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11 Aug 2016

Lighthouse “Good Day” 1974 Canada Jazz Rock,Prog,Psych

Lighthouse “Good Day” 1974 Canada Jazz Rock,Prog,Psych


Having been named "Vocal/Instrumental Group of the Year" for the third time at Canada's prestigious Juno Awards in 1973, Lighthouse entered Thunder Sound in Toronto the following year to record their final album. Downplaying the horn-heavy sound that had previously defined them, it's a taut set of progressive rock with prominent synth and it sees founder member and drummer Skip Prokop switching to lead guitar. 

Vocalist Bob McBride curiously failed to show up to the studio where Lighthouse was recording its 1973 album Can You Feel It, Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole shared singing duties for the band’s ninth studio album. Still, 1974’s Good Day featured “Wide Eyed Lady" a psychedelic ballad co-penned by McBride. Good Day rocks noticeably harder than most preceding Lighthouse albums. This is softened by the pillowy layers of backing vocals and the band’s propensity to infuse orchestral string arrangements (as heard in the opening epic, “White Buffalo”).............

Prog Temple present a reissue of Lighthouse's Good Day, originally released in 1974. Having been named "Vocal/Instrumental Group of the Year" for the third time at Canada's prestigious Juno Awards in 1973, Lighthouse entered Thunder Sound in Toronto the following year to record their final album. Downplaying the horn-heavy sound that had previously defined them, it's a taut set of progressive rock with prominent synth and it sees founder member and drummer Skip Prokop switching to lead guitar. It makes its long-overdue CD debut here. Includes background notes and images......

1970 - Expo '70 Photo with the Canadian Pavillion Hosts; band front row from left Louie Yacknin, Skip Prokop, Ralph Cole; back row from left Keith Jollimore,

1970 Promotional Photo © John Rowlands; from left - Pete Pantaluk, Don DiNovo, Keith Jollimore, Ralph Cole, Skip Prokop, Larry Smith, Bob McBride, Howard Shore, Dick Armin, Paul Hoffert, Louie Yacknin.

Carnegie Hall Programme 1969

Good Day was from 1974 and the follow-up to Can You Feel It, which was my introduction to the band. Speaking of which, avoid the MP3 album Can You Feel It. It has gliches, such as droputs in at least one of the songs ("Same Train"). I didn't bother to listen further, because if it isn't ALL good, there's no point. Good Day, on the other hand, is excellent. No skips, dropouts, etc. It could use a remaster, like all the MP3 Lighthouse albums, but this one sounds better than most. 

Like Can You Feel It, the lead vocals are divided between Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole (ok, Dale Hillary sang "No More Searching" on CYFI, but work with me here). But unlike that album (or any other Lighthouse album) it has considerably less horns and strings. It has just enough to let you know this is still Lighthouse, but some tracks like "Be Here Now", "Good Day", and "Man, Woman, Child" don't have them. Also, for the first time, Skip puts down the drum sticks and plays guitar, along with guitarist Ralph Cole. As a result, this album is more guitar-heavy than other Lighthouse albums. The drummer on Good Day is Billy King, who does an excellent job. But it remains the only Lighthouse album with someone else at the drums. 

After Good Day, Lighthouse didn't release another album for 22 years. In 1996, there was the reunion album Song Of The Ages, but it sounds very different from the 1969-74 period. That's the only studio album of theirs I haven't bothered to get. Reunion albums rarely work and that one is no exception. So as far as I'm concerned, Lighthouse stopped after Good Day. 

Expo '70 Japan - Front Row Bob McBride, Louie Yacknin, Skip Prokop, Ralph Cole. Back Row Keith Jollimore, Howard Shore, Bruce Cassidy, Pete Pantaluk, Howard Shore, Larry Smith, Don DiNovo, Paul Armin, Dick Armin

Fillmore East 1969

A year later, in 1974, Lighthouse returned with their eighth studio album Good Day in 1974. By then, the lineup had changed. Skip Prokop had switched to guitar on a permanent basis, and Billy King was drafted in as the new drummer. Still, though, Skip Prokop and Ralph Cole shared lead vocal duties in an attempt to ensure there was a degree of continuity. 

