Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Listening To Lynn Miles, With Paul C., at Winterfolk

First Published at

Hopeless pair that we are, it's the day after St. Valentine's, and my old college buddy, Paul C., and I are stagging it once again.  We have been bailed upon by our wives, both of whom refuse to sit in a pub with us and Lynn Miles.

Paul's affliction/addiction is considerably worse than mine, to the point that his grown children refer to Lynn as "The future Mrs. C*****". His wife, a fan of Miss Celine Dion, sees no future in pretending to condone the melancholy rapture that overtakes her husband for a week prior to, and a week after Miles' local appearances. My own Kim, a great music fan who concedes that Lynn "sounds like a very special person," has an alternating "I'm too tired / it's too cold" reaction all day that culminates in a last-minute "I'm sure you'll enjoy it more without me," which provides just the right balance of guilt and condescension for a clean getaway for both of us.

I had already spent a week drenching the house in the aural perfume of Downpour, Lynn's most recent album, along with Unravel, Slightly Haunted  and Fall For Beauty, as I prepped for her appearance on Corby's Orbit. The interview and live performance, with Canada's chief curator of unsatisfactory love relationships, would be taking place not only on a full moon, but on Valentine's Day. I was strapping myself to the mast of the music.

And every morning, I simply didn't call Paul. I told myself it was for his own good.

The show went well, we got along. Couple tunes. Couple laughs. She played her epic free spirit anthem, 'My Road'." I said "It's sort of my road too." Afterwards, we talked about how difficult it is to sell actual records. I had been trying to find a hard copy of Downpour at Christmas to give to a recently divorced friend. Lynn smiled, "It's a good divorce record." I felt we had connected.

I didn't hear from Paul.

Winterfolk weekend was smashing, as always. Saw good old friends and heard the songs that matter so much. I was reaching over a crowd to take a picture of the stage at Terri-O's when a voice behind me said, "Need a boost?"

"What did you have in mind?" I replied. Paul. I didn't even have to look.

"I'm sorry I won't be home tonight to listen to your interview with Lynn," he said.

"That's good. I did it yesterday."

"What?" He was blinking slowly, stunned.

"My show. It's on Fridays." Paul is a Sherlock for details. After trying to convince me for awhile that my show was, indeed, on Saturdays, we finally agreed to meet up later for the concert.

At 7:30, as the sun sets on the Danforth, young Christians are out on the sidewalk, trying to save musicians. On the main floor, a short, sepia bookie is attempting to collect on a bet. "Is this not your signature?" he deadpans to his client. Paul and I link, and are ushered up the stairs to the new soft-chair version of The Black Swan's annual Winterfolk celebration. David Bradstreet opens the night with a finely-tuned set that takes the audience from childhood to Antarctica and back again. Paul goes out for a quick smoke and I order a red wine. I ask Paul how many times he's seen her. "This one puts it to two figures," he admits.

We're both psyched when Lynn comes down the aisle with her guitar and a sheaf of papers.
She begins with a new piece, part of a current songwriting project that she hopes will be "the darkest Christmas music ever recorded." It's about how cold and sad everything is. Delicious. The vamp after the chorus goes on and on as she investigates the ceiling. "I was looking pretty pro for awhile there wasn't I?" she quips, stopping to look for the second verse in her paperwork. "I actually can't remember anything I've written since 2012. I've got seven hundred songs; I'm working on it." The room warms up.

Then she plays a few songs from the Downpour material. "Paul Corby. Corby's Orbit. You here?" she asks, tilting her head back. I make a startled, yelping sort of sound. "This one's for you," and she launches into 'My Road'. Tingles. Then there is a touch on my knee. "I hope you know. You're a dead man."

