violaViola Desmond is going to be the first woman not representing our colonial master, on our money (Ten dollar bill – not 100). She was a black woman. Imagine that. Learn about her and what she has done.

Winnipeg’s (“arguably” Canada’s most racist city) Canadian Museum for Human Rights story.

The town (New Glasgow NS) which exhibited the racist attitudes that pushed Viola to fight for her rights is still a place that habours all sorts of unjust treatment of individuals and is one of those places where the community, particularly the legal community, is a closed entity.

A few years back I had a first hand experience of just how unjust and closed to outsiders this town is. And for reasons their citizens find hard to understand, their town has been declared “the worst place to live in Canada” for several years running. Work needs to be done. It needs to be done in New Glasgow as well as all across this country. Number one, is recognition that a problem exists and doing something about it. But there are some good people there…..

A New Glasgow man, who recently left us, wrote a song about Viola….goodness.

Jim Dorie – For Viola

They Sold Us a Silent Night

December 9, 2016


Not sure where the image came from – it was uncredited on my timeline

They sold us the Kool-Aid and we bought it.

2016 was not a good year as the British biased image above displays. In fact, there are some notables missing and sadly probably one or two will go in the next few weeks.

The fact is, many things we hold near and dear to our hearts will be joining the exodus as this past year exhibited. Age and time will do that.

So with the advent season upon us, I feel no guilt to play the recently departed Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas” video. A song he wrote to scold our people for allowing commercialism to leap into our lives, especially this time of year.

Although Lucky Man Lake was most well known for his guidance and initial contribution to the bands Emerson Lake and Palmer, and King Crimson, this was without a doubt, his best known recording as a single artist. A song he created with Pete Sinfield.

Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas – 1974

YouTube post by Katalin Oberhauser

In spite of the quality of the sound, this next version is beyond special. Greg on his Martin and Ian Anderson playing his flute tenderly. It also displays the lyrics and I have to admit, I never really listened to (most of) the words to this song (pity) – they really bring the reality of the season and all the senses to life.
And the song is presented in a church, as it should (with 2 guitars) – all very effective in one of Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpieces: St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street. Joining Ian and Greg are David Arch: keyboards, Florian Opahle: acoustic guitar and the requisite church choir – recorded 2006 (it’s ok to clap at the end).
YT post by TarkusChristmas

How to play lesson by Shut Up & Play

In the words of Lake and Sinfield: To a ‘hopeful Christmas and a brave new year’.
RIP Greg Lake. RIP all of us.

Qu’est-ce qui se passe ?

December 8, 2016

Image result for montreal christmas tree


Ah Québec. Land of my teenage years. I learned to drive there. I celebrated Noël there. I learned more than I care to share. Doing so many things right. And so many things wrong. I hope we all start righting our wrongs….acts of love. Reconciliation.

Language warning – not only are the following videos in French, it is colloquial Québécois complete with joual and strong accent (an accent evident in Manitoba, Ontario, NS, PEI, Nouveau Brunswick and other pockets of the country – with regional variations) versus l’accent Parisien .

Just after getting my driver’s license, I was driving home in Montréal after an ice storm. I turned the corner for the last few blocks home and a kid skated past me and continued down the icy street.  C’est l’hiver à Montréal for sure!

Learning to drive on a steep, icy, Beaver Hill in Montréal :

There are numerous versions of this video online (some from a different vantage point complete with commentary) so not sure who gets credit for being the original –  but not Shepherd

Paying tribute to the most beautiful Sapin laid de Montréal (a tree with its own Twitter account no less) :
Shirley Théroux réconforte le grand sapin laid de Montréal
yt post by le sac de chips

Chanson du jour :

Les Cowboys Frignants – Plus Rien – 2004

YouTube post by Romu Nordu

Mes Aïeux-2096 (chanson à boire) 2005
yt post by holtzeke


Gr8 2 Sk8

December 7, 2016

skateThis morning at Ramsden Park. No snow but no matter: the artificial outdoor rink is up and running…..err skating. And there’s another outdoor artificial rink a few minutes away in Rosedale. Goodness!

Now time for a little one on one with bro….I’ll have to remember to bring my skates on the plane next time.

A couple of weeks ago, Gordon Lightfoot played a show down Yonge at Massey Hall. You know the guy is well aged….and he still “has it”.

So what does an iconic song about the Canadian railway have in common with Canada’s favourite iconic pastime? Well, regardless of the good, bad and ugly sides of each, they both tie us all together quite nicely, thank-you very much.

The song Canadian Railroad Trilogy is iconically Canadian but Gordon Lightfoot himself is a Canadian icon. Many accolades and even songs have been written about the man who’s song writing captures the northern imagination.

Lightfoot wrote this song for a CBC special aired in January 1967 to commemorate Canada’s 100th birthday. Happy 150th in 2017 Canada!