This was important for Lighthouse, given their previous album Can You Feel hadn’t replicated the success of previous albums. That had even been the case in their native Canada, where Lighthouse were a hugely popular band. They needed Good Day to be a big success 

When Good Day was released as a single in 1974, it stalled at a lowly sixty-eight in Canada. Things didn’t improve when the album Good Day was released. It failed to match the sales of previous albums it featured the song Wide-Eyed Lady, which quickly would become a favourite when Lighthouse played live.

from left Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop, manager Vinnie Fuscoe at Expo '70 Japan

On bus at Expo '70; front row seated from left Paul Armin, Don DiNovo, Bruce Cassidy, Larry Smith; back row from left Ralph Cole, Keith Jollimore, Dick Armin, Bob McBride,

Performing at Expo '70 Japan

Press Conference Expo '70 japan; from left Paul Hoffert, manager Vinnie Fuscoe, Skip Prokop

As a young boy, Skip Prokop served in RCSCC LION Sea Cadets Corps in Hamilton, Ontario. At the age of fourteen he became Leading Seaman/1st Class as well as Lead Drummer and Instructor in the Corps. Prokop was also one of two cadets chosen nation-wide to serve in the Royal Canadian Naval Band. His leadership qualities won him an offer of scholarship to the Royal British Naval Academy which he turned down to pursue his love of music. He moved to Preston, Ontario (now Cambridge) and played in the Preston Scout House Drum Corps.

One year later, he was accepted by the Toronto Optimist Drum Corps – the world famous Canadian National Champions. Prokop was encouraged to pursue a career in music and perfected his skill as a drummer. He won the prestigious ‘Canadian National Individual Rudimental Drumming Championship’ at the age of seventeen and later that year, placed in the top three (losing within tenths of a point below 1st and 2nd place) for the same title in the United States. A scholarship from prestigious Westpoint Military Academy was offered to him as the first Canadian to be sponsored by a U.S. Senator but turned it down.

While in Toronto, Ontario he graduated from Lakeshore Business College and took a position with the Metropolitan Toronto Police force in the Identification Bureau. Prokop was offered a position with the United States Air Force Blue Angels Presidential Drum Corps at the age of nineteen. At the same time he was perfecting his guitar and piano skills and had started to write his first musical compositions.

He then left the Drum Corps to establish his first rock group called The Paupers who, in very short time, became Yorkville Village’s media darlings and fan favourites. They became the first Canadian group to sign a major US record deal through Verve/MGM. After successfully touring internationally for 4 years on the back of two critically acclaimed studio albums – “Magic People” and “Ellis Island”, the group broke up.

Under the continued managerial eye of Paupers’ manager Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin), Prokop stayed in the US and became one of the most sought after live and studio musicians. He would work with Peter Paul & Mary, Alvin Bishop, Carlos Santana, Steve Miller, Mama Cass Elliot, Richie Havens as well as Al Kooper & Michael Bloomfield. In the summer of 1968 Grossman handed him the unenviable task of putting a band together for Janis Joplin post-Big Brother & The Holding Company (which found him face-to-face with the Hell’s Angels ‘welcoming committee’). But Joplin’s independent spirit found her drifting back to old habits and band-mates and Prokop found himself at loggerheads with attempting to assemble a professional act around an unpredictable circle of hangers on and undisciplined artistes.

Prokop decided to return to Toronto and assemble his dream band – one that would take the Blood, Sweat & Tears idea of a horn-based jazz rock combo and turn it into a full-fledged fusion orchestra with the additional of strings. Prokop had been kicking the idea around as far back as his days with the Paupers – discussing it occasionally with fellow Torontonian and Broadway keyboardist and arranger Paul Hoffert when they’d hang out in New York’s Greenwich Village.