Without any more memory lapses, she continues through her catalogue of tears and triumphs. Tremors of empathetic vulnerability are cresting in waves as she announces the midpoint of the set as "a bright spot, designed to lift us all up. It's called 'How To Be Alone'". How cold will it get? Well, she IS from Ottawa. Another new song about teenage hookers, called, perhaps, 'High Heels In The Snow' (dedicated to our disinterested Prime Minister), takes us right to the brink of inconsolability. Lynn's husky verses break through into hearty crystal clear choruses full of resolute lamentation. Over and over, deeper and deeper.

Then the opening chords of 'Black Flowers' spill out a warning. Paul mutters "oh shit". Lynn Miles casts her final spell, then polishes off the night with a virtuosic 'Let The Sun Have Its Day' from Fall For Beauty, swings her silvery haystack of hair back and takes her final bow. I reach in my pocket and pull out a folded clean tissue and pass it back to Paul without looking."Every damn time" he murmurs.

~  Corby

p.s. John A***** asks " Have you created a doppelganger Paul C to conceal your own emotional responses?" Very good question John. How Borges is that?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Playlist For Show of 21 February

                                                         photo by One Eyeland 
Host: Paul Corby
( brought to you by The Bronze-O Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Bob Silverini Band and Big Brother & The Golding Company) 
5-7 p.m. online and at .  Canadians in Asterisk’d RED.

Guest: Sebastian Cook & Matt Fullbrook of K.C. Roberts & The Live Revolution 
5:00 Implication Forms 

Dionne Warwick ~ Let The Green Grass Grow ~ The Music of Burt Bacharach (& Hal David) @ Hugh's Room Saturday
*Tanya Philipovitch ~Holy Tomato ~ Secret Fiction Romance @ The Tranzac Saturday 3:00-5:00

*Joe Hall and the Screaming Vegetables ~ The Big Bang Theory ~Fresh Outta Rehab ~@The Tranzac Saturday 6:30 

5:15 Rhythm & Western

*Tim Hus ~ The Church Of Country Music ~ Western Star  (Stony Plain) juno nominee
*Ron Hynes ~ Get Back Change ~Get Back Change @ Hugh's Room Sunday
*Eamon McGrath ~ Enduring Love ~ Exile Part I  (Aporia)~ @ Saving Gigi tonight NEW DISK
Joe Louis Walker ~ Hornet's Nest ~ Hornet's Nest (Alligator) NEW DISK
*24th Street Wailers ~ Solid Ground ~ Wicked NEW DISK

5:30 Cross Country

*Alejandra Ribera ` Satellite ~ La Boca NEW DISK  @ The Royal Theatre 11 April
King's Messengers Quartet ~ There's Room Enough ~ South African Gospel Re: Soweto Gospel Choir @ The Sony Center tonight

Gregory Porter ~ No Love Dying ~ Liquid Spirit (Jazz Vocal Grammy 2014)                                   photo by Alessandro Pucinelli
  Kronos Quartet ~ The Beatitudes ~ Music Of Vladimir Martinov

5:50 Prismic Panoply                                                                 

*Hunting ~ Everything Will Be Okay ~ Hunting (Nevado) NEW DISK
*Fevers ~ Look Alive~ No Room For Light 

6:00 Lettuce Bouquet (Selections by Sebastian Cook)

Lettuce ~ Blast Off ~ @ The Phoenix Saturday
*K.C. Roberts & The Live Revolution feat, D-Sisive ~Hanging From A Jet Plane Wheel @ The Phoenix Saturday
Interview with Matt Fullbrook of K.C. Roberts & The Live Revolution

*Afterfunk ~ Tequils ~ @ The Phoenix Saturday
*Rebellum ~ Juliette & Romeo

*Heavyweights ~ Sundown ~ Brasstronomical NEW DISK CD release @ Lula Lounge Thursday, 6 March

6:45  Toronto Music Listings, Declensions and Conjugations 
Background Music > Michael Kaeshammer ~ Snow At Lake Simcoe / Vito Rezza ~ Manhattan Bounce 

6:50 Strumming Attractions

*Clela Errington ~ Little Sparrow ~ More Love And Happiness NEW DISK~CD release at Revival Saturday,  1 March
       and on Corby's Orbit LIVE next Friday, 28 February

*Lara MacMillan ~ Pushin' Me ~ Lara MacMillan NEW DISK ~ @ The Cameon House Sunday, 23 February, 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Festive February ~ Winterfolk Luminaries Break The Ice

 Volunteer Pamela Tena will welcome you at The Black Swan's folk central wheelhouse.

