Corby's Orbit

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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The “Titans of Toronto Reggae” Show

Click on pictures to enlarge

In the late sixties, thanks to the addition of a provision to the Immigration Act by our Mr. Trudeau (senior), Jamaican-born nurses and domestics who had already emigrated to Toronto were able to invite their families to join them in Canada. Consequently, T.O. became the third largest Jamaican city in the world, with a flourishing family-based community, at first in the Bathurst Street area, before drifting up to its current matrix at Eglinton and Oakwood. The talented newcomers from that land of sunshine and singing formed new coalitions and traditions, and established a distinctive Toronto style of reggae music.

The city, through an organization called Culchaworks, issued a mayoral proclamation naming March 2 as Titans of Reggae Day, culminating with a glorious concert at Toronto’s Opera House showcasing many of those key innovators. On an extra-frigid Saturday night, there was a radiant heat pulsing in the hall, where, after a brief introduction by Councillor Mike Colle (right), a 16 piece band, directed by the young, gifted and prolific Andrew Craig (left) erupted into rhythm, on time and on the beam, opening with a love duet by Roy & Yvonne.(Below left)

 In brief pre-taped interviews projected on the backstage wall, each performer shared recollections of Toronto’s early reggae scene before hitting the stage. After coming to visit, staying in Canada became an irresistible option for all of them. The artists confided a broad number of reasons: a job or a musical opportunity, family, self-interest, “I didn’t need to join the army”, attraction “it was like a vortex, it just held me” and romance “I just couldn’t leave that girl”.

Amongst the familiar and trusted sidemen, some, such as Eddie Bullen and Carl Harvey, are almost as famous as the stars. They provided a consistently solid rebar-and-concrete foundation to the parade of Titans who arrived, one by one, to be greeted by our humble but gregarious host Michael Williams (right, introducing Carol Brown, who invited the audience to "Come Love Me"), sparking applause, cheers and waving phones. With one song each to perform, every singer exhibited engaging audience rapport, a tight connection to the band, and, often, remarkable dance prowess (not to mention extraordinary shoes).

 Emotions ran high as many of the Titans arrived to such a cacophony of praise that they had to drag up, rewind and start over. As highlight upon highlight accelerated the excitement, bassman Charles Sinclair ONiel “Drummy” Fuller (left) and The Titan Horns (right) doubled down on every rhythm, bringing focus to the character of each performer and adjusting perfectly to the twists and turns of the program as it unfolded.  

The Sattalites` Fergus Hambleton (above) stepped away from his alto horn duties to present a new original, Never Givin`Up On Love, with smooth accompaniment from the backing trio of Lorraine ScottKaren Jewels and Laurel Tubman. As The T -Threes (left, above). They also helped Tanya Mullings capture hearts clear to the back of the hall with the classic ceiling-raiser Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. 

She took time to pay reverent tribute to the legendary Bernie Pitters, who was led to his keyboard at center stage to add extra juice to her song and several others over the course of the evening.

Liberty Silver, in a cloud of chiffon and nuclear jewellery radiated warmth, talent and humility, bringing Andrew Craig in for a turn on the bass as she rode a disco reggae groove. Willi Williams (right) dug in deep on Armagideon Time, his roots classic which, he announced, was created in Malton Ontario with the late great drummer Raffa Dean.
The Mystics trio burst onto the stage with such force that the audience turned into a sea of waving arms. 

Nana McLean broughtthe night to a fine froth by ditching her platform shoes and churning up everyone with her uplifting joviality and exuberant singing.  Modern-style crowd pleasers, the smooth Steele and Glen Washington, above,(who interrupted his phenomenal singing career as a vital drummer on the T.O. scene in the nineties) gave the ladies something to swing about as the evening ascended toward a climax. 

Stranger Cole (right) provided a cultural showcase of moves and merriment, letting off one of the few “Rastafari!’s” of the evening. And then the King of Toronto reggae,

Leroy Sibbles, founder of The Heptones, and the number one studio bassist at Jamaica’s temple of reggae, Studio One, strode onto the stage and saddled up on Modelling Queen and Rock And Come On, two jewels of his repertoire that he wrote during his twenty year residency in the city.

At the end of the night all personnel were summoned back on deck to join in on an original Toronto tune, Messengers, by Jay Douglas and Christopher Butcher. “We are the messengers of peace and love. We are the children of the Most High”. The crowd would not let it go, chanting the chorus after every stop.

Photo by Jason Wilson
Reggae music has always been meant to uphold unity, and it was stirring to see so many artists participating with respect to this goal, bringing the synthesis of two countries’ cultures into one focus, no longer strangers in a strange land. As Nana McLean said, “When you check it out, the music was our home.”

