Corby's Orbit

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summery Memories and September Embers

Devon Sproule with Bernice at the The Burdock in the middle of August: complex compositions spread expediently across a team of visionary musicians.
The glory of Kristine Schmitt singing original old-time country songs with John Showman and Cris Coole can not be overstated. The Cameron has done more for real country music in Toronto this summer, with Kim Beggs and Sarah Jane Scouten also in month-long  residencies, than any other local club. 
Corin Raymond and The Sundowners are in many ways the spiritual hub of the scene for the past 10 years.

Panamania gave the whole city a chance to get charged up for no charge at all. It was impossible to keep up with the updraft of international talent that lifted the city into a mellifluous cloud of cumulative ecstasy.

Choc Quib Town from Colombia, performing on Independence Day at the Distillery Square to a flag-waving throng gave the whole celebration an anti-gravity component. 

Maqueque and Jane Bunnett brought a revolutionary jazz fiesta ambience to the proceedings.

Luanda Jones' band was a cool and soul seducing distraction from the hair-crisping heat.

And over at Nathan Phillips Square there was a night of home and native Canadian excellence, with performances by Cold Specks and Joel Plaskett neatly bracketing a half hour of torrential rainfall.

Mimi Oz brought it all back home from Brooklyn in September with a set of new songs that scintillated in the dark Cameron House back room and tickled the ear-bones immensely. Special harmonic emblazoning was provided by Jessica Stuart and Jocelyn Barth.
Ringmaster Alan Davis proves it really is a small world as he introduces Fanfarai at the currently on-going Small World Music Festival opening Thursday  Sept. 17

Braids were extravagantly joyous performing with full velocity at Lee's Palace the night after their performances at the Polaris Music Awards broadcast.

And just before months' end, up jumps Retrocity at the Mod Club evoking screams and memories with two sets of expertly arranged eighties hits for voices only. M+M's Martha Johnson was a surprise guest on a show-stopping version of Black Stations White Stations. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

The 50 Greatest Hits. They May Have Gotten It Right This Time.

Academic computer scientist Mick Grierson studied charts from various authoritative music publications and analyzed the 50 greatest hits of all time with the help of a special program.

The scientist made a comparison of the songs on certain parameters: the number of beats per minute, the number of chords, lyrics, evocative sound and timbre diversity.

It turned out that the favourite tempo of popular hits is 120 beats per minute; they must only use a few basic chords (A, E, C, G), and a high level of tonal variance.

The hits closest to the ideal settings were the song Imagine by John Lennon and One by the group U2, but in first place was none other than the legendary band Nirvana.

Also, 80% of the most popular songs are written in a major key, but each features a wide variety of sounds. The three most popular words in a hit are, "child", "feeling" and "love."

The Results

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana 2. Imagine, John Lennon 3. One, U2 4. Billie Jean, Michael Jackson 5. Hey Jude, The Beatles 6. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen 7. Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan 8. I Can't Get No Satisfaction, Rolling Stones 9. God Save The Queen, Sex Pistols 10. Sweet Child O'Mine, Guns N 'Roses 11. London Calling, The Clash 12. Waterloo Sunset, The Kinks 13. Hotel California, The Eagles 14. Your Song, Elton John 15. Stairway To Heaven, Led Zeppelin 16. The Twist, Chubby Checker 17. Live Forever, Oasis 18. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston 19. Life On Mars? David Bowie 20. Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley 21. Over The Rainbow, Judy Garland 22. What's Goin 'On, Marvin Gaye 23. Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen 24. Be My Baby, The Ronettes 25. Creep, Radiohead 26. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel 27. Respect, Aretha Franklin 28. Family Affair, Sly And The Family Stone 29. Dancing Queen, ABBA 30. Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys 31. Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix 32. Yesterday, The Beatles 33. Johnny B Goode, Chuck Berry 34. No Woman No Cry, Bob Marley 35. Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley 36. Every Breath You Take, The Police 37. A Day In The Life, The Beatles 38. Stand By Me, Ben E King 39. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, James Brown 40. Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones 41. What'd I Say, Ray Charles 42. Sultans Of Swing, Dire Straits 43. God Only Knows, The Beach Boys 44. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, The Righteous Brothers 45. My Generation, The Who 46. Dancing In The Street, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 47. When Doves Cry, Prince 48. A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke 49. River Deep Mountain High, Ike and Tina Turner 50. Best Of My Love, The Emotions 

Thanks, Fishki . >>>

At T.U.R.F. As It Is In Heaven.

High places opened up in our ears during a weekend musical adventure camp at the Commons of old Fort York in Toronto. On the cusp between summer and autumn, under a waxing moon and an illuminated tower, kids, denim queens, ice cream cones, artistic hair, golf carts, exquisite t-shirts and regular GO-Trains roaring by framed a vast selection of modern hypnotic rhythm and romance music.

