Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Edward Bear “Bearings” 1969 Canada Psych Blues Rock


Edward Bear “Bearings” 1969 Canada  Psych Blues Rock
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Formed in 1967 around Larry Evoy (drums, vocals), Danny Marks (guitar) and Paul Weldon (organ), Edward Bear were signed to Capitol. “You, Me & Mexico,” from their debut album Bearings, hit the Canadian Top Ten in 1970. After their sophomore LP Eclipse, Edward Bear’s 1972 single “Last Song” was another hit in the U.S. as well as Canada and sold over one million copies. Marks and Weldon left around this time; they were replaced by Roger Ellis and Bob Kendall, neither of whom stayed more than two years…..~


Edward Bear had been knocking about the Toronto circuit since 1966, where they were the house band for a spell at the Night Owl coffee house in Yorkville. By 1969, the band’s reputation for pounding, heavily amped blues rock had even scored them a slot opening for Led Zeppelin at their O'Keefe Centre show that November. 

But the group responsible for one of the seventies’ most saccharine songs, the interminably sappy (though secretly pleasurable) ‘Last Song’, might have ended up as nothing more than sixties flotsam had it not been for a serendipitous appearance on a local TV program. “We were only discovered and got a music contract with Capitol,” explains singer/drummer Larry Evoy, “because (producer) Paul White accidentally saw us on a CBC television show…right place, right time, I guess.” 
Capitol Canada at the time was starting to distance itself from its staid parent south of the border, having also signed Ottawa’s Five Man Electrical Band and Vancouver’s far freakier Mother Tucker’s Yellow Duck. “Capitol is very cautious,” Evoy would tell the Georgia Strait the following year. “You’ll notice that even in the US, Capitol doesn’t have many rock bands.” But luckily for Edward Bear - who at the time consisted of Evoy, guitarist Danny Marks and keyboardist Paul Weldon - Capitol did allow the group to flex their muscle a bit in the studio. 
Their first record for the label, Bearings, bore little resemblance to the teen-angst AM fare they would soon become famous for. Rather, it contained plenty of au courant heavy rock, especially on side two, which featured some furious organ and guitar workouts ('Toe Jam’, 'Mind Police’), late-sixties popsike (the catchy 'Sinking Ship’) and more straight-up blues (their solid cover of Memphis Slim’s 'Everyday I Have The Blues’). 
But for all the leaden licks on Bearings, it was the whimsical warmth of 'You, Me and Mexico’ that managed to gain some traction on the charts, climbing as high as #3 nationally. That record may have brought in the bucks, but it would also steer them down that dreaded road of adult-contemporary radio. In hindsight, it most definitely led them to chart three more top-ten records in as many years, including a #1 slot for 'Last Song’. For Marks, though, whose true love was playing the blues, it was a red line crossed, and the talented guitarist would leave Edward Bear for good soon after the release of Bearings…..by….Michael Panontin…..~


This import cd is long overdue but well worth the wait. While not as well known as that other Canadian band “The Guess Who” this group was more ethereal in their writing approach during the psychedelic era of the late 60’s that tended more toward indulgent as well as ponderous instrumental solos. “You, Me and Mexico” is probably the best known song from this LP but “Cinder Dream” and “Woodwind Song” are every bit as engaging and haunting. “Hideaway” was first performed by Freddy King (1960) and later taken to a more technical level by Eric Clapton on The Bluesbreakers recording(1966) but Bears guitarist Danny Marks just absolutely swings on this tune and takes it to another level. It is still my favorite rendering after all these years.BTW- a rather guttural segue of Teutonic humor is inserted between the A and B sides which was not on the album. Side B is also as entertaining but is more along mainstream tastes of the time. I’m glad the decision was made to finally reissue this in cd format 44 years after it was originally released. This album is truly deserving of much wider acclaim because it is a classic!…by…. Lawrence P Gusman……~


Larry Evoy and Paul Weldon began jamming together in basements and garages amidst the Toronto musical revolution of the '60’s. They were assaulted with a variety of influences, from psychadelia to folk to blues-based styles, and went through several incarnations of various groups. In '66, with band members Craig Hemming on bass and drummer Dave Brown, they placed an ad for a guitarist, settling on Danny Marks. With Evoy handling vocal duties and Weldon on organ, they went through a variety of band names, as well as people behind the drum kit and bass guitar. 

