Can-Con 45 Of The Day - September 27

Can-Con 45 Of The Day - September 27

Postby radiofan » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:00 pm

Today's Can-Con 45 is from 1978 ... From the Lights From The Valley LP, Chilliwack and "Arms Of Mary" ...

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
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Re: Can-Con 45 Of The Day - September 27

Postby Richard Skelly » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:37 pm

I've always thought of Arms Of Mary as a sequel of sorts to Chilliwack's first hit, Lonesome Mary. You could imagine that the narrator (Bill Henderson) had finally settled down with the lonely gal who'd presumably found a way not to be "the most contrary, hard to get along with person in the world." Of course, Bill wrote Lonesome Mary whereas Arms Of Mary
is a rare cover version by Chilliwack. It was written and initially released by the Sutherland Brothers to middling success in America. That made it a good choice when Chilliwack needed an obvious single for Lights From The Valley--the much anticipated followup to their breakthrough 1976 album Dreams Dreams Dreams.

Maybe Lights should have been titled Nightmares. It certainly proved to be a bruising experience that nearly scuttled the group. Dreams featured Bill on guitar, piano and vocals, plus two other original members: drummer Ross Turney and bassist Glenn Miller. Howard Froese, who'd joined in 1973, rounded things out on guitar, keyboards and vocals. The quartet's best efforts for a follow up album were rejected by Mushroom Records. The group expanded to include a fifth player, Brian MacLeod, also on guitar, keys and vocals. A second version of Lights was rejected and Mushroom paired the band with an outside LA producer. Along the way, Froese stopped showing up for sessions (he got liner credits) and was briefly replaced by Vancouver guitarist Jamie Bowers. Oddly, Bowers appears in the rear-cover photo (plus musician credits) but was also gone. And just as Lights From The Valley hit stores, both Turney and Miller exited. (A lawsuit launched over ownership of the Chilliwack name--which Turney came up with when predecessor band The Collectors changed direction--was eventually settled.

Despite the tumult, Mushroom's network of indie promo reps created enough buzz for Arms Of Mary to chart on Billboard. But the revamped group showed little love for the song or the ill-fortuned album. Bill and creative ally "Too Loud" MacLeod persevered with new members for a third and final Mushroom album Breakdown In Paradise. Many of the lyrics seemed inspired by Bill's bitter and personal breakup with Ross and Glenn. They'd trod the boards for a decade, coming tantalizingly close to an American breakthrough. It was left to Bill, Brian and bassist Ab Bryant to persevere against additional lawsuits (this time over the collapse of Mushroom) and eventually hit paydirt with My Girl, I Believe and Whatcha Gonna Do.

MacLeod, Froese Miller and latter day bassist Doug Edwards have passed away. All three of Chilliwack's albums for Mushroom were recently released on CD. Time presumably healed enough wounds for Bill to, long ago, begin including Arms Of Mary in the repertoire. It is a showstopper at many concerts where he, brother Ed Henderson, drummer Jerry Adolphe and new bassist Gord Maxwell keep the legacy going.
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