He called Hoffert immediately when he arrived back in Toronto and set about building the musical dream machine. Prokop then called up American guitarist Ralph Cole who had been in a band called The Tyme – an act that opened many shows for The Paupers during their tours stateside in 1967 and 1968 - to let him know that there was an opening in his new group. Cole packed his bags and caught the first flight to Toronto. Prokop then canvassed his old Yorkville stomping grounds looking for additional players. Popular group A Stitch In Tyme were in their deathrows and Prokop snagged guitarist Pinky Dauvin and bassist Grant Fullerton to help round out the core of the group’s rock base.

Still, the focal point was going to be horns and strings so Prokop called around to find the cream of the crop in Toronto’s brass and string instrument players from CBC radio’s session men, producer Doug Riley’s Dr. Music’s session men and anyone else not already attached to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. After interviewing and auditioning dozens of potential players – and finding people that could grasp the idea of a rock orchestra (this was pre-Electric Light Orchestra days) – the first team to sign on were Ian Guenther (strings), Leslie Snider (strings), Don Whitton (strings), Freddy Stone (horns), Arnie Chycoski (horns), Howard Shore (saxophone, flute), Don Dinovo (violin), and Russ Little (trombone).

The 13-piece ensemble crammed into a small garage on Paul Hoffert’s property near the Lawrence & Bathurst area of Toronto where they soon discovered that the strings were all but drowned out by the rhythm section. They immediately set up finding someone that could build new violins and cellos with built-in pickups and solid bodies so that the instruments could be amplified. This was new territory and even amplification as going to be an issue for a 13-piece act on stage.

They would need money to build the instruments and a powerful enough P.A. system to give the band a fighting chance live. A rough demo was cut and immediately shopped to the major labels. RCA Records – an affiliated satellite office of the New York corporation – was very interested in a rock-based outfit as their bread-and-butter of country artists Wilf Carter, Hank Snow and the career sliding Elvis Presley were no longer the voice of the current generation.

RCA forwarded the band a substantial amount of money to allow the players to leave their day jobs, focus on rehearsing and writing and to build the production resources they needed to make the band a going concern. The band, now called LIGHTHOUSE, was to play their first show as the opening act for Mike Bloomfiel’s Super Session tour. But at the last minute Bloomfield canceled his appearance and Lighhouse were made the headliners. They debuted at the Rockpile in Toronto on May 14, 1969 with a generous introduction from the legendary Duke Ellington himself.

Their debut album, ‘Lighthouse’, soon followed and RCA decided to introduce the band to the American market with a debut show in New York City at Carnegie Hall - an auspicious debut to say the least which paid off in favourable reviews from the US media. Still, the band’s material was not conducive to AM radio play as the songs were all more than 5 minutes or longer in length. As luck would have it, FM radio was in its infancy and Lighthouse soon became favourites for DJs especially in Canada.

The ‘Suite Feeling’ LP followed later in 1969 which gave the band one brief AM charting single called “If There Was a Time” that peaked on the CHUM Chart at No.24 in November 1969. The band played the Atlantic City Jazz Festival and after a technical glitch with the PA system the band had an impromptu conversation with many of the 20,000 people in attendance who were anxious to hear this new band from Canada. They also discussed politics and when the show continued the band won over the mostly American audience – and the press declared Lighthouse “The Peace Band”.

The band took the term to heart and named their next release ‘Peacing It All Together’which allowed them to continue touring and building a larger audience. Still, commercial radio success eluded them – with “The Chant”, “Feels So Good” and “Just a Little More Time” all failing to make significant headway in the dominant AM market. RCA would release the band from its deal in 1971.

Realizing that their future success relied on having hits, Skip Prokop and the group made a concerted effort to reduce the lengths of the songs and become more pop oriented. The band decided to bring in a proper frontman (vocal duties had been shared up to that point by the rhythm section) and brought Bob McBride on board as lead singer. At Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan, Lighthouse represented the Ontario Government as Musical Ambassadors, resulting in awards from Ontario Premiere William Davis, The Ontario Government and the Government of Japan from the Emperor of Japan.

