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

Music Feature: Stranger in the Market

To walk through the middle of Toronto's Kensington Market on a Saturday in the early ’80s was to enter what locals called the “wobble zone.” There on a stretch of Kensington Avenue, between St. Andrew and Baldwin, the booming bass sounds coming from two sets of opposing speakers could throw passersby a little off balance.The duelling sound systems, like something out of The Harder They Come, belonged to a pair of Jamaican expat musicians who ran competing reggae record shops, each facing the other. Stranger Cole came first, in 1978, launching his Roots Records store – the first Caribbean business in the Market – at 58 Kensington. Four years later, Rannie “Bop” Williams opened Record Corner a...
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Jay Douglas at the Friar's Music Museum

Toronto reggae-soul star Jay Douglas, originally from Montego Bay, got his start with the Cougars, playing at the West Indies Federation Club at Brunswick and College then at Club Jamaica on Yonge Street before crossing over to Le Coq D'Or. The Cougars can be heard on the great Jamaica to Toronto compilation from the Light in the Attic label. Here, Jay and his band return to Yonge and take over the Friar's Music Museum space for a half-hour concert and an animated history lesson of the Toronto music scene. Tip o' the hat to Mark Garner, Museum co-curator Jan Haust and the ever youthful legend Jay Douglas.Watch Jay at the Friar's Music Museum here 
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Jelly Roll Morton in Crystal Beach

There was a time in the 1950s when Torontonians regularly shuffled off to Buffalo for excitement. That was in the days when puritanical laws in Toronto the Good kept entertainment under tight wraps and alcohol and rock 'n' roll flowed more freely on the American side.But during the Roaring '20s, many Buffalonians were frequently travelling to Crystal Beach, Ontario by ferry boat to visit its giant amusement park and world famous dance hall, featuring the biggest bands of the Swing Era.Opened in 1925, the Crystal Beach Ballroom held the largest dance floor in North America, with room for 3000 dancers on its gleaming wooden dance floor. Among the biggest names to perform there were Count ...
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