A year later they’d settled on their name (the actual name of the bear in a Winnipeg zoo that inspired 'Winnie The Pooh’)and with Evoy taking on the drums. They were regulars of the Yorkville coffee house circuit and had also appeared at The Rock Pile, a major club gig at the time with the likes of Paul Butterfield and Led Zeppelin. 

They were signed to Capitol Records in '69 - which was uncharacteristic for the label as they were known to take on artists in the likes of Glen Campbell, Bobby Gentry and Wayne Newton. But the gamble paid off when BEARINGS was released the following spring. Considered by many to be one of Canadian rock’s best 'first albums’, it was a mix of the blues and modern/pop influences. The first single, “You Me and Mexico” reached #3 on the Canadian charts and was certified gold. 

Despite only a nominal marketing push, the xylophone and horns beat set to a pop tune also had a respectable showing of #68 Stateside. The album eventually struck gold, selling 50,000 copies in Canada, due in part to the versatility the banned exhibited, such as “The Woodwind Song” and Marks’ suggestions of including the remakes of the blues classics - Memphis Slim’s “Everyday I Have The Blues” and Freddie King’s “Hideaway”. ….Canadian-bands….~


Credits 
Acoustic Guitar – Danny Marks (3) 
Chimes – Larry Evoy 
Drum [Tympani] – Larry Evoy 
Drums – Larry Evoy 
Harpsichord – Paul Weldon 
Lead Guitar – Danny Marks (3) 
Organ – Paul Weldon 
Organ [Bass] – Paul Weldon 
Piano – Paul Weldon 
Rhythm Guitar – Danny Marks (3) 
Vocals – Danny Marks (3), Larry Evoy, Paul Weldon





Tracklist 
A1 Guitar Intro 0:35 
A2 You, Me And Mexico 2:46 
A3 Fool 2:47 
A4 Cinder Dream 5:01 
A5 Woodwind Song 3:55 
A6 Hideaway 4:01 
B1 Mind Police 4:05 
B2 Toe Jam 5:39 
B3 Sinking Ship 3:35 
B4 Everyday I Have The Blues 6:30 
B5 Guitar Coda 0:35 


Discography: 

Singles 
1970 You, Me & Mexico/Sinking Ship (Capitol) 72603 
1970 You Can’t Deny It/Toe Jam (Capitol) 72622 
1971 Spirit Song (short version)/Spirit Song (long version) (Capitol) 72638 
1972 Fly Across The Sea/Four Months Out Of Africa (Capitol) 72653 
1972 Masquerade/Pirate King (Capitol) 72662 
1972 Last Song/Best Friend (Capitol) 72677 
1973 Close Your Eyes/Cache County (Capitol) 72692 
1973 Walking On Back/I Love Her (Capitol) 72709 
1973 Coming Home Christmas/Does Your Mother Know (Capitol) 72715 
1974 Same Old Feeling/Fool (Capitol- US) 72722 
1974 Freedom For The Stallion/Why Won’t You Marry Me? (Capitol) 72734 
1975 On And On/Someone Who Loves You (Capitol) 72756 
1985 Feels Right/[same] (Ursa Major) URS-101 
1985 Slip Away/[same] (Ursa Major) URS-102 

Albums 
1969 Bearings (Capitol) SKAO-6328 
1970 Eclipse (Capitol) SKAO-6349 
1972 Edward Bear (Capitol) ST-6387 
1973 Close Your Eyes (Capitol) SKAO-6395 
1984 The Best Of The Bear (1969-1984) (Capitol) SN-66154 
1991 Collection (EMI Music Canada) C2-26585 



watch….
Edward Bear “Eclipse” 1970 Canada Prog Psych 

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