At the beginning of 2007 I got an email from Bob Mersereau mentioning that he was going to be putting together a book of the top 100 Canadian albums. We needed to submit our top 10 picks. I figured I would give it a shot. The funny thing is on any given day I could pick 10 favorite Canadian albums and probably 7 of them would be different from the previous day. Easily I could have included Harvest or Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young, The Band or Music From Big Pink by The Band, Moving Pictures by Rush, Melville by Rheostatics, Shyfolk by The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Fully Completely or Trouble At The Henhouse by The Tragically Hip, or a dozen others. On that day January 27 2007 this was my number 1 pick:
1. Rheostatics - Whale Music
On any day this will be my number one pick. It is my favorite Rheostatics album, my favorite Canadian album and one of my favorite records. Ever. If you have never heard Whale Music pick it up. The only other albums you will ever hear which are like it are probably other Rheostatics albums.
The cover is beautifully painted by Martin Tielli. The production is masterfully recorded by Michael Philip Wojewoda and the music is sublime. quirky, weird and heartwrenching. From the progressive opening riff of Self Serve Gas Station to the Punk Rock of RDA (Rock Death America), folk rock of Legal Age Life At Variety Store, the sad anger of Shaved Head, the Walter Ostenak inspired Sickening Song, to the Pink Floyd of Dope Fiends And Boozehounds the musical styles are as wide ranging as the content being sung about. Queer is a letter from a son to his brother who has been kicked out of his family home after revealing that he is gay. Dave Bidini in one sentence managed to unify a difficult social issue with Canada’s national pride in the line “I don’t care about the damage, but I wish you were there to see it when I scored at hat-trick on the team that called you a fucking Queer”. Shaved Head deals with a Cancer patient. Soul Glue is related to Benji Hayward who died after the Pink Floyd show on May 13 1988. There is also a slew of great musicians on this album apart from Dave Bidini, Dave Clark, Martin Tielli, and Tim Vesley including Dave Allen on Violin, Neil Peart on Drums and Lewis Melville on Pedal Steel Guitar. The album was named from the Paul Quarrington book of the same name. It was later turned into a movie staring Maury Chaykin, Cynthia Preston and Paul Goss. In one of the many, many shifts in style over the 30 year history of the band they would record the soundtrack to the movie which would lead to their one an only hit single “Claire”. But that is the story for another day. This is my is my Desert Island Disc. Incidentally the Basilosaurus, or Zeuglodon, was an archaic Eocene whale thought to have been about 55 feet long.
Here is the video for Shaved Head
Here is one for King Of The Past
And here is a live version of Soul Glue
Incidentally if you go to page 198 of the book The Top 100 Canadian Albums by Bob Mersereau I’m listed as Darrin Cappe, Tempus Fugit, Toronto. I had to mention my own band. More on that later as well.
This album was ranked #19 in The Top 100 Canadian Albums book by Bob Mersereau