So Long Bannatyne


As many of you may know I am a Music fan, any type of music as long as it is good and as such I notice when the famous and not so famous in the world of music pass away. And in 2011 the world lost many influential artists and others involved with the scene, Dobie Gray drifted away,Amy Winehouse lost her battle with her demons,Phoebe Snow’s Poetry Man still echos in my mind and Andrew Gold is no longer the Lonely Boy. One of the great Guitarist’s Garry Moore of Thin Lizzy fame played his last solo, while Gerry Rafferty left Baker Street for the last time. The big man Clarence Clemons left us as well but his Saxophone rifts with Springsteen will always be with us and Gil-Scott Heron’s Revolution will indeed not be televised, and without Don Kirshenerthere never would have been MTV and Much Music as his Rock Concert television series in the early 70′s was a forefather to it all, but perhaps the one figure that left us in 2011 that was the most influential to us here in Canada is a name that many may not know and that is the Great Jack Richardson.

Jack Richardson was a record producer extraordinaire and without him we may have never heard of the Guess Who,or the Five Man Electrical band. The list of Artists that he worked with and the albums produced would make a top 100 list of many music fans. Among his credits are:

  • The Guess Who – Wheatfield SoulCanned WheatAmerican Woman
  • The Irish Rovers – Wasn’t That A PartyGrandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
  • Bob Seger – Night Moves
  • Alice Cooper – Love It to Death (co-producer with Bob Ezrin), Muscle of Love (co-producer with Jack Douglas)
  • Kim Mitchell – Kim Mitchell (co-producer with Mitchell)
  • Max Webster – Universal Juveniles
  • Moxy – Moxy II
  • Poco – A Good Feelin’ to Know & Crazy Eyes
  • Badfinger – Say No More
The Producer of the year award at the Juno’s since 2002 is named after him, and he was named to the Order Of Canada in 2003. Without him our musical landscape would not be as great as it is.  He Died on may 13th 2011.
Some others who left us included: Mel McDaniel of “Baby’s got her Blue Jeans on” fame. Ted Kowalski of the Canadian 50′s era band The diamonds( Little Darlin and the stroll), Rick Coonce from the Grass Roots and Nickolas Ashford who wrote Ain’t no Mountain High Enough and Ain’t nothing like the real Thing with his wife Valerie Simpson.   They all made there mark and will be missed.
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Politically Correct Santa


‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”
And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…
“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”

Notice: This poem is copyright 1992 by Harvey Ehrlich. It is free to
distribute, without changes, as long as this notice remains intact.
All follow-ups, requests, comments, questions, distribution rights, etc
should be made to mduhan@husc.harvard.edu . Happy Holidays!

The Angel and the Christmas Tree


Gather around my little Hespelerites and I will tell you the story of why an Angel wound up being on top of the Christmas tree.

It was a week before Christmas and all was not right, you see the weather was warmer that usual at the North Pole on that night. The elves were way behind in their toys production and there were whispers that they were talking strike, Rudolph and the other reindeer had come down with a bad case of Hoof and Mouth disease and there was a danger that some of them would not be ready for Christmas Eve and Santa was busy trying to line up some emergency backup Reindeer but they just was not enough time to train them all. Mrs Claus was not in a great mood either and Santa was not getting his usual booty call from her and that was unsettling as well.  Because of Terrorism he had received a notice that he had to file a flight plan and that was frustrating him to no end as well. And to top it off The Maple leafs(his favourite team) was not playing well and he had lost a big bet to Frosty the Snowman and Santa hated to lose money. He went for a beer and of course someone had snuck in and taken his last couple and the nearest store was in Whitehorse and it would be closed by the time he got there and he stewed and he stewed about everything, but then there was a knock on the door, Santa yelled for someone to get it but no one would so he hauled his carcass of the couch and went to the door and there was a little Angel holding a Christmas Tree” Santa, I have the worlds most beautiful Christmas tree in my arms, and it is for you, where would you like me to put it”

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS HOW IT CAME TO BE THAT WE PUT AN ANGEL ON TOP OF THE TREE.