With star producer Jimmy Iennner (The Chamber Brothers, The Raspberries), they recorded six albums for GRT and finally hit pay dirt with had a string of hits including “Hats Off (To the Stranger)” (peaking at No. 27 on CHUM in May 1971), “One Fine Morning” (peaking at No.13 on CHUM in October 1971 and No.24 on Billboard’s Top40), and “Sunny Days” (peaking at No.10 on CHUM in, ironically, December 1972 and No.34 on Billboard’s Top40 in late November).

Eventually all nine of their albums went gold in Canada (50,000 copies) with ‘Lighthouse Live!’ selling platinum (100,000 copies). Appearances at the Monterey, Newport and Boston Globe jazz festivals, the Atlantic City Pop Festival, the Isle of Wight Festival in England and Carnegie Hall (the last of which being released as a live album) solidified their stature worldwide.

They won a JUNO Awards in 1971 for ‘Outstanding Group Performance’, for ‘Vocal Instrumental Group’ in 1972, and for ‘Group of the Year’ in 1973. That year both Paul Hoffert and Bob McBride left the band. Despite the upheaval, Prokop sang lead and they managed another hit with the song “Pretty Lady” which peaked in the Canadian Top10 on December 22, 1973. Prokop departed in 1974 to become a producer and pursue a solo career. Lighthouse carried on with Doug Billard (Pepper Tree) as lead vocalist until the band finally split up in 1976.

In 1982 the original members of Lighthouse did four shows at Ontario Place in Toronto. Prokop would reunite Lighthouse in 1990 for the Variety Club Telethon featuring himself and fellow founding members Paul Hoffert, and Ralph Cole. In 1993 they played a concert at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square with new singer Dan Clancy as lead singer and Donald ‘Quan’ Paulton as second keyboardist. With a refreshed and revitalized Lighthouse line-up working steadily as an oldies act – defiantly ignoring the new Grunge fad - 1996 saw the release of a new studio album called ‘Song of the Ages’.

In 2010 the existing version of Lighthouse re-recorded the 16 most requested songs and filmed the proceedings with eight cameras for a DVD that included a 5.1 Surround Sound mix. The stereo CD and DVD combo was released as ’40 Years of Sunny Days’. Lighthouse still manages a dozen shows a year as a nine-piece act around Southern Ontario and frequently overseas to audiences who remember the band from its heyday.

On February 20, 1998 Bob McBride died of complications from his years-long battle with substance abuse; Howard Shore would go on to compose movie soundtracks, initially for David Cronenberg films including ‘The Fly’ and ‘Dead Ringers’ but then left for Hollywood to compose for blockbusters such as ‘Big’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ and Peter Jackon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy which Shore won an Academy Award for. He also composed the music for Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ films starting with the first film in 2012; when not doing Lighthouse gigs Dan Clancy is a coach for The League of Rock; Pink Dauvin passed away at the age of 67 on April 21, 2013.

In 1977 Skip Prokop took the plunge and released a solo album, ‘All Growed Up’, featuring the single “Gotta Hear You Say It Too”. In the 1980s he hosted his own Christian Contemporary Rock program on CFNY-FM. Prokop would organize and promote the 1987 'Greenfest Christian Music Rock Festival'. In 1988 and 1989 he was the President and owner of PROMOTUR Inc. - a full service communications and commercial production organization. The band has remained together ever since and continues perform regularly around Canada. Also in 1990 Prokop was employed as Promotions Manager/Sales Representative at CHLO Radio in St. Thomas, Ontario. In May of 1992 he joined BX93 and CJBK as a Regional Account Representative. In 2005 he formed a brand new smooth jazz group and began recording and co-producing a CD tentatively titled ‘In the Center Of…’ with Georgie Fab at his A Cellar Full of Noise studio. Due to budget constraints the album was never mixed properly but is expected to see light of day as ‘The Valecrest Sessions’ one day soon. Also in 2005 Prokop and his son Jamie formed a brand new Christian Rock “ministry” band called Mercy Train. They were given free session time totaling $15,000 to complete their first EP. They believed the CD should never be sold as a retail product but given away for free to anyone who might find encouragement in their words and music. Unfortunately Mercy Train disbanded in late 2010 in the middle of their first full length recording, however, two singles were released to Canadian radio stations despite the breakup. Prokop's second smooth jazz release, 'Smoothside', was recorded between 2010 and 2012 and was mixed and co-produced by Jamie Prokop. Skip is currently working on a biography of his life with co-writer and Canadian musicologist Jaimie Vernon.
with notes from Skip Prokop, Paul & Brenda Hoffert

