Can-Con 45 Of The Day - January 9

Can-Con 45 Of The Day - January 9

Postby radiofan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:50 pm

Today's Can-Con 45 is from 1975 ... April Wine and "Oowatanite" (a favorite in Hockey Arenas across the country) ...

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 - January

Postby Richard Skelly » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:01 am

Arguably the finest rock song ever recorded by April Wine...and Myles Goodwyn didn’t sing it! Vocal honours went to Oowatanite’s composer, group bassist Jim Clench.

The single did okay in Canada, nothing in the States, but the song’s effect in concert was immediate and visceral! The band used a primitive tape loop of the record’s clanging fire bell and rear-projected a swirling red light into the crowd. It remained a concert mainstay even after Jim quit in 1976. His replacement on bass, Steve Lang, also took over lead vocals on Oowatanite.

I had lunch with band manager Terry Flood in Montreal not long after Lang came aboard. The rumour mill had it that Jim had been too badly injured in a skydiving mishap to rejoin the band. Flood and Goodwyn, who dropped by our table to kibbitz, were noncommittal about just why Jim left, but effusive in their praise of his talents.

Whatever his skydiving “injuries”, Jim Clench fully recovered. He moved West to join BTO. Minus Randy Bachman, the group ditched Bachman Turner Overdrive to go by the already popular BTO acronym. Bassist Fred Turner switched to second guitar behind Blair Thornton. Jim took over bass and melded with drummer Robbie Bachman. Jim also wrote and sang many songs on BTO’s remaining two albums for Mercury Records. Indeed, AllMusic’s archival review of final Mercury release Rock n’ Roll Nights picks Clench’s song End Of The Line as even better than the Turner-sung Heartaches which was the band’s last-ever Billboard-charting single.

Jim Clench stuck around Vancouver, married a local woman and played on some early Loverboy sessions, before moving back to Montreal. In 1991 he once again trod the boards with a reunited April Wine. He left Wine in 2007 and died three years later of lung cancer. (Fellow Wine alumni bassist Lang passed in 2017, after establishing himself outside music as an Ontario financial adviser)

This post has run a tad longer than most. It’s just that Jim Clench is often overlooked in assessments of April Wine. I would argue the band quite likely would have disappeared as original members fled during the troubled early sessions of Electric Jewels. It was on the verge of being a Myles Goodwyn solo album, but Jim stuck around. Collaborating heavily with Myles, Jim used his creative energy to help turn those sessions around. Electric Jewels gave Wine real rock cred, setting the stage for Stand Back and eventually—during the latter Lang years—a second-and-this-time-huge American breakthrough.

Oowatarocker!!! RIP, Jim Clench.
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