November 29, 2004

SJP


Artist: Powder Blues




Tom Lavin (guitar, vocals)
Jack Lavin (bass, vocals)
Willie MacCalder (piano, organ, vocals)
Duris Maxwell (drums)
David Woodward (tenor sax, vocals)
Mark Hasselbach (trumpet)
Gord Bertram (baritone sax; 1979-1981)
Wayne Kozak (tenor sax; 1979-1981)
Bill Runge (baritone sax; 1981-2001)
Don Cummings (bass; replaced Jack Lavin 1983)
Bill Clarke (trumpet; 2001)
Adam Drake (drums; 2001)
Jerry Cook (tenor saxophone)
Daryl Bennett (drums)
Robbie King (keyboards, vocals)
Pat Caird (tenor saxophone)
Lou Hoover (drums)

In May of 1978 The Powder Blues band is formed by Chicago-born Tom Lavin as a house band in Vancouver's Gastown. All the members came from other groups: Tom Lavin with Prism; Jack Lavin with Teen Angel & The Rockin' Rebels; MacCalder with Willie And The Walkers; Maxwell with Doucette and Skylark; Woodward with Downchild; Kozak with Cobra, Prism and Denise McCann; Bertram with Foreman Byrnes; and Hasselbach with Airbrush. They played the local Vancouver club scene for the next 18 months.

By 1979 the band had recorded their debut album, 'Uncut', and released it on their own Blue Wave label after being turned down by all the major record labels. But the band generated enough buzz on their own causing RCA to re-release the album and the band toured Canada and U.S. on strength of four Top-10 singles.

'Uncut' was certified double platinum [200,000 copies] in February 1981. The band won 'Best New Group' at the Juno Awards. Album exports began helping 'Uncut' receive significant airplay on the BBC and Europe.

In June of 1981 The Powder Blues released their second album 'Thirsty Ears'. It shipped platinum and the first single reached Top 5 nationally. Their touring schedule continued at a pace of over 300 shows per year.

By May of 1982 work began on their third album 'Party Line'. Following its release, the first single received heavy national airplay. The band played 65 dates in the U.S. to promote the release.

April 1983 saw a European tour garnering spectacular reviews at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland (which was recorded for a live album release) and North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland.

'Red Hot, True Blue', a double album with 18 tunes, cut live in the studio, was issued on RCA records in Canada in September 1983.

In September 1984 'Live At Montreux' was released to critical acclaim and by December of that year CBC aired an hour-long national TV special, 'Powder Blues Live at Montreux'. Powder Blues would play 112 dates that year.

1985 saw The Powder Blues perform 175 dates in U.S. and Canada and in November 1986 they received the coveted W.C. Handy Award for Blues is presented to the band in Memphis, Tennessee for 'Best Foreign Band'.

In July of 1988 they celebrated their 10th Anniversary with continuous, non-stop touring of over 100 dates that year.

'First Decade/Greatest Hits', album number six, was released in August of 1990 featuring 19 cuts available for the first time ever on CD.

In November 1990 The Powder Blues performed 12 concerts in the Soviet Union and released product on Melodiya Records (the second Western act following The Dave Rave Conspiracy to do so).

Throughout 1991 and 1992 touring continued and the band began work on a new studio album.

In April of 1993 the band's seventh LP, 'Let's Get Loose', was released on WEA Records. A steady tour ensued.

Throughout 1994-1996 a revitalized version of the band continued to tour by playing an average of 50 shows a year including major blues and jazz festivals in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

In 1997 the band's much acclaimed 'Live at Montreux' LP was restored to it's original concert length, re-mastered digitally and released worldwide on Peerless. Meanwhile, Powder Blues' 'First Decade/Greatest Hits' on WEA achieved gold record status [50,000 copies].

Through the late '90s The Powder Blues played another 100 live shows from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They began working on a new studio album in 2000 which was entitled 'Swingin' The Blues' and released in 2001.

Leader, Tom Lavin has written many of the band's best-known songs, including "Doin' It Right (On the Wrong Side of Town)" and "Boppin' With the Blues". He moved to Vancouver in the late '60s to study film-making. By night he made his living working as a musician in the thriving downtown nightclub scene. This eventually lead to his career as a studio musician and subsequently, to his role as record producer and studio owner.

Lavin has been singing and playing guitar for a living for over 35 years. At various times during this period he has been presented with a number of awards. These include B.C. Music Industry Association awards for Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter and Producer of the Year, a Canadian Music Industry Association Juno Award for 'Best New Band' and the American W.C. Handy Award for 'Best Foreign Blues Band'. He has over a dozen Gold, Platinum and Double Platinum record awards for playing in, writing for or producing such bands as Powder Blues, Prism, April Wine, Long John Baldry, Amos Garrett, Susan Jacks, The Good Brothers and P.J. Jackson.

