A Short History of Recording Studios in Toronto

Cherry Beach

By Bill Delingat

The modern recording studio owes a great deal to that phonograph invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 and its early recordings, made outside of a studio environment. Early recording studios often lacked isolation booths, baffles, and sometimes even speakers. Designed for live recording of an entire band or performance, they attempted to record a group of musicians and singers, rather than to record them separately.

With the introduction of multi-track recording, it became possible to record instruments and singers separately and at different times on different tracks on tape. From then on, the recording process shifted to isolation and soundproofing. In the 1960s, recordings were analog, made using ¼-inch or ½-inch eight-track magnetic tape. By the early 1970s, recordings progressed to using 1-inch or 2-inch 16- or 32-track equipment. Most contemporary recording studios now use digital recording equipment and the number of tracks is limited only by the capacity of the mixing console or computer.

Toronto, the heart beat of the Canadian banking and economy was a natural place for attracting international and national artists to record and relax in a metropolitan atmosphere using state of the art equipment without the street hassles and urban pressures of New York or L.A. Billboard reported glowingly in a 1972 story on Toronto’s emergence as Canada’s recording capital.

TERRY SUMSION: Surviving For Another Encore – “You Gotta Believe”

Cover Sept 17, 2010


(Editor’s Note- Every so often Cashbox Canada takes the time and space to salute an individual whose accomplishments in the music industry stand the test of time. One such is Terry Sumsion, a pioneering Canadian music figure. On this occasion Nashville radio personality and DJ RB Renegade salutes Terry Sumsion. Sandy Graham)

Terry Sumsion is a true Canadian music legend. Period. His music has stood the test of time as the size and response of his audiences proves time and again.

Terry Sumsion is also a survivor and an inspiration. He has faced and continues to win a battle with esophageal cancer, his music being his own inspiration – his desire to continue to connect with his fan base the foundation of his strength.

I have been a Terry Sumsion fan for many years. As a Canadian and a musician I followed Terry’s music and performed his songs on a regular basis. It was only in the past couple of years however that I had the privilege of connecting with Terry as he agreed to be a guest on my Internet radio show. Through that connection a friendship was born. It is a relationship that I cherish and it is with pride and humility that I am privileged to attempt to do justice to the life of Terry Sumsion in this article.

Paris Black Promises Rockier Days Ahead

Cover September 10, 2010

By Bill Delingat

Paris Black was well known in the 80’s as a teen heartthrob and poster boy. Black had instant success with his debut pop dance LP “Secret Seduction”, that went gold with singles like “Better get Ready”, “Lover” and “Buried Alive’. In 1989 Black released his self titled LP “Paris Black” on I.S.B.A. records and started national tours and graced the pages of teen mags across the country.

Along the way the affable Black met many friends on the road including the late Kenny MacLean who not only became a great friend but would also be influential in Black’s musical direction later in his career.

With stardom in sight and a blossoming modeling career, Black abruptly dropped out of the limelight and out of sight. Most fans felt he’d gone to the US for better things and so did we. Years later we find him still rocking the stages but as one of the world’s best tribute artists doing “Billy Idol” and in a more interesting profession of “Live Art Modeling” which is utilized in his live stage show.

Similar to Canadian rocker “Alanis Morissette” who metamorphosed from her debut Dance LP of 1991 simply called “Alanis” to a new alter ego of punk grunge Diva with the 1995 multi platinum release of “Jagged Little Pill”, Black is now on the hard rock edge, breaking out with his latest release, the single “Breathe “from new CD “I’m Not Jesus”. The album boasts an array of killer tunes sure to put Black back on the right track.

Who pays for your award?


How many times have you heard , “IF I REALLY WON AN AWARD I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT ?”

If you really won an award who do you think pays for it? Do you really think the CMA or the ACM or the FLAME WORTHY AWARDS are in the trophy manufacturing business?? Or is it more reasonable to think that the factory that made the awards wants to get paid when they deliver the product!!! Don’t get me wrong you are gonna have one heck of a big task on your hands to find footage of Brooks & Dunn or George Strait or any other mainstream country artist writing out a check for their award , but who paid for it ?

Perhaps today if anything my critics may accuse me of over simplifying this segment but I choose to call it painting a visual so you finally get the way it is… not how you think it is.

You can by a whole box of 500 swizzle sticks (those little plastic straws for stirring your coffee for less than $5.00 at a restaurant supply distributor but you may be charged 25 cents a piece by your label. You think that is outrageous to be charged at all? Think again. Your Record label can and does charge you for anything they want to.

An ad in Billboard magazine promoting your new single usually runs $ 2000-$3000 per issue. Does Billboard magazine like you so much they will run this for you for free?

My dear friends you pay for your award. It comes out of your royalties. And I would dare say if you wanted to investigate how much it cost you are going to realize that what you were charged verses what it cost is dramatically different.

Can’t Hold Back The Hawk-Ronnie Hawkins rocks again

Cover Sept 3, 2010

I got a brand new chimney made on top,

Made out of human skulls.

Now come on darling let's take a little walk, tell me,

Who do you love, who do you love?
Bo Diddley

At the dawning of rock'n'roll in Toronto, seems the answer was always Ronnie Hawkins, a burly Arkansas roadhouse rocker who burst on the scene like a megaton cherry bomb and left a crater that occasionally still burns white hot. He’s been awarded, lauded, Hall Of Famed and credited with a game changing legacy which still resonates on the Canadian music scene.

With a career that’s been going for better than 50 years, it’s understandable we don’t get to see The Hawk soar that often.

Those of us in the GTA and anybody within driving range are in luck big time, as The Hawk takes wing Friday Sept.10 at Port Credit’s Blues & Jazz Festival.

Ronnie Hawkins has never been one to preach only to the converted so I know he’d understand when this story took a turn. It was meant to be a celebration of this most major dude, let folks know why they should make the trip to Port Credit to catch this rare Hawk sighting. But I kept bumping up against people born way on the wrong side of The Hawk’s glory days, facing off against blank stares. So what would The Hawk do? Why he’d take two steps back, then come forward with a major barrage of music and rock’n’roll moves that'd leave no doubt as to who they should love.

Michael Pickett’s Taking The Blues To The Country-The story of Amazing Coffee, the hip little coffee house that says, Yes I can.

john and_michelle   The Laws...

Madoc, ON. There was a time in this fair land/So the old musicians say/Where every fifty miles or so/There was a really cool place to play. (With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot) Nestled on Highway 62, on the edge of the picturesque village of Madoc, Ontario lies the Amazing Coffee shop. Inside, owner Tony Long and his hip and dedicated staff offer 23 varieties of coffee from the most exotic highlands of the planet, places like Madagascar and Fiji in vivid flavours and strengths. As the only certified Specialty Coffee outlet for miles around, business is good. The light lunch card is long on healthful and tasty wraps, sandwiches and salads, all locally sourced and prepared to the highest of standards. A casual look around however reveals this is a kickass coffee shop and then some, First tip-off is the stack of roots and folk music CDs from Canadian artists offered for sale. On the wall to the right of the counter is a calendar of live events, hosted within the brightly painted walls of the Amazing Coffee. Who knew? And when the last name on the list is multi-Maple Blues Award winner Michael Pickett, well, now we have to find out just how amazing this place is and how it got that way. Pickett, who played his first gig at Amazing Coffee last Spring, says it’s all about the vision of one man, venue owner Tony Long. “It’s truly a little gem and when I look at it, you realise it only came about because one man. Tony wanted to have a live music venue so he started one. So refreshing these days when all you hear are the negatives about opening a live venue.

Shake it off


Elvis Presley failed his Grand Ole Opry audition miserably. He literally shook it off and went on to be the world's best known entertainer. If he had taken it personally, he would not have had the will to move forward and turn the page. Carl Perkins was told he would never make it in the business because he wasn't pretty enough. There are countless more examples but our space here is limited. Don't take criticism, hateful comments, or betrayal from your associates, personally. It is the kiss of death to do that. The entertainment business is perhaps the toughest occupation to survive in. Only those individuals with skin as tough and thick as a rhinoceros will survive. Remember that when you start to succeed there are going to be all your competitors that will try to put you down. It is a form of human behavior that is very difficult to deal with. Their idea is to push you down in order to lift them self up. It is often nick named the sea saw effect. Shake it off and move on. Don't take any comments or circumstances affect you personally. It will be a big detriment to your business. It is already tough enough. You don't need to sabotage it with negative energy.

The Music Business, YA GOTTA LUV IT.

The Compact Disk is no longer compact enough


Radio stations loved them because they took up far less space than 12” long playing albums. The consumer was thrilled that there was no longer the horrible fast forward or rewind steps needed to hear your favorite song by way of cassette. There was no need to buy a very expensive stylus (turn table needle) because when the laser reader no longer worked it was cheaper to go get a new CD player than try to repair it.

Meghan Morrison-Takes A Walk On The Dark Side

Meghan Morrison 1

By Lenny Stoute

She may look like the poster girl for sensitive indie chicks but Meghan Morrison is all that and a savvy business head. Which means her chances of survival are that much better that if she was a pure artiste and the lady is well aware of how it is.

As she says on her website:” Branded. I am now a commercial commodity; a product. Hard things to come to terms with as an artist whose music, regardless of its form, is meant to be the product, not the person. Today, however, the artists themselves are so salient in this industry (facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.) that the person creating the art also needs to be relate-able outside of their music in order for people to really pay attention”.

And pay attention they should to the work of this refugee from picture postcard St. Margaret’s’ Bay, a hoot’n’holler from Peggy’s Cove, now transplanted to the T.Dot, East Coast sensibilities intact.

Morrison made the traditional trek from the East Coast to Toronto in full dream chaser mode, but with a Masters in Health Sciences, a useful discipline in coping with the rigours of touring and keeping the voice in shape.

Sandy Graham and The Beach Celtic Festival

The Beach Celtic Festival

Sandy Graham grew up in Montreal Quebec in a family of Scottish descent. Her grandparents on her mother’s side, Donald and Florence Sutherland and grandfather on her dad’s side Peter Graham had emigrated to Canada from the Old Country, albeit under different circumstances, to begin a new life in the New Country. Her grandfather on her maternal side, Donald Clarence Sutherland was Pipe Major of The Black Watch of Canada, so Sandy was familiar with the sound of bagpipes for the very beginning of her life.

Her maternal grandmother, Florence Seaby Sutherland, kept the traditional Scottish cooking and way of life alive and passed it on to her daughter, Jemima Blackie Sutherland Graham. It doesn’t get more Scottish than that ensemble of names. Jemima was a competitive highland dancer in Scotland and later in Canada and, although a Canadian, was determined to keep her three children, Donna, Donald and Sandy well aware of their Scottish heritage. Through music, food and traditions, Sandy grew up well versed in all things Scottish, and keeps these traditions in her own family, raising two boys, Ian Sutherland Robertson and Graham Maclean Robertson in all things Celtic.

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