Press Conference Expo '70; foreground Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop; seated front row from left unknown, Don DiNovo, Bob McBride, Dick Armin, Howard Shore;

Promo photo © 1972 John Rowlands


1969 If There Ever Was A Time/Eight Miles High (RCA) 74-0224
1970 The Chant/Could You Be Concerned (RCA) 47-9808
1970 Feels So Good/Places on Faces Four Blue Traces (RCA) 74-0285
1971 Hats Off (To The Stranger)/Sing Sing Sing (GRT) 1230-04
1971 One Fine Morning/Little Kind Words (GRT) 1230-10
1971 Take It Slow (Out In the Country)/Sweet Lullabye (GRT) 1230-19
1972 1849/I Just Wanna Be Your Friend (GRT) 1230-25
1972 Sunny Days/Lonely Places (GRT) 1230-39
1973 You Girl/Merlin (GRT) 1230-46
1973 Broken Guitar Blues/Merlin (GRT) 1230-52
1973 Can You Feel It/Love Is The Answer (GRT) 1230-61
1973 Pretty Lady/Bright Side (GRT) 1230-63
1974 Good Day/Going Downtown (GRT) 1230-74
1974 Eight Miles High/Got A Feeling (GRT) 1230-90
1978 One Fine Morning/Sunny Days [re-issue] (GRT) 1230-152 

1969 Lighthouse (RCA/Victor) LSP-4173
1969 Plays for Peace [aka Peacing It All Together] (RCA/Victor) LSP-4241
1969 Suite Feeling (RCA/Victor) LSP-4325 
1970 One Fine Morning (GRT) 9230-1002
1971 Thoughts Of Movin' On (GRT) 9230-1010
1971 One Fine Light (RCA - US)
1972 Lighthouse Live! (GRT) 9230-1018
1972 Sunny Days (GRT) 9230-1021
1973 Can You Feel It? (GRT) 9230-1039
1974 Good Day (GRT) 9230-1046
1974 The Best Of Lighthouse (GRT) 9230-1052
1978 K-Tel presents Lighthouse - 20 Great Hits (K-Tel) NC-440 
1989 The Best Of Lighthouse - Sunny Days Again (Denon)
1991 Lighthouse Live! [re-issue] (Denon)
1994 Festival 1994 [5 song EP](Hoffert) RDR-CD-937
1996 Song Of The Ages (Breaking Records/Denon)
1998 The Best of Lighthouse (True North/Universal) [remastered] 
2010 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Lighthouse [Remastered] (Universal) 0075327017
2010 40 Years of Sunny Days [CD + DVD] (Universal) 7697428599 

Compilation Tracks
1974 "Can You Feel It" on 'Music Power' (K-Tel) TC-214 
1975 "One Fine Morning" on 'Canada Gold - 22 Karat Hits' (K-Tel) TC-225 

Promo photo © 1972 John Rowlands; Maple Music Junket -

1969 'Lighthouse' LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Paul Hoffert (keyboards) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Pinky Dauvin (lead vocals) / Grant Fullerton (bass) / Ian Guenther (strings) / Leslie Snider (strings) / Don Whitton (strings) / Freddy Stone (horns) / Arnie Chycoski (horns) / Howard Shore (saxophone, flute) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Russ Little (trombone); 

1969 'Suite Feeling' LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Paul Hoffert (keyboards) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Pinky Dauvin (lead vocals) / Grant Fullerton (bass) / Leslie Snider (strings) / Paul Armin (strings) / Dick Armin (cello) / Myron Moskalyk (strings) / Paul Adamson (horns) / Bruce Cassidy (horns) / Howard Shore (saxophone, flute) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Russ Little (trombone) 