Friday, March 29, 2019

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show Of 29 March with Laura Repo, Ellen McIlwaine, and Allison Lupton

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Expanse Accounts, Jah Mega Farewell & Holy Macro )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Guests: Laura Repo, Ellen McIlwaine, and Allison Lupton

This show dedicated to the legacy and life's work of Joe Hall

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 Into The Unknown-ymous

* Joe Hall ( May 15, 1947 ~ March 22, 2019 ) & The Screaming Vegetables~ The Big Bang Theory feat. Willie P. Bennett ~ Straight Outta Rehab ~  Joe Hall Tribute May 17 @ Tranzac

* Kellie Loder ~ Beneath The Sea ~ Benefit Of The Doubt ~ @ The Dakota Thursday 4 April

Joi ~ Sunshine & The Rain ~ Hiphop 'n' Jazz 

* The Marie Goudy 12tet & Jocelyn Barth ~ Son For Sunshine ~ The Bitter Suite ~ Jocelyn Barth Trio @ The Old Mill tonight

* Hilario Duran ~ Segundo Encuentro ~ Contumbao ~ @ Jane Mallett Theatre Tuesday 2 April

5:20 The Gentle Repo's Of The Soul

*Laura Repo ~ Perspective / Power Of The Night / Interview / Too Soon To Miss You (hidden track) / Wednesday ~ This Is My Room 
NEW DISK ~ CD Launch @ The Dakota Tavern Friday, 5 April 7 p.m.

5:50 Ellen: High Water 

* Ellen McIlwaine ~ Leather Underwear / Interview / Crawling Kingsnake ~ The Real Ellen McIlwaine 

Mfiliseni Magubane ~ Uthandolami ~ Only The Poorman Feel It (HEMIsphere)

   Ellen McIlwaine with bass man Kit Johnson at Banff 1988
 (photo by Suzan Johnson)

6:30 Lupton Found

* Allison Lupton ~ What Will I Dream? / I Will Rise / Interview ~ Words Of Love NEW DISK ~ CD release @ Hugh's Room Live Saturday 30 March

6:40 Infinite Now

* Dave Gunning ~ All That's Yet To Come ~ Up Against The Sky NEW DISK ~ @ Hugh's Room Live Sunday

* Pat Loiselle ~ Southbound ~ Sonny Boy Gumbo's Blues NEW DISK

Fatoumata Diawara ~ Baloko ~ Fatou ~ @ Toronto Centre For The Performing Arts Thursday 4 April

Baba Olatunji ~ Akiwowo ~ Drums Of Passion: The Beat feat. Carlos Santana ~ (Ryko) 
with Toronto Music Listings

* Karin Plato ~ Sorrow ~ This Could Be The One NEW DISK

* Julian Taylor Band ~ Desert Star ~ Desert Star ~ @ The Great Hall Saturday 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Playlist for Corby's Orbit Show of 22 March

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Rhythmic Mystics, Sonic Swamis and Groove Gurus )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Guests: Mike McKenna and Dave Gunning

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 Swamplifiers

* Don Stevenson ~ Dog On A Bone ~ Buskin In The Subway ~ @ Hugh's Room Live Sunday

* Garnet Rogers ~ Jesus & Elvis ~ Night Drive 

* Dashboard Rattle ~ Fla Blues ~ Dashboard Rattle NEW DISK

Little Feat ~ The Band's Rag Mama Rag ~ Across The Great Divide 

Jenny Lewis ~ Handle With Care ~ Rabbit Fur Coat ~ Edge Of Dylan Tribute Band @ The Linsmore Tavern tonight

5:30 Elevated Revelators

* McKenna Mendelson Mainline ~ Bad Women Are Killing Me / Interview with Mike McKenna Blues ~ Mike McKenna & Slidewinder @ The Black Swan Sunday 4-8 For A Tribute To Pete Otis

* The Sattalites ~ Falling From Heaven ~ The Best Of Canadian Reggae ~ Fergus with Wood And Water @ Tranzac Tuesday 7:30

Gal Costa ~ Balance A Diva From Bahia : The Definitive Collection ~ Projeto Forrobo / Celebrating Women In Music @ Lula Lounge Sunday 

6:00 Cool Gunning's

* Dave Gunning ~ Ferris Wheel / In The Time I Was Away / Beyond The Day / Interview ~ Up Against The Sky NEW DISK~ @ Hugh's Room Live Sunday 31 March 

6:20 Emotivational Speakers

* Lonesome Ace String Band ~ Civil Wars ~ When The Sun Comes Up ~ @ The Local Tuesday 26 March 9 p.m.

