James Hillis

Archive for July, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Last Free Summer(Part 2)..My Visit with Ziggy

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2016 at 12:54 am

The early part of 1972 was an outstanding time on the radio, there were some songs that are now considered classics hitting the charts, songs like American Pie,Without you,Heart of Gold,Horse with No Name and I’ll take you there but as School ended the music seemed to be a little lame to me as the top songs on the radio included Candy man by Sammy Davis, Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond and First Time ever I saw your face by Roberta Flack, songs that while not bad  just did not appeal to me and I turned to the Album Charts to find out what to listen to.  And I found the Album of the Summer!

David Bowie was an Artist that I was familiar with but had not got too deep into but in the first week of June he released Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars and when I got my hands on it I played it as often as possible. From start to finish it was something that this 14-year-old had not really heard before, fascinating lyrics, a great beat and as for Bowie, well, who didn’t wonder about what he was. The concept of an Alien trying to save Humanity was so different from what I had listened to that I actually wondered if he knew something we didn’t. From the opening track “Five Years” to the incredible end song”Rock and Roll Suicide” it took me on an imaginary journey that opened up a lot of ideas for me and got my juices flowing to find other material and artists like this. And of Course, the artwork on the album was worth the price alone. Yep, the Summer of ’72 was going to be the beginning of a musical trip that still continues today.


My Great But Sadly Unknown albums #41 Secret Treaties..Blue Oyster Cult 1974

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2016 at 10:39 pm

Secret Treaties is one of those albums that were popular when released in ’74 but was pushed down the line of B.O.C. albums by the release of  Agents of Fortune in 1976 and of course, it’s unforgettable song (Don’t Fear) the Reaper. But Secret treaties is in my opinion just as good an album but because the music was a little less commercial sounding it has been neglected over the past 40 years or so and that is sad because many of the songs on this album stand up easily against The Reaper as classics and many are still in the B.O.C’s playlist while on tour. One of the songs, Career of Evil was written by Patti Smith and was the inspiration for one J.K Rowlings books, called Career of Evil under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The album spent 14 weeks on the North American  album charts, peaking at No. 53. It was declared gold in 1992, and it is the only Blue Öyster Cult album that does not feature any track with lead vocals by guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser. “Career of Evil”, “Subhuman”,and “Astronomy” are worthy of any heavy metal soundtrack but to me the best song on the album was dominance and submission, which is best described by the man who wrote the lyrics, Sandy Pearlman “In 1963 I was being driven back from a New Year’s Eve party when The Beatles came over the airwaves for the first time. It seemed so revolutionary in terms of consciousness that what is represented was a new factor in mass culture and ’63 was the watershed. The song reflects the parallelism between revolutionary consciousness in the mass and how it affects the individual. The sublimated heat of rock ‘n’ roll, so, long suppressed, and driven underground, was being revealed and no one could stop it.” All in all, it is a great album and one that Rolling Stone magazine in 2002 ranked #47 in the coolest albums of all time. And I agree,now to get classic rock radio to rediscover this gem.   


Track listing

Side one
No. Title Lyrics Music Lead vocals Length
1. “Career of Evil” Patti Smith Albert Bouchard Bloom, A Bouchard 3:59
2. “Subhuman” Sandy Pearlman Eric Bloom Bloom 4:39
3. “Dominance and Submission” Pearlman Bloom, A. Bouchard A. Bouchard 5:23
4. “ME 262” Pearlman Bloom, Donald Roeser Bloom 4:48
Side two
No. Title Lyrics Music Lead vocals Length
5. “Cagey Cretins” Richard Meltzer A. Bouchard Bloom, A. Bouchard, Joe Bouchard 3:16
6. “Harvester of Eyes” Meltzer Bloom, Roeser Bloom 4:42
7. “Flaming Telepaths” Pearlman Bloom, A. Bouchard, Roeser Bloom 5:20
8. Astronomy Pearlman A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard Bloom 6:28

One Weekend In July

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2016 at 12:14 am

I believe the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” and for the weekend of July 8-10 2016 the Village was Hespeler and the child was the 2016 Hespeler Reunion, an event that has been held only 7 times in the last 110 years.  In 1906,1926,1947,1966,1996,2006 and the one we just completed in 2016 brought together those of us that still live in Hespeler and many hundreds, perhaps thousands from around the globe that called Hespeler home at one time or another. They came from  Australia,  Great Britain, France, the United States and from everywhere in Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and a few brave souls even dared to cross the 401 from Galt and Preston to party with us. It was a weekend of celebrating our heritage and reconnecting with our past, it allowed many to find old friends and perhaps to make new friends, heck, I even spent most of Saturday night drinking with a liberal,  and to see up close what changes were going on in this little section of Cambridge. From the opening ceremonies on  Friday night that included an oldtimers hockey game, figure and speed skating demonstrations  and the homecoming dance to Sunday night’s closing ceremonies and an awesome fireworks display that lit up the Hespeler sky,the weekend proved to be just what this town needed and not even the downpour early Saturday evening could put a damper on the festivities.

The entire town and the businesses within were ready to celebrate, the Hespeler Tennis club provided free tennis for kids, the Fashion History museum  and the Hespeler Heritage Museum gave tours of their facilities, the Bars and the Hespeler Legion all put on events to keep people busy and entertained and the Saturday street dance was a great success with many local bands such as Seven Sundays, Tracenine and Blackbridge providing the music and the crowds providing extra entertainment. Another of the traditions is the beard growing contest and once again this time around we had a great selection of beards to choose from. There was the soap box derby for kids to enjoy, food trucks and a midway in Forbes Park for everyone to enjoy. The Reunion parade was a fantastic event that in my opinion was the best parade that I have seen in many a year, and from the looks, on everyone faces, they all thought so as well.

Sunday was another great day for the reunion and it started off with an open air church service held in victoria park followed by a church-sponsored breakfast and many food trucks including the famous beaver tale truck in the park. Hespeler minor softball put on a home run hitting contest, the Cambridge Cheer Sport Sharks put on a lively demonstration and the oldtimers Softball game brought together many of Hespeler’s best players from the past including the recent Cambridge sports hall of fame inductee Dan Donahue, the boys may be a little slower but damn they can still play the game and the fans in attendance loved them for it. There were bands performing, children playing and laughing and old and new Hespelerites sitting down to a few beers talking about the town and where it has been and where it was heading.   And when the Reunion executive said goodbye to the crowds and the fireworks ended it seemed for a moment that no one in the park wanted it to be over, many stayed and had that wistful look on their faces, that look that said 2026 can not come soon enough. And for that one weekend in July 2016 everything was perfect in Hespeler and “The Village had indeed raised a great child”


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