SATE did what she does best: waking up the wildness and stirring the spirits of sex and celebration with her ferocious and immaculate band.

Cold Specks cracked the grimy Friday overcast with an over-proof vocal disambiguation of her tormented lyrics. The first cut was the deepest as a scattered audience congealed organically around her unique light-emitting hometown firmamentality..

 Jeremy came with something to say.

Julian Taylor and his band finessed the early afternoon with powerful audience engagement and strongly focused soul propulsion.
Grand Analog formed a vibro-funk hum in the sticky atmosphere and laid forth lyrics, laughs and a Kazoo throwdown. 
Fishbone's anchorman, John Norwood Fisher was around and about and all over the Friday fairground. He's seen here absorbing Grand Analog's set.

Lord Huron did the right thing for a big Saturday crowd, blending post Springsteen epic emo and pop posing.

Shakey Graves made a change from his recording output of alt folk-blues by adding a loud industrial edge. The audience made big noises back at him.

UB40, with original singers Ali Campbell and Astro and original keyboardist Mickey Virtue, stormed through all the hits, giving every song vigorous reggae intensity. Many Rivers To Cross was especially poignant and by the time Red Red Wine happened, a kind of rapture had united the crowd.

Above, the drum universe upon which UB40 makes its foundation.
Photo below from UB40 FaceBook Timeline.

The Elwins soaked up the crowd love with a breezy and absorbing set first thing Saturday afternoon. Just before things got really wet.

The Strumbellas , seen here at soundcheck, faced up to an astounding storm that swept in during their set. They continued singing through high winds and snapping tarps and resolutely held the audience safe in their protective care.

The hermeneutic consistency of Canadian rye whiskey fuelled a perfect set of intricate crossplay by the Punch Brothers. Complex narratives, fractal instrumentals and bro camaraderie gave way at the midpoint to a piece by Claude Debussy from The Phosphorescent Blues album. "...But it's the kind of Debussy you'd expect to hear under a highway overpass," explained banjoist Noam Pikelny, "where pianos are burned for warmth."

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club spent a long time dwelling on their repertoire of  blues-rock ragas as they played their last show before a long hiatus. They will be taking a wind down and coming up with a new record in the interim.

And for me, it's all over when Neko Case sings. Even Pixies couldn't hold me after hearing her keening brilliance slicing through a chilly sunset with a selection of "deep cuts" that brought the entire festival to the brink of a euphoric trance. Long time memories and new allegiances made T.U.R.F. the best way to face up to the new fall with all the sensations of a magnificent rise.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Playlist For Show Of 25 September

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby

( Brought To You by  Hellebore Henbane Aconite, Glowworm Fire and Firefly Light.)

Guests ~ Lanie Treen, Ross Lynde, Daniel Galessiere and Jenn Hadfield  of Retrocity

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  
Canadians in Asterisk’d RED.

5:00 Guitarily As Charged

Vieux Farka Touré ( Nickodemus Remix) ~ Sangare ~ UFO's Over Bamako ~ Small World Music Festival Presents Nickodemus @ Studio Bar tonight and Vieux Farka Touré @ Revival Bar Thursday, 1 October

Donné Roberts ~ Malahrlo ~ Rhythm Was Born @ Gate 403 tonight & @ Alliance Francais Friday, 2 Oct.

John Primer ~ Lawhorn Blues ~ Stuff You Got To Watch (Earwig) ~ @ Hugh's Room Friday, 2 Oct.

Steve Earle & The Dukes ~ King Of The Blues ~ Terraplane ~ @ Massey Hall Sunday

Matt Murphy ~ I Can't Hang ~ The Blues Don't Bother Me (1996)

5:20 Disambiguations

* Annie Bonsignore ~ Lying In The Dark ~ Shades Of Red NEW DISK~@ 120 Diner Thursday, 1 Oct, and @ Hugh's Room Tues. 6 Oct. for Jane Harbury's Discoveries

* Ben Caplan ~ Lovers' Waltz ~ Birds With Broken Wings  NEW DISK ~ @ Mod Club Friday, 2 Oct.

* Colin Linden ~ Luck Of A Fool ~ Rich In Love  NEW DISK

* Destroyer ~ Poor In Love ~ Kaputt ~ @ Danforth Music Hall, Wed. 30 Sept.

5:40 Hypnotheque

* Tara Kannangara ~ Stand In Line ~ Some Version Of The Truth  NEW DISK~ Sat 15 Nov. @ The Burdock

Yolanda Kakana ~ Planeta Perfeido ~ Serenata @ Expo Milano tonight for Mozambique National Day, in Milan

* Scarlett Jane ~ We All Just Wanna Be Loved ~ Scarlett Jane  NEW DISK~ CD release tonight @ Adelaide Music Hall

* Tara Holloway ~ The Dance ~ Little Ghosts ~ @ Brazen Head tonight

* Dave Gunning ~ Sing It Louder ~ Lift  NEW DISK

Lianna La Havas feat. Willie Mason ~ No Room For Doubt ~ Is Your Love Big Enough? ~@ Danforth Music Hall Fri. 2 Oct.