Jimmie Rodgers ~ The Wreck Of The John B ~ Treasured Tunes 10 (Stardust)

* Kristin Lindell ~ Hear Me Callin' ~ Overflowing ~ @ 120 Diner tonight

* Ellen McIlwaine ~ Down So Low ~ The Real Ellen McIlwaine

6:40 Revelry Reveries

* Michael Davidson & Dan Fortin ~ Berlin l ~ Clock Radio NEW DISK ~ CD launch at Canadian Music Centre Saturday

George Benson (born March 22, 1943) ~ All Clear / So What ~ Beyond The Blue Horizon / Toronto Music Listings 

Eliane Elias ~ Wave ~ Fantasia 

Jose Gonzalez ~ Stay Alive ~ The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Sdtrk. ~ @ Danforth Music Hall Tuesday 26 March 

* Jerry Leger & The Situation ~ Too Broke To Die ~ Too Broke To Die : Retrospective 2005-2019 NEW DISK  ~ @ Dakota Tavern tonight

Dave Gunning  in Ontario 2019

March 22 Riverside Concerts, Corbyville, ON
March 23 DogHouse Studios, Napanee, ON
March 24 National Arts Centre - Azrieli Studio, Ottawa, ON
March 26 Concert, Midland, ON
March 27 Higher Ground, Belfountain, ON
March 28 Concert, Sarnia, ON
March 29 Kingsville Lions Hall, Kingsville, ON
March 30 Victoria Jubilee Hall, Walkerton, ON
March 31 Hugh’s Room, Toronto, ON
April 1 Guelph Masonic Centre, Guelph, ON
April 2 Studio 13, Millgrove, ON
April 3 Stonecroft Folk, Ingersoll, ON
April 4 Concert, Kincardine, ON
April 5 Princess Avenue Playhouse, St. Thomas, ON
April 6 Sharbot Lake Inn, Sharbot, ON

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Playlist For Corby's Orbit Show Of 15 March

Commissioner of Selection: Paul Corby 

( Brought to you by Daytime Highs, Small Craft Warmings & Up-To-Diminish Headlines )

5-7 p.m. Fridays online and at .  

Canadians in Asterisk’d RED. 

5:00 No Mandates 

* Kevin Breit ~ Dr. Lee Van Cleef ~ Johnny Goldtooth  & The Chevy Casanovas Juno Nominee 

* Alessia Cara feat.Curtis Smith ~ Growing Pains ( Locals Only Sound Remix ) ~ The Pains Of Growing Juno Nominee 

* Joe Jencks ~ Why Are The Guns Still Firing ? ~ The Forgotten (Recovered Treasures From The Pen Of Si Kahn) 

* Ben Rogers ~ Wildfire ~ Wildfire NEW DISK

5:20 Emotional Origami

* Joe Bel ~ Dreams ~ Dreams NEW DISK

Brandi Carlile ~ Most Of All ~ By The Way, I Forgive You

* Vishten ~ Les Sirènes a Roméo ~ Horizons Juno Nominee 

* Pharis & Jason Romero ~ Salt & Powder ~ Sweet Old Religion Juno Nominee 
 Ellen McIlwaine 

* Oh Pep! ~ Only Everyone ~ Stadium Cake ~ @ The Baby G Tuesday 

5:40 Articulated Particulars

Nat King Cole (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965) ~ feat. NAS ~ The Game Of Love

* 13GO ~ Pointe Claire ~ Domestic Tranquility NEW DISK

* Adrian Miller ~ Elijah ~ Mother Earth 

* Karin Plato ~ Heart & Soul ~ This Could Be The One NEW DISK

Quincy Jones  (born March 14, 1933) ~ Take Five ~ Abstractions

6:00 Touch Luck

Rory Block ~ Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader ~ Hard Luck Child @ Hugh's Room Live Sunday

* Ellen McIlwaine ~ He The Richmond ~ The Real Ellen McIlwaine Maple Blues BLUES WITH A FEELING Award Winner 2019

* Charlotte Day Wilson ~ Nothing New ~ Stone Woman Juno Nominee

Bruce Hornsby ~ What A Time ~ Harbor Lights 

6:20 Riveting Revelries

* Rant Maggie Rant ~ Paper Boats ~ Latitude ~ @ Hugh's Room Live Saturday 

Alison Krauss feat. The Cox Family ~ You Oughta Be Here With Me / I've Been A Long Time Leaving ~ King Of The Road A Tribute To Roger Miller 

* Chris Ronald ~ Dad Glad ~ Fragments ~ @ Sellers & Newel Saturday

* Rosie & The Riveters ~ Dancing Cause Of My Joy ~ Good Clean Fun ~ @ Hugh's Room Live Tuesday 19 March

James Taylor ~ Handy Man ~ Live ~ James Taylor Tribute: Sweet Baby James @ Hugh's Room tonight

6:40 Twists Of  Fade

* Kevin Breit ~ Crime Holler ~ Dr. Goldtooth & The Chevy Casanovas Juno Nominee / Toronto Music Listings 

* The Deep Dark Woods ~ The Winter Has Passed ~ Yarrow Juno Nominee

* Outside I'm A Giant ~ Love In A Cup ~ Undoubting Belief In The Good NEW DISK

* Fortunate Ones ~ Before You ~ Hold Fast