Creating a visible magnetic field are John Switzer (hosting The Black Swan's Seneca Independent Music Program at 1:00 Saturday) and Marianne Girard (Songwriting Participation Workshop at Terri-O's 1:00 Saturday, Norm's Living Room @ 5:00  Saturday and showcase @ Terri-O's 10:00 Sunday)

 Whiskey Epiphany living up to their name @ The Globe Bistro Saturday 7:00
 Dinah Thorpe, folktronicist, at The Black Swan, Saturday 5:00 p.m and Sunday at Terri-O's 6:00 pm.

 Ginger St. James.  Ya missed it! She Yodeled!
 Sue & Dwight wielding Pete Seeger's hammer and other classics at The Black Swan 9:00 Saturday
 Random Order rammed the hall and brought on virtual table dances at The Black Swan Friday night

Playlist For Show of February 14

( brought to you by Cardiac Kayaks, Coraz√≥n Canoes & Pulmonary Lifeboats )
5-7 p.m. online and at .  Canadians in Asterisk’d RED.

Guest: Lynn Miles
5:00 Amourtizations

*The Ault Sisters ~ When I Fall In Love ~ Timeless NEW DISK

*Jean Paul de Roover ~ We Will Be ~ @ Rancho Relaxo tonight

The Kinks ~ Destroyer ~ 50 Years of The Kinks @ The Silver Dollar Saturday

*Random Order ~ Subway Girl ~ Black Lipstick Kiss @ The Black Swan tonight (Winterfolk) NEW DISK

5:20 The Beautiful Sadness Of It All

*Lynn Miles ~Moth / Sad / Interview / How To Be Alone (Live) / Love Is Red (Live) / My Road (Live) @ The Black Swan Saturday (Winterfolk) 

*Ron Hynes ~ Cryers Paradise ~@ The Black Swan Saturday  (Winterfolk)

Megan Bonnell ~ Coming Home ~ Hunt And Chase @ The Drake Underground Saturday NEW DISK

6:00 Folk-O Loco
*Soozimusic ~ Old Queens Hotel ~ Soozimusic @ The Globe Bistro Saturday 10 p.m.(Winterfolk) NEW DISK

*Dinah Thorpe ~ Milk The State (revisited) ~ Lullabies And Wakeup Calls NEW DISK @ The Black Swan Saturday 5 .m. / @ Terri-O's Sunday 6 p.m. ( Winterfolk)

*Poor Angus ~ Never Come Back ~ Gathering ~ CD Launch @ Hugh's Room Saturday NEW DISK

*Whiskey Epiphany ~ It Will Shine For One ~ Old Story ~ @ The Globe Bistro Saturday 7 p.m.  ( Winterfolk) NEW DISK

6:20 An Africa Of The Mind

Habib Koite & Bamada ~ Fimani ~ Afriki ~ @ The Mod Club tonight

Okaidja Afroso & Mike Stevens ~ Where's The One? ~ Canadaffrica NEW DISK ~ Mike Stevens at The Dominion on Queen Saturday 1-5 p.m. for TBS Harmonica Workshop

*Colin Stetson ~ And In Truth ~ New History Warfare Vol. III ~ @ The Polish Combatants Hall Saturday for Wavelength Festival

6:40 Icebreakers

*Kalle Mattson ~ Eyes Speak ~ Someday The Moon Will Be Gold ~ @ The Dakota Tuesday NEW DISK

*Old Man Luedecke ~ Sorry I Let You Down ~ I Never Sang Before I Met You NEW DISK @ Hugh's Room Tuesday