Wanda Jackson ~ Thunder On The Mountain / You Know I'm No Good ~ @ The Cadillac Lounge Sunday, 3 Oct.

6:20 A Little Night Muscle

Salt 'n' Pepa feat. Futuristic Prophet ~ Groove Me ~ @ Echo Beach Sunday

Retrocity ~ Father Figure / Need You Tonight / Interview with Lanie Treen, Ross Lynde, Daniel Galessiere and Jenn Hadfield / I Can't Go For That Mixtape  NEW DISK@ Mod Club Tuesday, 29 Sept.

Fleetwood Mac ~ Not That Funny ~ The Chain ~ Fleetmac Wood @ Studio Bar for White-Winged Love Disco / Nuit Blanche Sunday, 3 Oct.

* Natalie MacMaster ~ Hey Johnny Cope~ My Roots Are Showing @ Massey Hall tonight

Freddie Hubbard ~ The Things We Did Last Summer / Toronto music Listings ~ Without A Song ~ Brownman Ali Tribute To Freddie Hubbard @ The Monarch Pub Wed. 30 Sept. 7-11

Monday, September 21, 2015


My friend Julion King will be describing for you the historical events of last Saturday when Canada became the first country in the world to acknowledge the cultural real estate value of a community that birthed conditions for the cultivation of true reggae artists. From his blog comes the following text. For photos and more detail, please visit him here:


That is what I feel about how the Reggae Lane celebration on Saturday 19th September, 2015 went.  The greetings of long time brethrens and sistrens who travelled a long road together, some not seeing each other for over two decades hugged and greeted each other with such love!  Those moments trumped any thoughts that I might have had in regards to whether the RL initiative was a good idea or not as it pertained to the supposedly controversial location.


Reggae won on this day!  I got to witness the pure LOVE these veterans felt and the fact that many were able to speak on the microphone and share their day in the sun.

Overcast skies, heavy downpour that threatened to hang around all day yet I knew that all was well.  Turned the corner in the parking lot and saw folks milling around under tents seemingly thinking that the day was lost.  The clouds relaxed and we had our reggae day.
Blue tarps covering all of the musical equipment and stage donated by Sunshine Sound, Mr. Warren Webley protecting his generous gift of equipment for the event as well as the labour to set up and pull down after the days’ festivities was over.  Lots of detractors flapping their gums yet efforts like Sunshine’s must be mentioned as he selflessly aided the event’s success.  Forever grateful Papa Shine!  Even though all of the politicking and stress you put the community and the music first.  Bless Jay  Douglas for taking the time and asking Sunshine for his support.
What must it feel like to be honored among your peers, Toronto reggae fans and even the world?  Couldn’t tell you what it feels like but I can show you what it looked like.  Look at the faces of the veterans!

The story of Reggae Lane got covered by The Metro News, The Jamaica Star, Tuff Gong Worldwide as well as The Toronto Star yet NO ONE from the Canadian music scene was there.  NONE!  They never are and never will be!
Who wasn’t there?  There were no music people!  Sony, Emi, Warner, Attic (don’t think that they still exist), Universal Music, Much Music, Juno committee, CRTC,  or any other relevant sources that lets one know that they are a part of the music industry.  None were present!  Their ability to discard reggae’s involvement, input, showcasing is normal Canadian music industry behavior.  On top of fighting the crabs within our own industry, we face disregard from the so called Canadian music industry.

Yet as I have always mentioned, we DO NOT NEED VALIDATION FROM ANYONE!  I already know my worth and that of reggae music worldwide so I respect and thank Councillor Josh Colle greatly for recognizing the importance of reggae’s contribution to Canada, preserving it through the naming of Reggae Lane and what we as the fans and participants do with it going forward is totally on us.

Another moment of glee was when Fergus Hambleton held the microphone and free-styled on a riddim.  The place went crazy!  Lots of folks went up to him afterward and asked him who he was....lmaooooooo!!!!  This humble lead singer of The Sattalites answered graciously and moved on to the next.  For those who don't know, The Sattalites have been performing at The Orbit Room, 580a College Street west weekly, for over a decade now.  EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT!

Reggae Futures
What do we do with Reggae Lane going forward?  How do we get an opportunity to use this leverage that has been bestowed upon us and promote the music properly from within colonial Canada?  How do we use the Lane and that parking lot effectively in the years to come?  Tourists from around the world are already headed to Reggae Lane to snap photos with the mural.  I challenge us the fans and the reggae participants to step up our game even in the face of blatant disregard from the powers that be,  Reggae music is needed more in this country and in this time on the planet as is evidenced by reggae's popularity worldwide

Reggae music does not care where the good hearts just goes there.

Support Toronto / Canadian Reggae... Buy Reggae Lane