Fraser and Friends
Story: Don Graham
Allan Fraser (one half of the iconic folk duo Fraser & Debolt of the 70’s) appeared last night at Donald Quan’s Musideum in downtown Toronto. The folk/rock icon was accompanied by a stellar lineup of A Team sidemen, Bob Cohen on guitar, David Woodhead on bass, Joel Axler on piano and special guest, fiddler, Ian Guenther. Guenther was a big part of the Fraser & DeBolt album on Columbia Records. The reunion resulted in an amazing evening of music and memories.
Fraser & DeBolt were the springboard Fraser needed to get his music heard by the masses. After showcasing as an opening act to Tom Paxton at New York’s famed Fillmore East, the duo was signed to the giant label Columbia Records. They recorded their debut album in Toronto with Craig Allen handling the production and fiddle whiz Ian Guenther accompanying them. The album was a critical success getting rave reviews in the New York Times, Maclean’s Magazine and the Los Angeles Free Press among others.
Allan and Daisy, capitalizing on the momentum, created by the first album were soon back in the studio recording the follow up ‘With Pleasure’ album. The pair stayed busy and in 1974 they were chosen to represent North America in The International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland. Fraser & DeBolt broke up not long after that and although they never quite made it as big as predicted, forty years later there is still a buzz about them and the songs. More importantly there is still a buzz about Allan Fraser.
Many artists have recorded his songs, including Tom Russell, the Duhks, Cal Hand with Leo Kotke, Penny Lang and Cassell Webb and John Oates of Hall and Oates fame.
Fraser has continued to perform and on Tuesday evening June 19th , he took to the stage at Musideum in downtown Toronto, backed by the aforementioned group of musicians.
“We’re a group and not a band,” Fraser explained from the stage. “If we were a band we’d need a name, but we are a group,” he joked. Cohen, Woodhead, Axler and Guenther meshed tightly on the original songs that Fraser performed. The audience was there to soak up th Fraser vibe and were respectfully attentive and were thrilled when Fraser opened with his signature song ‘Dance Hall Girls’ The rest of the set was a great blend of Fraser’s eclectic collection of originals, including ‘We Shall Be Delivered.’
Allan Fraser is definitely not your cookie cutter artist and there is no mistaking his original sound and style. If he is performing anywhere near you make sure you get out experiencing this truly original artist and his work, and visiting his Reverbnation site to give a listen. You’ll be glad you did !