*Tony Quarrington ~ Lonnie Johnson's Home Of The Blues ~ Gathering Place ~ @ The Black Swan Sunday 7 p.m. for Honouring Our Own: Tony Quarrington  ( Winterfolk)

 *Shawn Nykwist ~ Stars Fell On Alabama / I Want To Be Happy / @ The Local GST Sunday 4:30 p.m. / Toronto Music Orientations and Occidentations Narrated In Overlay
The Kinks ~ Don't Forget To Dance ~ Years of The Kinks @ The Silver Dollar Saturday

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day - Even If It Aches

Lynn Miles is my pretty darn special guest today. In town for  Winterfolk XII shows at The Black Swan on Saturday, her most recent record Downpour has crystallized her longing and lyrical logic into a new level of articulation, and won her a Canadian Folk Music Award. We'll find out what's on her mind, and maybe even what's in her heart on this cold and festive day of flowers.

Be so there. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Corby's Orbit's 2013 Hit Parade

 My internet radio show of February 7 will consist of the most frequently-played neuron-grabbing songs from 2013's best albums, mostly Canadian 
plus a few extras, played in sequence from bottom to top. 

(Odd> no Juno Nominees, although Lindi was #21) 

Wire yourself profoundly for those two tasty hours, 5:00-7:00 p.m., to Radio Regent at >

              1 Don’t Ya  ~  The Jessica Stewart Few
2            2 I Cry   ~  Nancy Dutra  
3            3 Bigger Than Luck  ~  The Fugitives
4            4 Many Moons ~ Mimi Oz
5            5 There Will Be Good Days   ~   Gregory Hoskins and Gary Craig  
6            6 Sally  ~  Jory Nash    
7            7 My Road   ~   Lynn Miles  
8            8 Ol’ Fort Mac   ~   Corin Raymond & The Sundowners
9            9 The Devil And Jesus ~ Eric Burdon
              10 A.J. Goddard Shipwreck   ~  Kim Beggs     
             11These Hands    ~  Dave Gunning   
              12 Eliana Cuevas  ~  El Tucusito
1         13 To The Lost  ~  Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party
1         14 The Perfect Life ~ Moby feat. Wayne Coyne
1       15 What Does That Mean?  ~   Kristi Lane Sinclair  
1       16 Something In The Water  ~    Zaki Ibrahim
1      17 I Fight For Life    ~     Rachelle Van Zanten    
1      18 Nothing About Us   ~   Kevin and Sue Patrick Breit    
1       19 I Wanna Be A Canadian  ~  Deborah Holland
        20 Rust   ~ Karyn Ellis

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Black History Month Top Ten (Repost)

Black History Month Top Ten

The virus of “best-ism” that is raging through blogs and journalism, especially since the recent turn of the calendar can sometimes end in a trail of disagreeing and often disagreeable comments of “what-about’s” and “how-could-you-forgets”.

My reason for republishing my Black History Top Ten is more for educational purposes. Black history on record speaks of a knowledge that is, at flashpoint moments, culturally advanced in a global sense. It bears study for its warnings, its influential powers of unification, and its unqualified equation of love with spiritual power. These ten records are all pivotal in the evolution of the Diaspora’s music, mostly for the good of the whole world, though some represent the end or the tipping point of the artist’s relevance, a pinnacle that could only lead to a slide. Yes, they are also often provocative, bewildering or severe. These are some of the ones that drastically altered my consciousness' D.N.A.
Let’s count up and down. The list reads equally well backwards and forwards.

10) Abbey Lincoln’s Devil Got Your Tongue, Gitanes, 1992. With a voice almost frivolous in its freedom, the woman who was left out of the paternalistic mid-century American critics’ circle for her afro-radical and insistent relevance delivers a record of simple universal beauty. Sing-song choruses and profoundly healing lyrics on subjects of ancestry, race, the nature of music and spirit. “Dance before the mirror, reflecting holy fire.” Buy it when you see it and pay whatever they ask. Also: We Insist: Freedom. Now!

9) Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey/Garvey’s Ghost, 1975/1976, Island. Echoing from hereditary depths of slavery and obscurity this cry of redemption rang from every shop and shebeen in Jamaica in the summer of ‘75 as Bob Marley began his conquest of the rest of the world. Horns that shout elephant, desiccated harmonies and Aston Barrett’s bass excavating low C’s while Winston Rodney calmly recalls the indignities and horrors of centuries: “We MUST pull it… With shackles around our necks.” Chilling. The “Ghost” dub version followed in 1976 with mesmerizing magnifications of the original’s murmurs. Also: Social Living.

8) Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music Vol. 1&2, 1962, ABC/Paramount . Wiki says: In addition to its social implications, the musical integration of soul and country into a popular format by Charles changed and revolutionized racial boundaries and restraints in music. "Arguably one of the most brilliant interpretive albums ever released, it did more to integrate modern American music than almost any other LP in history." Robert Fontenot. The emotional stability of Gerald Wilson’s arrangements represented a new era in black expression. A deep vinyl experience, especially upon hearing the stereo separation of so many instruments and the dry acoustic bass sliding between the lush valleys and cold peaks of Ray’s voice.

7) Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues, 1965, Delmark. The first time that harmonica giant Wells made Hoodoo Man Blues on 78 RPM, it was thrown to the floor and stepped on by an irate radio man. Here we have Buddy Guy and Junior’s intricate bond of exuberance and misery swelling into anthems of blues victory and tranced-out meditations of desire that explode into rhythmic spasms without warning. The first full-length blues album free of the demands of singles play. “I hold out my hand…Lord, I’m trying to make you understand.”

6) Jimi Hendix’s Band of Gypsies, 1970, Capitol. Sober as concrete and black as a moonrock, Jimi and Buddy Miles lay out long scenarios drenched with drama and extraterrestrial pulsations. Bassman Billy Cox carries it all on his shoulders across the ridge that divided the 60’s from the 70’s. Recorded on New Years’ Eve 1969, every listen is like looking at a star map, with invisible gravities combining to create the sonic blackness that would catalyze Fishbone, Prince, Bad Brains and TV on the Radio.

5) Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle,1993 Death Row. Vile, nihilistic, compulsive, Snoop officially divorced music from social responsibility in the name of booze, weed and sex. Fulfilling the apocalyptic threats of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, unapologetic lyrics and classic samples led directly to the exaltation of lyrical and thematic extremes in music and film for decades following… even ‘til now. I had a good Jamaican friend who bought and discarded the record over and over as the attraction and repulsion he felt for it fluctuated. Spacy and comedic.

4) Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman, 1988, Elektra. Brought the ears of youth back to the ground to listen to tremors of real life that had been muffled by the synthesized multiculturalism ploy of the Reagan / Thatcher era and the culture of self-interest ignited by the 80’s cocaine plague. “I got a feeling I could be someone, Be Someone.” A voice that trembles with the truth she tells, and a head full of dreads in an age when only Whoopie was representing as a public, non-Jamaican, linking Joan Armatrading to Lauryn Hill to Angelique Kidjo, solidifying a generational guild of intense and poetic black women.

3) Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Making History, 1983, Island. Stark, serious and sly, the dub poet reclines and chants on the divan of reggae marches and fanfares created by Dennis Bovell and the Dub Band. Laying out the patterns and attitudes that would flower into rap and elevating the poetry of patois to the world’s ear, Linton changed reportage back to an oral process with the cool camera of his voice and mind and the flow of brilliant militant music. “It’s No Mystery …We’re Makin’ History It’s No Mystery …We’re Winnin’ Victory”