He has produced albums for many international labels including RCA, WEA, Capitol, Columbia, EMI, BMG, Polygram and Stoney Plain Records and has produced albums or written songs for such notables as Long John Baldry, Amos Garrett, Lowell Fulson, Susan Jacks and Jim Byrnes. His four story, 20,000 square foot recording complex, Blue Wave Studios has not only produced Gold Records for Powder Blues and numerous other artists, it has recorded sound for film (including the Dennis Hopper film 'Out Of The Blue'), TV and radio. It is also home to Teddy Bear Productions, an advertising company that Tom is partner in, which has produced themes, scores and jingles for countless movies, TV shows and international products including Ford, Toyota and Bell Telephone.

Founding member, Willie MacCalder, was born in Victoria and raised in Edmonton where he developed his craft by playing in a number of teen bands, until, in the mid sixties, he found great success with his own band, Willie and the Walkers. They signed with Capitol Records and enjoyed a number of pop hits on rock radio, touring extensively through out the U.S. and Canada. He and Lavin met in Vancouver in the mid seventies where they discovered their mutual love of the blues. MacCalder's trademark piano stylings have won him a number of music poll awards and contribute greatly to the Powder Blues instantly identifiable sound. MacCalder released a solo album entitled 'Broken Down Piano' on Jay-El Records.

Dave Woodward, tenor saxophone, was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia and joined the Powder Blues right at the band's outset in the spring of 1978. Previous to his involvement with Powder Blues, he found commercial success appearing and performing for many years with the Downchild Blues Band of Toronto. Lavin first saw Woodward play when Downchild came to Vancouver on a cross Canada tour and he made a mental note to ask Woodward to play with him if the opportunity ever arose. Coincidentally, Woodward left Downchild and migrated to the West Coast at about the same time that Powder Blues was being formed and looking for a horn section. Lavin asked him to join the band on the very first night he ever played with them and he has been an indispensable member ever since.

Bassist, Bill Runge, born in Edmonton, joined the band in 1981. He has appeared on many Powder Blues albums playing baritone, tenor and alto saxophones and on some cuts, the electric bass. This gifted multi-instrumentalist has also written, arranged and performed with the Jim Byrnes Band and his been a jazz ensemble leader in his own right, winning the coveted 'Alcan National Jazz Award'. He has played, written and arranged sessions for countless commercials, movie and television scores and albums over the past two decades. He is also on the governing board of directors of the Vancouver Musicians Union Local 145.

Bill Clark, trumpet, was born and raised in Surrey, B.C. and joined the Powder Blues in 1985, touring with the band at a pace of over 200 shows per year. As a 'first call' session man, he has also led jazz ensembles that have toured across Canada and in the U.S. and Europe. For a number of years previous to his involvement with the band, he traveled the world as a well-known musician and bandleader for a number of popular cruise ship companies.

Drummer Adam Drake was born in Los Angeles and raised in the Slocan Valley near Nelson, B.C. He first studied drums as a young boy with the famous L.A. session drummer Nick Cirrolli. Before long he was playing in a number of local bands, working hard at developing his unique percussion style. Previous to joining Powder Blues, he toured with such well-known International acts as Grapes of Wrath, Art Bergmann and Holly MacNarland and in 1997 won the prestigious Canadian Juno Award for 'Best Alternative Drummer'.

with notes from Tom Lavin and Steve Wind


Singles
1979 Doin' It Right/The Rockchopper (RCA) PB-50562
1979 Boppin' With The Blues/Just A Little (RCA) PB-50580
1980 Buzzard Luck/Hear That Guitar Ring (RCA) PB-50613
1980 What've I Been Drinking (RCA) PB-50589
1981 Lovin' Kissin' & Huggin'/Willpower (Liberty/Capitol-EMI)77003
1981 Joy Ridin'/Undercover Blues (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) 77005
1981 First Fight/Jump Up (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) 77010
1981 Thirsty Ears/Nothing But A Tease (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) LT-1423
1983 Farmer John/Pushy (RCA) PB-50754
1983 Roll Over Beethoven/Your Daddy (RCA) PB-50765
1985 I'm On The Road Again/Shiftless (Blue Wave) BWR-007

Albums
1979 Uncut (Blue Wave) 11791
1980 Uncut [re-issue] (RCA/Victor) KKLI-0365
1981 Thirsty Ears (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) LT-1105
1982 Party Line (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) LT-51136
1983 Powder Blues (Liberty/Capitol-EMI) LT-1078
1983 Red Hot/True Blue [2LPs] (RCA/Victor) APL-0518
1983 Red Hot/True Blues [1 LP] (Flying Fish) FF-343
1984 Live At Montreux (Blue Wave)
1990 First Decade/Greatest Hits (WEA)
1993 Let's Get Loose (WEA)
1997 Live At Montreux [CD re-issue] (Peerless)
1997 Lowell Fulson With The Powder Blues Band (Stony Plain) 2001 Swingin' The Blues (Blue Wave) BWRCD-12001
2004 Blues + Jazz = BLAZZ!

Video


Compilation Tracks






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