Proudly Canadian

Proudly Canadian: Bill (Barbra) Amesbury

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Barbra (Bill) Amesbury (born 1948 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario) is a Canadian philanthropist, singer-songwriter, composerand filmmaker, who had several Top 40 hits in Canada in the 1970s as Bill Amesbury before coming out as a transsexual and pursuing sex reassignment surgery.

Amesbury's biggest hit was "Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)", which was also the first single (1974) ever released on the Casablanca Records label. "Can You Feel It" was also a minor hit in 1976. Amesbury's "Nothin' But a Fool" has been covered by Natalie Cole, and "A Thrill's a Thrill" has been covered by Long John Baldry and by Mitch Ryder with Marianne Faithfull and John Cougar.

In 1976 and 1977, Amesbury produced "No Charge" by J.J. Barrie, which became a number one hit in England.

Proudly Canadian: The Bop Cats

The Bopcats 1980's

Sonny Baker (vocals)

Teddy Fury (drums, vocals)

Jim McTaggart (guitar)

Pat Flynn (bass)

Jack de Keyzer (guitar, vocals; replaced McTaggert 1980)

Zeke Rivers (bass, vocals; replaced Flynn 1980)

Toronto's original rockabilly outfit, formed by Baker, Fury and McTaggart in 1979, were the creators of the Toronto country-billy hybrid scene that became popular in the early '80's with bands like The Razorbacks. The Bopcats' rockabilly sound in Canada predated the Stray Cats signature style by six months.

The Bopcats' debut  was a self-titled EP on Showtime Records produced by Rough Trade/Flying Circus bassist Terry Wilkins (and engineered by Doug McClement) which contained a radio single called "Ride A Rocket" reached No.2 in England.The EP was followed shortly by a 7" single featuring an original tune called "Caroline" backed with a cover version of the Bing Day song called "I Can't Help It".

The EP, the single and word-of-mouth about their kinetic live shows helped them secure a deal with Attic Records in 1980. Just prior to signing the deal, Jack de Keyzer joined the band on guitar and vocals. Soon after, Zeke Rivers left the Toronto New Wave band Willie English to join the Bopcats as their bassist. 

Proudly Canadian: Doug and the Slugs

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Unquestionably, Doug and the Slugs are one of the most distinctive and entertaining Canadian bands of the last 30 years. Their upbeat musical style, musicianship and offbeat stage antics have made them a staple of the Canadian music scene for decades. Formed in Vancouver in the fall of 1977, the band originally consisted of Doug Bennett, John Burton (guitar), Drew Neville (keyboards), Dennis Henderson (bass) and Lawrence McGillveray (drums).

They began by promoting their own shows and soon developed an avid underground following with their infamous ‘theme nights’, where the audience was invited to show up in costume, as secret agents or Carmen Miranda/Ricky Ricardos and watch the band do the same. After a year, their notoriety was great enough that local clubs started to take a chance on them.

In the fall of 1978 there were significant personnel changes within the band. Doug and John remained - they were joined by Simon Kendall, Richard Baker, Steve Bosley and John ‘Wally Watson’. Within a few months the Slugs were the hottest attraction in the Vancouver area. They were playing Monday through Saturday at the most popular live music venues in the city that were lined up.

Proudly Canadian: Cowboy Junkies

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Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian alternative country/blues/folk rock band. The group was formed in Toronto in 1985 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Alan Anton (bassist).

The Junkies first performed publicly at the Beverley Tavern and other clubs in Toronto's Queen Street West, includingThe Rivoli. Their 1986 debut album, produced by Canadian producer Peter Moore, was the blues-inspired Whites Off Earth Now!!, recorded using an ambisonic microphone in the family garage.

The group's fame spread with their second album, The Trinity Session, recorded in 1987 at Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity. Their sound, again using the ambisonic microphone, and their mix of blues, country, folk, rock and jazz earned them both critical attention and a cult following. The Los Angeles Times named the recording as one of the ten best albums of 1988.

The band was nominated for Group of the Year at the Juno Awards in 1990 and 1991. In the early 1990s Margo Timmins was named "one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world" by People Magazine.The group has continued to tour North America, Europe, Japan and Australia with extensive North American and European tours following album releases in 2002 and 2004.  In 2008, they released Trinity Revisited in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original recording of The Trinity Session.

Proudly Canadian Crash Test Dummies

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

The Crash Test Dummies are a Canadian folk rock/alternative rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, widely known for their 1993 single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". There is no mistaking the lead vocalist’s voice.

The band is most identifiable through Brad Roberts (vocals, guitar) and his distinctive bass-baritone voice. During its heyday, the band consisted of Roberts, Ellen Reid (co-vocals, keyboards), Brad's brother Dan Roberts (bass guitar, backing vocals), Benjamin Darvill (harmonica, mandolin), and Mitch Dorge (drums, percussion). Today, only Brad Roberts and Ellen Reid have appeared on every album with the other members being busy pursuing their own projects. However, the full band (minus Ben Darvill) reunited for a show in October 2010. Brad Roberts, Ellen Reidand Stuart Cameron have continued to tour throughout 2010/2011.

Proudly Canadian Bruce Cockburn

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Bruce Cockburn has always been a restless spirit. Over the course of four decades, the celebrated Canadian artist has traveled to the corners of the earth out of humanitarian concerns—often to trouble spots experiencing events that have led to some of his most memorable songs. Going up against chaos, even if it involves grave risks, can be necessary to get closer to the truth.

Proudly Canadian The Gary Kendall Band

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

It all started in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the northern end of Highway 61. Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan show in 1956 and Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Sunnyland Slim on the CBC documentary “The Blues” in 1962.  Scanning the dial of an old radio, late at night in a basement bedroom, looking for exotic music from the south.  This is how Gary Kendall's journey into the world of the Blues began.

When other teenage boys his age went to weekend dances to meet girls, he stood off to the side watching the musicians on the bandstand.  At age sixteen, six months after acquiring his first pawn shop electric guitar; he jumped at the chance to join a band called The Countdowns and play bass.  None of the other young musicians wanted the bass players job, Gary just wanted to be in a band.  After making $20 at a Saturday night dance playing rock n roll, his future occupation was secured.  When the mid-sixties brought the British Invasion, it was The Rolling Stones that caught his ear and their music encouraged him to dig a little deeper and buy records by artists who were considered to be the first generation of the Blues.  He joined a band called The Shameful Minority with long time friend, guitarist David Smyth. The record collection now included Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Little Walter, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and many more.

Proudly Canadian: Lewis Furey

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Lewis Furey is a Canadian composer,singer, violinist, pianist,actor and director.

Born in Montreal, Quebec to French and American parents, Furey trained as a classical violinist and at age 11 performed as a soloist in the Matinées pour la jeunesse concert series of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

From 1961 to 1965 he studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal. He later studied at the Juilliard School in New York City. In 1972, he began playing and recording his own rock music compositions. In the ensuing years, he produced three albums of pop music: Lewis Furey (1975, A&M), The Humours of Lewis Furey (1976, A&M ) and The Sky is Falling (1979, Aquarius).

Distinguishing features of the albums were Furey's Lou Reed-like vocal stylings, a number of songs with gay content (particularly the local Montréal radio hit Hustler's Tango), and exotic arrangements featuring unusual uses of violin and banjo as well as elements of klezmer music.

Proudly Canadian: Toronto

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Toronto was a Canadian rock band formed in the late 1970s in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, when singer Annie "Holly" Woods met guitarist Brian Allen. The band's constantly shifting line-up was originally augmented by guitarist/backing vocalist Sheron Alton, keyboardist Scott Kreyer, bassist Nick Costello, and drummer Jimmy Fox.

Toronto's first album, Lookin' for Trouble, was released in 1980, and lead single "Even The Score" was a minor hit, just missing the Canadian Top 40. Head On(1981) followed, after which Costello and Fox left the band to be replaced by Gary LaLonde (later of Honeymoon Suite) and Barry Connors (later of Coney Hatch). The band was nominated for a Juno in 1981 for "Most Promising Group of the Year" along with Loverboy, Martha & the Muffins, Red Rider and Powder Blues Band (winner).

This sextet recorded Get It on Credit (1982), with lead single "Your Daddy Don't Know" reaching top 5 in Canada, and hitting No. 77 in the US. It remains their best known hit. "Your Daddy Don't Know" was also nominated for a Juno Award in 1983 for Composer of the Year (the song was written by Geoff Iwamoto and Michael Roth). Lalonde was then replaced by Mike Gingrich for 1983's Girls' Night Out in 1983. This album also received attention, as did the band's Greatest Hits album of 1984. In 1984, Holly Woods was nominated for a Juno for "Female Vocalist of the Year" along with Dalbello, Shari Ulrich and Anne Murray (winner).

Proudly Canadian: Doucette

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Jerry Doucette's family moved to Hamilton, Ontario, when he was four.  Doucette received his first guitar when he was merely six years old. 

Doucette joined numerous bands prior to his solo career, starting with The Reefers, at the age of 11. He migrated to Toronto, Ontario, and played in the final incarnation of Brutus. Doucette moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1972. Doucette worked in bands with Lindsay Mitchell and Rocket Norton, both of whom later joined Prism. He subsequently signed a solo recording deal with Mushroom Records, and commenced recording under his surname only.

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