1969/1970 'Peacing It All Together' LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Paul Hoffert (keyboards) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Pinky Dauvin (lead vocals) / Grant Fullerton (bass) / Leslie Snider (strings) / Paul Armin (strings) / Dick Armin (cello) / Arnie Chycoski (horns) / Bruce Cassidy (horns) / Howard Shore (saxophone, flute) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Russ Little (trombone) 

1970-1972 LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Paul Hoffert (keyboards) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Bob McBride (lead vocals) / Dick Armin (cello) / Keith Jollimore (saxophone, flute) / Howard Shore (saxophone, flute) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Louie Yacknin (bass) / Larry Smith (trombone, keyboards) / Pete Pantaluk (trumpet; added 1970) / Mike Malone (horns; replaced Pantaluk 1971) / John Naslan (horns; added 1972) / Alan Wilmot (bass; added 1972) 

1973 "Can You Feel It" LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Dale Hillary (horns) / Dick Armin (cello) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Alan Wilmot (bass) / Larry Smith (trombone, keyboards) / John Naslan (horns) / Rick Stepton (horns)  

1974 "Good Day" LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Dale Hillary (horns) / Dick Armin (cello) / Don Dinovo (violin) / Billy King (drums, percussion) / Sam See (keyboards) / Terry Wilkins (bass) / Rick Stepton (horns)  

1978-1980 LINE-UP: Ralph Cole (guitar) / Dale Hillary (horns) / Tom Wells (drums) / Allan Staniforth (lead vocals) / Taras Chornywal (violin) / Rod Philips (keyboards) / Robert St. Clair Wilson (bass) / Gord Russell (bass; replaced Wilson 1979) 

1990's LINE-UP: Skip Prokop (drums) / Paul Hoffert (keyboards) / Ralph Cole (guitar) / Doug Moore (bass) / Don "Quan" Paulton (keyboards) / Dan Clancy (lead vocals) / Russ Little (trombone) / Steve Kennedy (tenor saxophone) / Simon Wallis (baritone saxophone) / Rick Waychesko (trumpet) 

Honorary Live members: Doug Billard (lead vocals) / Billy Ledster (lead vocals) / Don Englert (horns) / Joe Ambrosia (horns) / John Capon (horns) / Dave Tanner (horns) / Sam Alongi (horns) / Howie Wiseman (strings) / John Ogilvie (strings) / Dennis Pendrith (bass) / Phil DeMille (keyboards) / Trevor Veitch (guitar) / Fred Mandel (guitar) 

Promo Photo 1972 John Rowlands; seated front from left Larry Smith, Skip Prokop, Dick Armin, Paul Hoffert, Ralph Cole; standing rear from left Don diNovo, John Naslen, Bob McBride, Howard Shore

Line-up / Musicians

- Dick Armin Cello
- Ralph Cole Guitar, Vocals
- Don Dinovo Viola
- Dale Hillary Saxophone, Vocals
- Bill King Drums
- Skip Prokop Guitar, Drums, Vocals
- Sam See Keyboards
- Larry Smith Trombone, Vocals
- Rick Stepton Trombone
- Terry Wilkins Bass, Vocals

RCA Promo Photo 1969 - from left - Russ Little, Arnie Chycoski, Don Whitton, Paul Hoffert, Leslie Schneider, Pinky Dauvin, Grant Fullerton, Howard Shore, Freddy Stone, Ian Guenther, Don DiNovo, Ralph Cole, Skip Prokop

01. White Buffalo /Prokop/ (5:35) 
02. Wide-Eyed Lady /Prokop-DiNovo-McBride/ 
03. Got a Feeling /Cole/ (3:47) 
04. Be Here Now /See-Reid/ (3:26) 
05. Good Day /Cole/ (4:43) 
06. Man, Woman, Child /Prokop/ (3:14) 
07. Mighty Waters /Cole/ (5:05) 
08. Going Downtown /Prokop/ (6:52) 
09. Reincarnate Nation /Prokop/ (7:04)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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