2) Fela Kuti’s Unknown Soldier 12-inch single, (for instance) 1983, EMI. On this record, the needle just sinks down between the terrifying double baritone saxes and the bells and guiros burn up an alarm of friction and tension. There is not much difference between Fela’s albums and singles, since his preferred song length is between 10 and 20 minutes. A barrier to radio play, this was just one of the Promethean Nigerian’s innovations. Besides bringing Afrobeat into existence (along with Tony Allen) by dipping deep into the cauldron of James Brown’s funk, and using his insistence on political (Sorrow Tears and Blood), sexual (Lady) and educational (Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense) lyrics to challenge and agitate the self-image of the entire Diaspora, Fela also became, arguably, the first international African superstar. His full stature became more evident after his death, as is often the case with radical thinkers. His other songs / disks, such as the ones named above, are equally laudable, but to hear a man sing about the assault upon his mother, and mythologize her ordeal into the murder of Africa.…well, "awesome" used to mean exactly what that listening experience is like.

1) Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, 1971, Motown. Berry Gordy, seeing the end of an era that he created, called it "the worst record I ever heard", but Marvin forced the single release of What’s Going On, which topped the R&B charts for 5 weeks. The album which followed was the first popular record to focus entirely on social justice issues, with the lyrics printed clearly inside for study purposes. Fulfilling the prophecies of The Impressions, Donny Hathaway, and activist / comedianDick Gregory that music was the way to change the world, the record sparked the roaring flame of 70’s protest that enlisted the creativity of Stevie Wonder, War, Gil Scott-Heron and John Lennon in the front lines of a worldwide revolution in thought that flourished openly into the early eighties. The music survives many of its architects. Don’t it make you wanna holler? Way they do my life?
Holler back if you hear me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Playlist For Show of 31January

PETE SEEGER ~ 1919-2014

Host: Paul Corby
Radio Regent is now available on ROGERS Channel 60 in downtown T.O.

( brought to you by Hopeless Atlantic, Pacific Generalities, and Radio Arctivity  )
5-7 p.m. online and at .  Canadians in Asterisk’d RED.

Guests:Joe Hall & Tony Quarrington, Brian Cober, and Nilan Perera
             5:00 Heart Instillations

The Weavers ~ Empty Pocket Blues ~ Classics

Pete Seeger ~ Ha Ha This A Way ~Song And Play Time

Pete Seeger with the Rivertown Kids ~ Take It From Dr. King ~ Tomorrow's Children

The Sandpipers ~ Guantanamera
                              Photos from The New York Times

*Joe Hall & Tony Quarrington 

What Now? (with The Continental Drift 1979) / Interview / Sea Change (Live) / Ghost Of Django (Live) / The Early Bird (Live) @ 14-16 February
...Joe @ The Tranzac last Saturday of each month...Tony @ Dominion On Queen Thursday, 6 Feb. 7:30

* Dave Gunning feat. David Francey ~ A Game Going On ~ @ Acoustic Harvest / St. Nicholas Anglican Church Saturday

5:40 Wild Jumps

Trilok Gurtu ~ Passing By ~ The Beat Of Love 
Fatoumata Diawara ~ Kele  ~ Fatou ~ @ Koerner Hall Saturday with Bassekou Kouyate
*The Rizdales ~ It's Not The Baby, Baby ~ How The Marriage Ended ~@ The Dakota Saturday
*Poor Angus ~ Never Come Back ~ Gathering (Borealis) NEW DISK

6:15 Slide Show
*Brian Cober ~ Nuestro Viento / I Got A Thing / Interview ~ Austin Wired  NEW DISK  CD release 13 February at The Monarch Pub
Huey Piano Smith (born 26 January, 1933) feat. Curley Moore ~ They Gonna Do What They Wanna Do 

6:30 C'est Ceylon
Tova Cardonne & The Thing Is ~ Wonder NEW DISK / Interview with Nilan Perera~ @ The Rex, Sundays in Febbruary 7:00-9:00 with The Lanka Suite 

Toronto Music Listings over The Herbaliser's Mrs. Chambers Takes The Plunge
*NO ~ Monday ~ El Prado (Arts & Crafts) NEW DISK