also a fabulous tune. Many years later (1990’s/early 2000’s), I recall Don Daynard from CHFI saying that Shirley was living in Unionville where I was residing at that time.
    Your anthology on the Toronto Music Scene is an incredible one. You have great collection of stories, pictures, music clips and videos that I was blown away with this historical walk down the memory lane of Yonge Street with all it’s clubs, bars and the phenomenal music scene that existed during those days.
    I want to congratulate you on this phenomenal accomplishment that will exist forever and in perpetuity.. I plan to share it with many. God willing, maybe we will cross paths once again in 2028 when the Haig will be celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary.

    Best wishes Russ. Take care and be well.

    Cheers, Marty Silver (Earl Haig Graduate 1971)

  150. Frank Corrigan

    Wow, born in St. Joes in ’50 Toronto lad always and your presentation Rocks it Man thanks

  151. I am sorry to disappoint you, Cheryl, but I never got to be part of his personal circle. I worked at the club with Steve a few nights a week, so I used to see Murray and have the odd word with him. However, he was a real “party animal” whereas I was a no-drug teetotaller who hated parties and crowds.
    If you’d like to give me a call or contact me with a few questions, please feel free anytime to phone me at 905.506.5466 or reach me on FaceTime, Messenger, Duo, or email at .

  152. karen ortmann

    I enjoyed this blog so much. I saw many of the groups you mentioned and danced to their music. The Brown Derby was the first club I ever went to when I moved to Toronto at age 18. And yes, I drank under-age. My room-mates and I frequented many of the others like Friars, Le Coq d’or, the Zanzibar etc. In fact, I remember going upstairs at the Zanzibar with a friend and auditioning as a duet to sing in an all-girls band. I guess it was the club manager who played the piano and I sang Everybody Loves a Lover. I got the job and my friend didn’t. I never went back though. What an amazing life you have experienced. Thank you so much for taking us on your journey. Karen

    • Hi Karen
      That is so cool that you auditioned at the Zanzibar and got the singing part – “Everybody Loves A Lover” the Doris Day song – I can just about hear you singing it now – with the club manager playing the piano? That would have been Dave Cooper… didn’t know he was a pianist! Thanks so much for your memories. Did you go to Ryerson?
      – Russ

      • karen ortmann

        Thank you Russ. Nice to hear back from you. Dave really pounded those piano keys. A bouncy little number. Actually, I had no idea there was an audition until my friend, feeling very nervous to go on her own, invited me to sing a folk song with her. I don’t remember what we sang but when we had finished, Dave asked me to sing something on my own. It is a fun memory for me but disappointing for my friend. Like you Russ, I attended Ryerson. I took Fashion Design. I retired twenty years ago and moved from my home town of Toronto to Kingston, the limestone city and retirement capital of Ontario. My baby brother Matt Woodward who lives here too teaches guitar and plays lead guitar with a local band called The Great Unwashed. They usually play at one of the nicer spots, The Blue Martini. I’ll stop rambling on now and wish you an enjoyable day. Stay safe!

  153. David E. Barrett

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Russ. My best friend & I saw many of these artists both in Toronto & in London. We used to see Hawkins regularly when he played the Stork Club in Port Stanley, at the Brass Rail, Campbell’s & Ye Old City Hall (he owned the last 2) when we were underaged & living in London. When we saw Ronnie at Le Coq Dor he used to call us the London Outlaws. He had quite a following from London including Ron the Butcher. A few years later I moved to Guelph to attend university & used to see the Mercy Brothers at the King Eddy Hotel on Wyndham St. I believe they were from around the Kitchener area. While in Guelph I often drove to TO for the great entertainment. I remember first seeing Gordon Lightfoot at the River Boat in Yorkville. A week later I heard him on the local Guelph radio station about 1 am & went downtown & bought his first album that morning from Green’s Music Store. I still have that album & it’s pristine. I took my parents to the Breslau Hotel in Bresalau On to see Ray Hutchinson & they were really impressed. I was very sad to hear that he was seriously injured by a drunk driver I believe in Miami while crossing the street to the club where he was playing an afternoon gig ending a career that was just starting to take off. I remember even going to Detroit to an American Legion to see Guy Lombardo. We also saw the Glenn Miller Orchestra play at Wonderland Gardens in London in the 60’s. It was such a wonderful era for music that I started my own record business specializing in music from the 40’s through to the 80’s. That business took me to the U. S. east coast on a plethora of record buying trips. Record labels from that era are another area of fantastic history. Unfortunately the recording industry was also infiltrated by the mafia and many artists were cheated out of their royalties and writers/music credits. Some were even killed when they balked at being cheated out of their money. After vinyl died with the advent of CD’s I switched careers and began a new career in the Criminal Justice System for the next 34 years (worked well past my retirement age) but I never lost my love for music. Now I have moved on to singing karaoke. I have about 180,000 karaoke songs & have set up a large music room in my home. I played trombone in high school & then learned the sax after graduation. For me music is the sunshine of my soul. So thankful for all those great artists that brought so much joy into my life.
    Dave B

