Calling All Tunehead Sleuths: Can You Identify These 16 Mystery Album Covers from the Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall, London, Ontario, Canada, June 1966?

WoolcoRecordDeptArgyleMallLondonJune1966The Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall, East London, Ontario, Canada, June 1966, from the London Free Press’ Pictures From the Past series. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)

What a trip it was to see this photo of one of my old childhood record-hunting locales 40 years after it was snapped!

As a fan of history—especially cultural history from global to local—I always look forward to one of my favourite features in the London Free Press: Pictures From the Past, a weekly installment reprinting photos from the paper’s archives spanning decades.

PFTP ran a photo last June of particular interest to me of the Woolco Record Department at Argyle Mall in 1966. Having grown up in Huron Heights in the ‘60 and ‘70s, Argyle Mall was just a few minutes drive up Clarke Road. Regular trips there with both my parents and other family members means that everything about the place is burned into my memory from youth. Read the rest of this entry »


5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010

5x5 Best of 2010 variousartists

NOTE TO READERS: Owing to the March 2015 closure of OpenSalon.com — which was my primary publishing platform, where I initiated this blog and concert series project, and was where most of my pieces were accessed — I need to plug up a few blog-holes (i.e., post-up here a clutch of early Open Salon blog entries that I never transferred to this cyberabode).  This post is one of those orphaned Ghosts of Blogging Past that needs a re-debut.

In advance of my Best of 2015 recap (appearing shortly), here is my first year-end music entry from February 2011: 5×5: My “Best Of” Musical Round-Up for 2010.   While I am republishing the list as I saw it at that time, I’ve reconsidered some of my choices in the interim.  Here’s how I would rank 2010 now from a 2016 perspective: Read the rest of this entry »


025. So Here I Am: UB40, March 7, 1984 & March 14, 1985

UB40 Tickets 84 85UB40 play London, Ontario twice, a year apart almost to the week. (Ticket and program scans by VA.  Other images from internet and arranged by VA.)

025. So Here I Am: UB40, Centennial Hall, London, Ontario, March 7, 1984; Alumni Hall, UWO, London, Ontario, March 14, 1985

When you’re a tunehead lifer, farming your musical terrain with a polycultural approach to sonic agriculture, it’s a reality — indeed a necessity — that certain strains of artists/genres/stylistic obsessions inevitably drop out of and then later resurface in my listening crop rotations.  But, as I’ve previously noted, not all seasons’ harvests continue to yield again down through the years.  While some evergreen produce re-seed and return stronger than ever, others wither and dine on the vine. Read the rest of this entry »


185. In The Flesh: Blondie, July 10, 2014 (& their mid-70s birth)

Ottawa Bluesfest 2014 Blondie wristband variousartists

Blondie’s 40th and Ottawa Bluesfest’s 20th

185. In The Flesh: Blondie, Ottawa Bluesfest, LeBreton Flats, Ontario, Thursday July 10, 2014.  Approx. $50

I first encountered Blondie in the pages of NYC-based Rock Scene magazine in the summer of 1975.  It was a single page feature, appearing less than a year after the group’s formation and first shows at CBGBs.  Blondie had begun by opening for the also-nascent Ramones who had similarly been popping up in recent Rock Scene issues.  Indeed, most of the mid-70s NYC underground first came to my attention via RS.

Retrospectively, I now see what an odd, prescient publication it was on a few fronts.

Read the rest of this entry »


178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6

Ticket Festival Pass 2013 Corrected

“Summer’s here and the time is right for …”

178a. Magic Chords: Ottawa Bluesfest 2013 (Pt. 1) with The Black Keys, Sharon Van Etten, Femi Kuti, Neko Case, Bahamas, and more, July 4-6, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Black Keys, Femi Kuti
Thursday July 4, 2013

For over a decade now, Ottawa Bluesfest has been the musical centrepiece of my summer here in the National Capital Region — it’s one of the geography’s positives. Read the rest of this entry »


177. We Rule the School: Belle & Sebastian, Saturday July 6, 2013

BLOG Bluesfest wristbands 2013

 This year’s much-used Ottawa Bluesfest full fest passes featuring their mascot, Leadbelly.  He waved at me on Day One.  I think he looks like a blue version of the Just For Laughs gremlin.

177. We Rule the School: Belle & Sebastian, Saturday July 6, 2013, Ottawa Bluesfest, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $19.50 (as part of 10-day pass)

I first heard of Belle & Sebastian shortly after their mid-‘90s emergence but didn’t get to actually hear them until just after the turn of this century.  A younger friend of ours from that time was over one night when Donovan came on a CD compilation that we were listening to.  “Who is this?,” he asked.  “It sounds like Belle & Sebastian.” Read the rest of this entry »


176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent and Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, June 23 & 29

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My wristband for the 2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival and Macaulay Culkin sporting an appropriate facial gesture. (All photos and scans by VA.)

176. Lightning: Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 with David Byrne & St. Vincent, Sunday June 23 / Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Saturday June 29, Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, $165.00 for a (largely wasted) Festival Pass

Another year, another Ottawa Jazz Festival: more great music intersecting with frustrations.  In other words, business as usual.

This year’s J Fest appeared as a terrific proposition with a stellar line-up anchored by its biggest star, Ms. Aretha Franklin, along with the currently touring collaboration between ex-Talking Head David Byrne and the fabaroony St. Vincent aka Annie Clark.  Sweetness!  Not only that but Willie Nelson, The Bad Plus, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Mavis Staples, and a few other options. Read the rest of this entry »