Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

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Obituaries, Books

Roaring Lion's "Jail Dem"

Of all the great old-time calypsonians, few could match Trinidad and Tobago’s Roaring Lion for witty wordplay and mellifluous melodies. With his rapid-fire delivery, he could easily out-duel contemporaries like Tiger, Atilla the Hun and Lord Executor with wickedly sharp metaphors, alliteration and insults. And he didn’t shy away from tackling the most risqué subjects. One of Roaring Lion’s most famous recorded songs, “Netty Netty,” about a prostitute who leaves town to have an abortion, was banned in parts of the Caribbean. “Dorothy Went to Bathe” tells of a girl who lost her virginity to a catfish, while “The Lost Watch (Tik, Tik, Tik)” deals with a woman who steals a watch and hi...
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Uncovering Canadian rock's early years

The story of rock and roll’s arrival in Canada has often been reduced to this: a good ol’ boy from Arkansas named Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins blew into Toronto with his Hawks in 1958 and cast a hypnotic spell on unsuspecting Canadian audiences. While it’s true that Hawkins did much to popularize rock music north of the 49th parallel, there were other, often unsung pioneers here already laying the groundwork. And that’s the strength of Greig Stewart’s new book Hawkins, Hound Dog, Elvis and Red: How Rock and Roll Invaded Canada. Stewart pays tribute to performers like Bobby Dean (Blackburn) and the Gems, Frank Motley and his Motley Crew, Little Caesar and the Consuls, Les Vogt and th...
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Mariposa Folk Festival - 60 years ago

Sixty years ago this week, an estimated 5,000 people flooded into tiny Orillia, Ontario to attend the first Mariposa Folk Festival. Here is an excerpt from Before the Gold Rush about that historic inaugural event:Sitting in neatly arranged rows of canvas chairs, a buttoned-down crowd of 2,000 watched the inaugural Mariposa unfold one August weekend in 1961. The audience, mostly university students from Toronto, had travelled to Orillia on the shores of Lake Couchiching to hear an all-Canadian line-up headed by Sylvia Fricker and Ian Tyson, whoʼd also donated his artistic skills to create the stylized orange sun that dominated the festivalʼs poster. On the opening Friday night, folk...
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