Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A trip to the north country

Many years ago, I spent some time alone in a canoe in western Ontario and eastern Manitoba. Me, my canoe, gear, and supplies were loaded onto a CN boxcar. The engineer stopped the train at the river crossing that we had agreed to and promised to stop again in a week to pick me up. It was a service CN offered to backcountry paddlers and backpackers. The Canadian National Railways crosses the continent much as the Old Blue Bus will today.
From Toronto, Ontario, Prairie Oyster have been serving up country, country-rock and country-swing for two decades. We've got a tasty sampling from their "Blue Plate Special" cd. (Thanks to my friend Walt for turning me on to them).
In the late 1980's and early '90's, my wife and I owned a music store in south Florida. We also produced the Barracks Coffeehouse Concert Series. One of the best singer-songwriters we had the pleasure of presenting was James Keelaghan. He refused to fly, so he rode the trains from British Columbia to south Florida. After the sound check I gave him the keys to my old Volvo P1800 so he could relax on the beach before the show. This cut is from his "Road" cd.
To finish today's trip we head for the Maritimes. Stan Rogers needs no introduction on either side of the border. The pictures he painted with his songs of the Maritimes are partly responsible for my wife and I being married in Halifax, Nova Scotia and spending over a month enjoying the Canadian Atlantic. One of the greatest singer-songwriters to grace this earth, Stan was tragically taken in 1983. This song is from his "From Coffeehouse to Concert Hall" cd.

Prairie Oyster - She Won't Be Lonely Long

James Keelaghan - Number 37

Stan Rogers - Acadian Saturday Night


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only Stan had practiced Keelaghan's refusal to fly, eh? A verrrrry great loss, not to diminish the value of the other 22 who perished with him. Excellent song choice, Ed.

December 08, 2005 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you harness up the mosquitoes to haul your canoe through the clear Canadian waters? I have not listened yet so Keelaghan will be new to me and I have not listened to Prairie Oyster since the days I listened to CBC Radio regular.
Stan Rogers I was introduced to when helping out on a union affairs radio show about twenty years ago. I hate it when I don't hear someone sing until they are dead. The show played his music damn near every week.

My very favourite Christmas song is Stan's "First Christmas Away From Home."

Cheers - Mr. BNH

December 08, 2005 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed I have to agree with anonymous 1
Excellent choice to start up the
end of the week


December 08, 2005 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Lucy said...

I agree with "all the above". Excellent selections and I'm rather fond of "First Christmas Away From Home" too. Cheers back at ya, Mr. BNH

December 08, 2005 9:07 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words. The music just flows naturally when accompanied by friends, drink and good conversation. Ah, reminds me of the days in the real Old Blue Bus. Cheers and thanks to each of you for the stimulating banter and inspiration.

December 08, 2005 9:31 AM  

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