James’ Brand New Blog

Three ‘Tees’ pre-Xmas: John Till & Plum Loco . . . & Toolshed & Tuba (or not tuba)

- November 23rd, 2012

john till

Pictured is musician John Till of Stratford, Ont. From QMI Agency files.

JBNBlog sees T-riffic (oh it could be much the worse, could it not?) gigs coming our way in December. There is Western’s Don Wright music faculty Tuba Christmas on Dec. 5 at Covent Garden Market at noon and the Wright faculty lobby at 4 p.m. that afternoon.

Then ace Stratford guitarist John Till & Plum Loco play the London Music Club on Dec. 8 and far-flung London hip-hoppers Toolshed reunite in their hometown for their eighth annual Xmas show on Dec. 20.

John Till first because it’s his first London gig in a while . . . great to see John & his old friend Garth Hudson swap memories at the Palasad in June during the reception for Garth and Sister Maud Hudson.

Here’s some Stratford QMI hometown love for John about another gig . . .

Local music legend John Till (Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie) and his band Plum Loco will be performing as well. Plum Loco includes Till’s son Shawn on bass and longtime friends Brian Pawley on guitar and vocals and Wayne Brown on drums and vocals.

As for Brian Pawley, he’s a legend, too, it turns out & like Till, toiled with The Hawk.

This is from a 2007 story by QMI Agency story by the Owen Sound-area’s Jim Merriam:
This past spring a club in London known as Sam & Bill’s Sports Bar recognized Owen Sound’s own Brian Pawley for his 50 years in rock ‘n roll. For some of us who remember dancing to Pawley and the Rhythm Rockers in the Rainbow Room in downtown Owen Sound, it seems impossible that 50 years have passed since this “Owen Sound Godfather of Rock ‘n Roll” started his career in the music biz.

In a telephone interview this week Pawley said he feels “great” about coming back to his home town to perform. He’s not sure he’ll recognize his fans from the Rainbow Room “or that they’ll recognize me” because apparently we’ve all changed just a bit.
The rocker plans to “highlight some of the old stuff” in his shows in the city. Among others he mentioned one of my favourites, Forty Days.
On the subject of highlights, in response to a question about the highlights of his career, Pawley mentioned meeting John Lee Hooker. For background, he remembers buying a Hooker record from Robert’s in Owen Sound in his early days of interest in music. Then in 1980, while he was with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins, he showed up to record one of their television shows in Toronto only to find out that John Lee Hooker was the special guest.
During rehearsal Hooker sat on a chair beside Pawley. When it came time for the show the crew asked the old bluesman if he wanted a chair again, to which Hooker replied, “John Lee don’t need no chair after dark”.
Once the TV show was taped, the musicians just jammed for about 90 minutes, Pawley said. It was the “biggest highlight for me.”
The Hawkins’ TV show is a long way from the Chatsworth Fire Hall where Pawley played his first gig back about 1957.
Today Pawley’s band, Plum Loco, performs at the aforementioned Sam & Dave’s Saturday afternoons from fall to winter. The day they celebrated his 50 years in music the owners had to close the doors because there was neither a seat nor standing room left.
Eddy Unick, a regular at Sam & Bill’s says, “Brian Pawley and Plum Loco is the best damn bar band in London”. The band includes guitar player John Till, who played with the Cosmic Blues Band, the Janis Joplin band, when she appeared at Woodstock.
During his days in Owen Sound, Pawley, of course, did more than play music. He attended OSCVI (sometimes) and was part of the Bay Motor Inn fastball team that won the all Ontario championship in 1965.
Organizers of the Homecoming entertainment say this about him, “In 1957 it was Brian who introduced the new sounds of rock to Grey-Bruce. He was to this area what Elvis Presley was to the world. Fifty years later, he’s still rockin’.”

Now, for Toolshed, with details in a slightly edited e-mail from Timbuktu himself:

toolshed in action

Toolshed in action, in an undated photograph courtesy of myspace.com/dehsloot

Hey James, it’s been a long time, but it is almost that time of year again!

This will be the 8th annual Toolshed Xmas Wrap, this year taking place at Call The Office on Thursday Dec 20th. It’s kind of funny because Toolshed is basically disbanded, and the only time we reunite for a gig is back in our hometown of London for the Christmas show.

Tom (Psybo) Organ has been living out in Nelson with his wife and kids and Justin (Chokeules) Lepine and I are in Toronto working on solo and group projects together. This year the show will also feature Juno nominated Ghettosocks and London’s Moore & Exit Only along with DJ Hullewud.

Last fall I rode the train across Canada for the Via Rail sponsored “Train Of Thought Tour” with Ghettosocks, Muneshine and Jeff Spec performing 24 dates from Halifax to Victoria. This spring Ghettosocks and I toured the US and Canada promoting our Group Project Teenburger, completing a big smiley face of the continent from Portland Maine to Texas, up the west coast of America and then from Nelson BC to Halifax. Teenburger was also nominated for an ECMA for best rap recording of the year.

Meanwhile, Chokeules and I, along with veteran Toronto producer / emcee Savilion wrote and recorded our latest effort – Swamp Thing, a tribute to retro B Movie fliks. Here is a link to that if you’re interested: http://handsolorecords.bandcamp.com/album/creature-feature

. . .  Many thanks, I hope all is well with you and I look forward to hearing from you!
Tim (Timbuktu) Wallace.

It’s first on the calendar & now for Tuba Christmas, thanks to another Wallace, Wright faculty media ace Janis Wallace:

They are supporting a new charity this year – the Salvation Army (will be at each site with their kettle). As tuba chief Brent Adams said, “There is a connection between the Salvation Army and music, especially brass music.”

Anybody who plays an instrument is welcome to come, with their tuba or euphonium and play along. Everyone else is welcome to come and sing along.

Last year they had 54 tubas and euphoniums at the market.
This is the third year here in London. It started in the early 1970s as a tribute to legendary tuba player Harvey Phillips, who died in 2010. He was a freelance player in New York City, where the first one was held, and his first professional gig was with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band. He was a professor at the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 2007, the only wind player to receive that honour.

“Some of the bigger Tuba Christmas events have choirs and conductors, and politicians speak, but we just show up and play,” said Adams, tuba instructor at the Don Wright School of Music. “It’s joyous – most certainly. There is a real joy of music-making. And it’s unexpected music-making. People don’t have an impression that tuba players can play melodies. We can and we do!”

As well as Christmas music, they have the Dreidel song and a Ramadan song in their folders. “We played the dreidel song last year and people were singing along – everyone knew the all the words.”

The sing-along at the Faculty is joined by faculty, staff and students and the vocalists add plenty of harmony. Not to be missed is the grand entrance of the tubas.

Categories: Entertainment

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