Can-Con 45 Of The Day - December 19

Can-Con 45 Of The Day - December 19

Postby radiofan » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:49 pm

From Vancouver, it's Songbird and their 1974 cover of Steely Dan's "Dirty Work" on Mushroom Records ...

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 - December 19

Postby Richard Skelly » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:48 am

Boy, this was a toughie: very little info that I could find on Songbird. But here goes.

A couple of postings ago, I explained how a gaggle of American ex-pats were behind Uproar, a one-hit-wonder Vancouver trio. To refresh, the ex-Americans—led by former Collectors manager Jack Herschorn—used an investment vehicle (think it was VSE listed) to acquire Aragon Studios on West 6th Avenue. Herschorn and promoter Shelly Siegel took care of marketing the renamed Can-Base facility. Mike Flicker engineered and increasingly produced sessions. Some in-house productions, like Uproar, were licensed to Canadian labels. In Uproar’s case, the label was GRT.

GRT briefly figured in the Songbird saga. The label released Sweet Elaine, the first single by this studio band. As with Uproar, Flicker was involved. But so was another Yank-in-exile studio mainstay, Howard Leese. He drew a salary as creative adviser...but was also a versatile guitarist, keyboardist and—as Songbird revealed—pretty good vocalist. He and fellow ‘Birder Jay Caress handled the singing with some harmonies from bassist Steve Moyer. Rounding Songbird out were main keyboardist Rob Deans and drummer Don Hardy.

Dirty Work, an album track by the suddenly hot Steely Dan, was a great song to cover. This single, however, emerged on the brand new Mushroom label. After Can-Base flopped financially, creditors led by the Vogel family (lawyer Hunter Vogel and other family involved with Cloverdale Paint) took over. Wisely, however, they kept most creative and technical staff in place. Significantly, Shelly Siegel soon headed Mushroom Records as an offshoot of the renamed Mushroom Studio.

Dirty Work got decent airplay but Songbird didn’t last. Deans eventually replaced Frank Ludwig in Trooper. Well before that, Howard Leese eased back on studio duties to focus on new Mushroom signing Heart. Leese soon joined this group of uber-talented and (once again) relocated Americans. He lasted longer than any other original Heart member in supporting Ann and Nancy Wilson. These days, Howard returns frequently to tour and record with Paul Rodgers/Bad Company. Rodgers, who also fronted Free, is married to a Canadian and has called BC home for many years.
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