December 7, 2004

SJP


Artist: Motherlode




VERSION I: Ken Marco (guitar; 1969-70) Steve Kennedy (tenor sax, harmonica; 1969-70) William "Smitty" Smith (keyboards) Wayne "Stoney" Stone (drums; 1969-70)

VERSION II: William "Smitty" Smith (keyboards; 1969-1970) Philip Wilson (drums; replaced Stone 1970) Anthony Shinault (guitar; replaced Marco 1970) Doug Richardson (saxophone; replaced Kennedy 1970)

VERSION III: Breen LeBeouf (vocals; 1971) Gord Waszek (guitar; replaced Shinault 1971) Mike Levine (bass; 1971) Wally Cameron (drums; replaced Wilson 1971) Newton Garwood (keyboards; replaced Smith 1971)

VERSION IV: Mike Levine (bass) Wayne St. John (vocals; 1971) Kieran Overs (guitar: 1971) Wally Cameron (drums; 1971) Newton Garwood (keyboards; 1971)

VERSION V: Dave Berman (saxophone; 1971) Brian Wray (keyboards; 1971) Joey Roberts [Miquelon] (guitar; 1971) Brian Dewhurst (drums; 1971) Gerry Legault (bass, vocals; 1971)

Kennedy and Smith had been playing together in Toronto with the Soul Searchers, a four-piece band fronted by Eric Mercury and Diane Brooks. Following the break-up of that group, Kennedy, and then Smitty, joined Grant Smith And The Power, the quartet of Marco (Bar-Kays, Upset), Smith (Belltones, David Clayton-Thomas), Kennedy (Silhouetes, The Soul Searchers) and Stone splintered from the nine-piece showband having grown tired of performing material by others.

They formed Motherlode in 1969 and moved to the isolation of London, Ontario so they could pursue their own original tunes. They starved and stayed with friends but finally caught a break after their debut at the Image Club when Mort Ross signed them to Revolver/Compo Records that year.

Their first single, "When I Die", was produced by Doug Riley and Terry Brown and failed to make a splash on radio. However, the band's reciprocal deal in the US with Neil Bogart's Buddah Records made the song a #18 hit. With the song selling upwards of 500, 000 copies it eventually made it to Canadian charts (reaching #5) and causing RPM magazine to declare them Canada's first Supergroup. Their debut album, also called "When I Die" also featured the Top-30 hit "Memories Of A Broken Promise".

With the second album progressing slowly, Revolver continued culling material from the debut. The band split up in January 1970 and second album, "Tapped Out", was released posthumously in the US only. Kennedy, Stone and Marco moved on right away to Doug Riley's band Dr. Music.

Revolver Records owned the name Motherlode and decided to flog a dead horse. Smith brought in they had Smitty replenish the ranks with three new musicians -- drummer Philip Wilson, guitarist Anthony Shinault and sax player Doug Richardson. As the second version of Motherlode they released one 7" single in the Fall of 1970, "I'm So Glad You're You (And Not Me)" backed with Shinault's instrumental "Whipoorwill". The new record flopped and the group split almost immediately.

Revolver president Mort Ross brought in Gord Waszek (Leigh Ashford) to begin writing for the next version of Motherlode which turned out to be "All That's Necessary" and was recorded by the third Motherlode incarnation -- vocalist Breen Leboeuf (Chimot) and bassist Mike Levine (later of Triumph) plus Waszek and several other members of the flagging Leigh Ashford ensemble. The B-side was a renamed version of "Hiro Smothek" from 1970's 'Tapped Out' LP called "The Chant". To promote the record, yet another version of Motherlode was born -- Levine, singer Wayne St. John (THP Orchestra, Domenic Troiano Band), guitarist Kieran Overs (Stringband), and two former members of Leigh Ashford Wally Cameron (drums) and Newton Garwood (keyboards). Despite a major promotion push the record flopped and the band split.

By March 1971, the remnants of Montreal-based Natural Gas (which would feature George Olliver among its members) were given the dubious distinction of becoming version five of Motherlode: Dave Berman (saxophone), Brian Wray (keyboards), Joey Roberts [Miquelon] (guitar), Brian Dewhurst (drums) and Gerry Legault (bass, vocals). They didn't even manage a recording before ditching the name and becoming Truck (with drummer Graham Lear).

The original Motherlode actually reunited to record in 1976 for the song"Happy People" but the name was still tied up in red tape and it had to be released as a Kenny Marco solo project. alone. The name was used in November 1989, for a live reunion during a week of performances at the Club Bluenote in Toronto. They even managed to write and tape eight new songs in 1990 but those sessions have yet to be released.

with notes from Bill Munson, Breen LeBoeuf, Wally Cameron and Gord Waszek.


Singles
1969 When I Die/Hard Life (Revolver) REVS-002
1969 Memories Of A Broken Promise/What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) (Revolver) REVS-004
1970 Dear Old Daddy Bill/Living Life (Revolver) REVS-005
1970 I'm So Glad You're You (And Not Me)/Whipoorwill (Revolver) REVS-008
1971 All That's Necessary/Chant (Revolver/RCA) 75-1046

Albums
1969 When I Die (Revolver) RLPS-501
1970 Tapped Out (Buddah - US) BDS-5108
1996 When I Die/Tapped Out [2-fer-1 CD re-issue] (Pacemaker) PACE-007

Video


Compilation Tracks
1990 "When I Die" on 'Made In Canada - Volume One: The Early Years' (BMG) - compilation





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