My Top Ten Canadian Singles

August 20, 2012

Well, the Vinyl Cafe had a show on this weekend where the host, Stuart McLean, picked his top ten Canadian singles. Turns out it was a summer repeat and has already been covered in the blogosphere, but I was inspired to choose my favorite ten songs from Canadian artists too. (I didn’t limit myself to radio singles, as it’s been a while since that’s been relevant for me in terms of music I enjoy.) I graded high for songs that were co-written by Canadians, and included a slight bias against the Canadian songs I already talked about in my ‘Top 10 songs’ blogfest entry, which knocked all of them out of the running and brought up other great music, often by the same artists. (Many of the artists appear in my ‘Desert Island Discs’ playlist.)

And here we go!

1. When I think about first getting interested in truly Canadian music, Lisa Brokop immediately comes to mind. I loved music when I was young, but whether it was church music, borrowed pop, or Christian rock, Canadian content didn’t figure for me. But when I started my country phase in the winter of 1995, shortly before heading off to University, I was getting my fix from the New Country Network video channel on cable, (which later became CMT Canada,) and then local radio stations like CISS-FM in Toronto and CHAM AM in Hamilton. And I really loved the sound of some of the singers from north of the border, like Lisa. ‘Take That’ was one of the first videos that I loved so much that I recorded it onto a VHS tape so I could enjoy it over and over again.

There’s a story that I heard years later that I really love, that Lisa was on tour opening for a big-name band, (Little Texas?) around that time, and didn’t even realize that one of her own songs was hitting it big on the radio until the day that she started ‘Take That’ at a show and realized, to her amazement, that the crowd was singing the first verse along with her. 🙂

But I’m not putting ‘Take That’ on the list, partly because it was written by a couple of American Nashville songwriters. Instead, I’m going to name a song that I really love because it makes me think about writing and Nanowrimo and all of that cool stuff whenever I listen to it: “Write a Book About Me.” It’s off the album “Hey, do you know me” and was written by Lisa Brokop and Kim McLean.

2. “No Change in me”, sung by the Ennis Sisters, written by Murray McLauchlan and Ron Hynes. This is a bit of a two-fer, because I had to get the Ennis Sisters into this list. Murray’s version of the song is also amazing, but the only cut I could find on youtube is this slideshow with rather rough, half-spoken vocals by Ron. But I’ll get back to Ron Hynes later in this list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Spotlight: Chris’ Desert Island Discs

March 21, 2012

Skipping ahead a little in Rich’s original challenge, today I’m sharing my top 20 favorite albums, and a little bit about why I like each one. I’m limiting myself to one custom compilation, (more about that later,) though commercial ‘best of’s and anthologies are fair game. In alphabetical order:

And then we wrote, Flanders and Swann and Swann, with friends. I love nearly all of Flanders and Swann’s music, but this one is dear to me for more than just the great numbers from their musical revue days like “Excelsior” and “The Lord Chamberlain’s Regulations.” It’s a classic that’s never been released onto CD as far as I know, but I fondly remember listening to my Dad’s vinyl record. (Now I listen to the digitized version.)

Camelot. Another vinyl classic from my Dad’s collection. Knights singing show tunes – gotta love it.

Dreams, by the Corrs. Thanks very much to the Irish band for releasing this cut, a mix of covers and best-of, so that I don’t need to agonize over which studio album I’d take to the desert island for a Corrs fix.

Dress Rehearsal, by the amazing Canadian singer and songwriter, Carolyn Dawn Johnson. This album comes to mind as a tour de force of the songwriter’s art, from the lyric poignancy of the title track, “I’ll let you go”, and “Just another plane,” to the energy and fun of “He’s Mine.”

The Essential Billy Joel. I discovered Billy Joel’s music late, after noting down a song playing in a coffee shop that I wanted to look up, which was “The Longest Time.” ‘The Essential’ was the first step in my journey of discovery, and well worth it.

Face to the Gale, by Ron Hynes. I remember hearing “Godspeed” on the radio when I was in University, and loving it, but I didn’t get the album until much later, and I really like the music, as it comes crashing in with the power of a Newfoundland storm behind tracks like “The Final Breath” and “Saint John’s Waltz.” Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: