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Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lighthouse - Lighthouse (1969 canada, superb psych brass rock, 2012 extra tracks edition)

Recognized as one of the best performing acts of their time, they toured 300 days a year including sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, Fillmore West, Expo ‘70 in Japan and the Isle of Wight Festival in England where they were the only act besides Jimi Hendrix asked to perform twice among acts that included The Doors, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, The Who and Chicago. Back home, their free concerts at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square attracted one hundred thousand people.  Indeed, it’s hard to find a person who lived in Canada through the 1970s who didn’t see the group live.  They were Canada’s band.

Free-wheeling, high-spirited – the music of Lighthouse mirrored the times. Their story is interwoven with the history of late twentieth century Canada. Their rise to fame coincided with a new awareness of Canadian culture, encouraged by the government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The emergence of Cancon (Canadian  content regulations) influenced by Skip Prokop’s historic appearance before Parliament, allowed the music of Canadians to be heard across the country. Riding the wave, Lighthouse originated the cross-Canada rock tour, playing every major and minor venue across the country. Devoted audiences from province to province took pride in seeing one of their own make it to the top.

On the advice of friend, folk legend Richie Havens, they took the demo to MGM Records in New York City. Twenty minutes later they had a record deal and a thirty thousand dollar advance. Two days later they had a manager – Vinnie Fusco from Albert Grossman’s office. Prokop and Hoffert were in heaven. Now all they had to do was put together a performing band.

Lighthouse made its live debut at Toronto’s Rock Pile on May 14, 1969, introduced by none other than Duke Ellington. They were an instant smash. Manager Vinnie Fusco brought them to New York to record their first album at the fabled Electric Ladyland Studios. They were in the middle of one of their sessions when Fusco cheerily popped in to announce that he had just signed the band to a hot deal with RCA records for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

This was a bit of a shock to Prokop and Hoffert who had already signed with MGM. Fusco didn’t break a sweat as he brokered a backroom deal between the two companies. This was the sixties after all: stuff happened! 

1. Mountain Man (Ralph Cole, Peggy Devereux, Skip Prokop) - 4:29
2. If There Ever Was A Time (Skip Prokop) - 5:05
3. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (Richie Havens) - 3:09
4. Never Say Goodbye (Brenda Hoffert, Paul Hoffert) - 3:28
5. Follow The Stars (Skip Prokop) - 4:18
6. Whatever Forever (Paul Hoffert, Skip Prokop) - 5:06
7. Eight Miles High (Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn) - 5:16
8. Marsha, Marsha (Skip Prokop) - 3:28
9. Ah I Can Feel It (Skip Prokop) - 4:54
10.Life Can Be So Simple (Peggy Devereux, Skip Prokop) - 4:03
11.If There Ever Was A Time (Single Version) (Skip Prokop) - 2:56
12.Eight Miles High (Single Version) (Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn) - 3:25

*Skip Prokop - Leader, Drums, Vocals
*Paul Hoffert - Keyboards, Vibes
*Ralph Cole - Guitar, Vocals
*Grant Fullerton - Bass, Vocals
*Pinky Dauvin - Percussion, Vocals
*Ian Guenther - Violin
*Don DiNovo - Violin, Viola
*Don Whitton - Cello
*Leslie Schneider - Cello
*Freddy Stone - Trumpet, Fluge
*Arnie Chycoski - Trumpet, Flugel
*Howard Shore - Alto Sax
*Russ Little - Trombone

1971  One Fine Morning
1972  Sunny Days (2008 RDI issue)
1973  Can You Feel It?  (2008 RDI issue)
Related Acts
1967  The Paupers - Magic People
1968  The Paupers · Ellis Island  (2008 remaster)
1969  The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper
1969  Michael Bloomfield with Nick Gravenites & Friends - Live At Bill Graham's Fillmore West (2009 remaster and expanded) 

This post is dedicated to Kobilica, one of the blog's best  friends.

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