This is live in concert for the BBC with Red Shea and Terry Clements. (Performance from 1972 – the year Henderson scored a goal in Moscow….).

Good song to play on the 12. You can choke it up to III if you want. D, G, D with A, then throw in a C and Em…embellish it here and there, figure out the timing and strumming pattern and you’re off!

yt post by tony blackhall

Fools’ Stagnant Manner

December 6, 2016

Image result for even in the quietest moments cover

It must be mentioned even though it is well documented: The title reads “Fool’s Overture” but the music reads “Star Spangled Banner”. I think an important detail is that it is “apostrophe S” not “S apostrophe”.

Let’s face it. It’s evident on the streets. It’s evident in the ‘interweb’: People are fools. Fools who believe what they think. Fools lurking behind hidden walls shouting obscenities and hollow criticisms. Fools who support imperial politics and colonial ascendency. Fools who welcome other fools. Fools who believe they are entitled to entitlements.
You may hear the calling in your sleep. It comes from deep inside the forest. It’s time to grow but behind every tree and rock waits a challenge.  Our hands are tied and voices muffled.

Another fine piece of work by Roger Hodgson. Nicely arranged too.

From Supertramp’s 1977 LP Even in the Quietest Moments – Fool’s Overture – Roger Hodgson – 1977



Not far from here, up into the granite and forest and lakes of the shield, is the location for the school above. The brick and mortar is no longer there, but the memories of what went on inside its walls (and inside the walls of countless other residential schools) will last generations.

Gord Downie, collaborating with Jeff Lemire, created  The Secret Path,  which brings us the story of one child, Chanie Wenjack, who tried to escape the shackles of Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School (the school above) and walk back to his home in the natural and undisturbed lake country hundreds of kilometers north. The story of the error in our ways.

Acts of love:

It doesn’t provide us with a solution. It attempts to draw our collective attention to the issue of the indigenous “degenerative state” and absolute “reconciliation”. It simply points out that we must chart a new course. We must learn from our mistakes. Things must improve for our indigenous peoples. We have to find our way home. Words don’t make the rain fall.

The issue is (there are numerous issues concerning indigenous people and) we’d be wise to concentrate on them rather than diverting our attention to fighting wars in Iraq in order to protect the interests of wealthy oil vultures. Or spending millions building pipelines (and even more money pretending to monitor and create “world class response to oil spills”). Or buying stealth bombers. Or writing off senate expenses or….

We seem to have lost our way.

Gord Downie’s – The Secret Path – 2016

CBC – movie length, one hour plus a “panel discussion”. Personally, the atmosphere of the “discussion” is part of the problem we have to overcome. The “go to” solutions and methods don’t work. Period. I’d rather see them in a filleting shack at Norway House or a sweat lodge in NWT. Then we can get meaningful talk. Followed not by a glossy 40 pound, 2000 page report destined for some judges bookcase, but by corrective action. Accompanied with acts of love.

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation link


There’s no point in going to school if we don’t learn. Hudson Bay University or North End College will teach you much more valuable and positive life skills than a corporate Ivy League School.
This song is from Supertramp’s 1974 LP Crime of the Century. When it was first released my close friend, Richard and I would play it over and over and over. He was an excellent piano player and loved the Rick Davies solo mid-song. He’d break into “air piano” to play the riffs no matter where we were. Shortly after, at 22 years old, Richard was killed by a drunk driver.

Forty years later, drunk driving (and distracted driving) still exists.
The tragedy is we only learn if we truly want to. In most cases (not involving making cash), we ignore the obvious evidence that should cause us to learn. Time to break on through to the other side of the bars.

Live and learn.

This is exceptionally well done (he brought his tour to town last month). I love playing this on my 12 string….but my band needs a quality piano player:

School – Roger Hodgson – Live in São Paulo

The crime of our existence.



December 4, 2016

There are various examples of wild horses across this land.

Sable Island, in Nova Scotia is a spit of sand quite far off the southern coast of NS, that is home to five people, a few occasional research teams, a handful of tourists allowed to visit by the government and, of course, numerous feral horses. There aren’t many places like it left in the world. (link to video by Burning Canoe Productions)

Horses are also the subject of a variety of legends and stories on Turtle Island. My favourite is the story of “the white horse” whose spirit still roams the White Horse Plain just west of present day Winnipeg.

Link to a dated “colonial” piece (written in 1958 and you can tell) about the Blancho Diablo of Coteau de Festin (the legend of the White horse plain).

above: MHS image of White horse statue near St. François Xavier, Manitoba.

Well, Chicago is getting its first measurable snow today. And when I think of Chicago, I think of incredible music in all genres. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of this group and their strong vocal presence.

Birds of Chicago – Remember Wild Horses – Eddie Owen Presents

Recorded at the Red Clay Music Foundry, Duluth…Georgia  2015

%d bloggers like this: