Radios & Music

Published on 5 February 2022 at 14:37

It all began in the winter of 1972, when I was given a small, green AM only transistor radio.  The first song I ever heard on it was played on 1050 CHUM Toronto - Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations.  The radio was my constant companion and at night, I'd put the earphone in my ear and listen to the distant stations drift in..WABC 770 in New York, WLS Chicago, WOWO Fort Wayne Indiana, WLAC and WSM out of Nashville.   By the age of 13, I had gone beyond the AM radio band and started exploring FM stations like CHUM-FM, WGRQ in Buffalo and CING in Burlington....from there began my love of Shortwave Radio.  BBC, Radio Luxembourg, Radio Nederlands, Radio Moscow, Radio Berlin International...all the East Bloc states as well as stations like HCJB in Ecuador, Radio Tokyo NHK in Japan and The Voice of Vietnam.  I took in all that I heard - news, commentary and especially music.

By 1977, I was listening to a mix of AM, FM and Shortwave radio stations and had tried my hand at playing the guitar, piano, bass guitar, eventually winding up behind the drum kit.  During the late 1970's, I found myself spending time on Toronto's Queen Street West, working at a broken down old Swimming Pool Supply store part-time, and making friends with punks, blues players, jazz musicians, R&B Souls as well as music enthusiasts and record collectors.  I spent hours (and my pool store paycheck) at Kop's Records and Don's Discs, coming home with arm loads of 45's, EP's and LP's. During that time I purchased the "Nuggets" collection, The Bopcats first EP, The "Pebbles" compilations, "The Last Pogo" and James Brown's "Cold Sweat"...all still in regular rotation on my turntable.

During the early 1980s,  I studied Radio and Television Broadcasting at Centennial College, spurred on by a volunteer gig at MacLean Hunter Cable TV's Community Channel 10.  I worked on a program called "Night Flight" hosted by "Raydio Reality" Ray Neilson (RIP).  The game changer for me occurred one evening in 1979 when I was part of the crew that taped "The Secrets".   I was dumbfounded, shocked and thrilled all at the same time.  I told my high school guidance councilor that I wanted to quit school and join them.

Later in the '80s I played in several non-noteworthy bands until I joined The Tex-Styles in 1986. The band played a mix of country swing, rockabilly and road house rock and roll, riding the alt-country wave down Queen Street West and up into The Annex of Toronto. Up until 2019, I still played the occasional gig with the band in a stripped down format.  I also fronted my own Garage Soul band, "Buck and The Shut-Ins" which had a Wednesday night residency at Toronto's infamous Brunswick House for many years, provided vocals for The Soulcasters (Toronto) which was more garage than soul, and recently played with Matt Allen in The Yard Dogs (aka Baby Face Finster).

I'll post other random thoughts, music notes and other stuff that happens along the way as this web page progresses.



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