    • Hi Dave
      Wow – what a journey, man. You have covered it all and in grand style, I would say. I’m glad I never knew anyone who got wacked by the mafia.
      – Russ

  154. Roberto Falconieri

    Very nice and inspiring. I know from books and mags two things you don’t say, that Bruce Palmer was in the Sparrows before joining the Mynah Birds, and about Neil Young performing as a folksinger, with no great success….

  155. Wow, this was really informative! I’m searching for specific information about the Brown Derby and maybe you can help? I’m wondering if you know of a way to find out who played there in August/September of 1959? My memere frequented there during that time. She mentioned someone named Al who played saxophone (I think). Anyway, there’s a possibility that whoever that is, is my grandfather. I’m trying to figure out who it might be.

  156. Thanks so much! Great Memories. So glad I was there too. Remember he Sapphire Lounge?

  157. Hi Russ you were everywhere … great journey through many bars I played in in the late 60s and 70s. You were a pioneer back then and hope to see you in 2021. Do you remember the jazz club in the cellar at Avenue and Davenport? I played there several times in 69 with Roland Alexander Sextet. We would set up and play for free and when Don Thompson came in with guys like Terry Clarke, Jerry Fuller, Dave Young, Bernie Seninski, John Tank, George McFetridge, Fred Stone and many more. The most amazing experience was watching Don Thompson one night play drums, the next timehe was on piano, then the Double Bass… I thought he was the best I ever heard on all of them … later thevibes then Sax … I was only 17 and in awe to this day what I heard right here in TO. Thanks for sharing your memories and here is to new ones!

  158. Hi Henry
    Yes, I remember there was a great jazz club at Davenport and Avenue Rd. I think it was the South-East corner. I think it was called The Cellar, right?
    There was so much going on in Toronto back then, as you know, and so many other places one could be… I only went downstairs there once.
    Two Don Thompsons in Toronto may be confusing to some. The one you describe is definitely a musical monster…
    The other one was called “DT” for short. He was an amazing sax player that I absolutely loved.
    Heady times for sure. Thanks for your comment and memories.
    – Russ

  159. Love this great history! Thank you Russ!

  160. I was checking out this site because Art Larmand died yesterday and I understand that Art played at the Zanzibar back in the day.

    • Hi Laraine – Yes, I was so sad to hear of Art’s recent passing. If you check the Comments to this post I think you’ll discover something submitted by Art.
      – Russ

  161. Great info & memories! I played some Toronto venues but later. Love the photos too. Well done

  162. Great memories i knew a musician who played the Blue Note, Les Terriel.

  163. Pingback: Bey and Shane’s Pioneer Work in the Canadian Blues Scene - Toned

  164. Russ, just doing a reread of your amazing post, who knew from our Earl Haig days what was in store for you and what a great legacy you have created on the Toronto and area music scene. You also brought back many memories for me, some good some bad from my ” rounder days” Thank you!

  165. Thanks, Dave. We have each experienced a lot of great things.

  166. This is absolutely amazing! Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

  167. That is a fantastic run-down! Spending my Fri eve enjoying the clips snd photos. Thanks man. I would live to hear reruns of CJRT recordings by O’Reilly. My musical ed was after midnight and anytime I caught the hour before and every Sat morn. Made life so much better.

  168. Once again Russ I must thank you for bringing back so many flashbacks from my “rounder” times on the strip and other locations.You have contributed much the Toronto music as well as being a great Pal

  169. Hey Russ
    Thanks for posting these fabulous archived
    Historical memories. I was a Scarboroigh boy but grew up during that fabulous era! My sister was a singer and performed with Ike Issac. Excuse my spelling!
    Freddy Keeler showed me how to do the famous Toronto string quiver stretch one time in Bay Ridges 55 years ago. I remember
    many of the groups and places you’ve mentioned and musicians. I’ve even played with
    a few and at some of the venues.
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Michael
      Thanks for following us and our Historical memories of good music.
      Small world – I remember playing with you, with Freddy Keeler – and with Ike Isaacs, a great soul singer many years ago. Nice to hear from you, man.
      – Russ

  170. Calvin Greenwood

    Howdy ho. the Global Village was another club located in Nicholas Ln. I was member of The City Muffin Boys. we played there for a weeks run in the late 60’s, perhaps 1968?

  171. This was a fantastic read very enjoyable l can’t say enough about it ❤

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