Singer, Songwriter Dobie Gray Passes Away


Singer, songwriter and Nashvillian, Dobie Gray, famous for his 1973 hit song “Drift Away” passed away Tuesday.

Gray’s website confirmed his death late Tuesday evening.

Dobie Gray was born in Texas and after a successful career in California retreated to the peaceful hills of middle Tennessee. Gray was famous for many songs, from his first hit in 1965 ‘The In Crowd” to his most popular song “Drift Away”, he was a talented musician who earned the respect of many in his field.

Gray owned a studio in Nashville, Quadrafonic Studios, on 18th Avenue. It was here that he recorded three albums for MCA Records.

In 2003 Gray partnered with artist, Uncle Kracker, to sing an updated version of Gray’s hit “Drift Away”. The song stayed in the charts at # 1 for twenty-eight weeks.

Dobie Gray was 71 years old.

What I am Listening to This Season.


When it comes to Christmas Songs I like the  old chestnuts from Frank and Dean and Andy and as well I like the traditional Christmas songs as much as the next guy but anyone who has read my material knows I am slightly twisted and that extends to my musical tastes as well. And in that vein I give you my list of favorite Christmas songs:  don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Little Saint Nick: The Beach Boy’s…A peppy little song from the surf kings just sounds right.

Bing Crosby/David Bowie: Little Drummer Boy…2 very different performers but somehow this song never seems to amaze me.

Roy Woods Wizzard:I wish it could be Christmas every day….An infectious song and for anyone who knows who Roy woods is this just makes sense. The video for it is worth the look.

Jethro Tull: Ring Out Solstice bells…Add a flute to a Christmas song and you wind up humming along.

Bob and Doug McKensie: 12 Days of Christmas…Admit it, this one makes everybody smile.

Ray Charles and Nina Simone: Baby it’s cold outside…A little jazz and 2 distinct voices makes you feel like curling up next to the fire.

Eartha Kitt: Santa Baby…Like the above song this one spells erotic Christmas,meow.

Kinks: Father Christmas…What would a Christmas season be without the Kinks Classic about a Santa Claus getting beat up?

Slade: Merry Christmas Everybody…With Lyrics like”Look To The Future Now It’s Only Just Begun'”. this songs is as uplifting a song as Father Christmas is downbeat. And Noddy Holder is still one of the strangest voices in music.

Plastic Ono Band: Happy Xmas(war is over)…So this is Christmas, only Lennon could write a protest song that has become a Christmas Classic.

Greg Lake: I believe in Father Christmas…This song criticizes the Commercialization of Christmas and talks about the loss of Innocence and Childhood beliefs.

The Pogues: Fairytale of NewYork…Not really a Christmas song per se, it has become a standard around my house this time of year. Bickering and fighting on Christmas Eve, it doesn’t sugar coat anything.

Chris Rea:Driving home for Christmas…Another of those songs that just seems to glide along and before you know it the song has ended and you are left humming it for the rest of the day.

Simon and Garfunkel:7 o’clock news/silent Night…Not as well-known as their other songs,7 o’clock news/silent night is from the 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, . The track consists of an overdubbing of two contrasting recordings: a simple arrangement of the Christmas carol “Silent Night”, and a simulated “7 O’Clock News” bulletin of the actual events of 3 August 1966. It is an Eerie song that stays with you long after it is over. It can be hard to listen to but worth it in the end.

Gaudet: Steeleye Span..The song itself comes from the 16th century and not only does the band perform it accapella they also sing it in Latin.

There are so many more, i have not even mentioned the music from Mannheim steamroller and The Trans-Siberian orchestra, two sets of music that really needs to be heard to be appreciated. So Merry Christmas and may all your music be great.

Yes Virginia There is a Santa Clause


Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.