Insights of the day by music fan and reviewer, Brian Hay…
Record Store Day 2018 at the Cheeky Monkey Featuring Mike Blackmore
by Brian Hay
Record Store Day was a big hit. The lineups ran to the back of the store for several hours, replenishing themselves with each ring of the Till. It was fun to watch and good to see. It was more to it than just a celebratory sale though. Roland and MaryAnne have collected a lot of memorabilia over the years and much of it was on display. One piece that was particularly striking was a poster of Keith Richards that looked to be from the period where he formed the Xpensive Winos. The displays of vinyl, featured an array of albums from what’s current to one from the mid 1960’s by Bobbie Gentry and many by the late David Bowie. Those cast an eye on the impact the designs had on those covers. It’s certainly a case where the packaging was an identifier.
Record Store Day wasn’t just for the older crowd who grew up with records though. There was a lot of younger people in the crowd as and they were looking to soak up the music once they got home. No iphone for that deal — that fare would be served up on record players.
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BLACKMORE + BLACKMORE – live at Cheeky Monkey
The thing that was striking immediately was the difference in Mike Blackmore’s lead playing. It was a lot more fluid. Rolling melodies seemed to flow effortlessly for however long he chose to explore the variations contained within their passages. Like all the good players though, he also knew to pull back before tapping veins completely. It’s a delicate balance between giving enough or too much and it’s one he showed a great sense for. All of the lead solos he played stopped short of wearing their welcomes out.
What also became apparent was how adept he’s become with the pedals used to create the rhythm and percussion tracks that serve as the foundation for his lead playing. Those tools that require a certain touch. With it they form a band using just single player; without they’re better left alone. With his sense of taste and the looped tracks he creates form a balanced platform work from. The songs, a mix of covers and original material, provide the rest.
Mike’s take on songs is never exactly the same twice. There’s threads that run through the work consistently but opening the material up is the name of his game. Songs that are standards for him like ‘Georgia on My Mind’ by Hoagy Carmichael had more than a breath of fresh air. ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash, took on a form that’s never been heard before. It preserved the integrity of the original while exploring the flexibility the piece has. It was definitely a take Mike would come up with.
It was great to catch him playing again.
Congratulations to Larry Balfour and Scott McPhee . Each won a surprise gift bag. Thank you to all those who entered the draw while in for Record Store Day.
This year, stores had the option of raising funds for MusiCounts by selling limited edition RSD Sheepdogs pins (50 per store only). The generous donations from our customers helped us raise $161.00 in total. Shows how generous our customers are considering we were asking $2.00 per pin.
We would like to give a heartfelt thank you to our helpers Hanna & John Hettinga and Ross & Laurissa Ellsworth. We could not have RSD without you to be here with us. Once again, one of our favourite local musicians joined us on RSD. Mike Blackmore, is an amazing person and musician that we appreciate for his generosity of time entertaining the shoppers. Also thanks to Bill Walters for being our beast of burden carrying display racks up and down the stairs. We are very appreciative of the media coverage we received. Especially from CBC Radio London Afternoon Drive’s Jonathan Pinto and Chris dela Torre, Sarnia This Week and Sarnia Observer newspapers and on-line as well as The Sarnia Journal including us in the events listing of their paper and all other medias that mention RSD. A special thank you goes to Ryan Kerr. Not sure his official title, but I think of him as the Official RSD Coordinator. He and his team do so much in the background such as set up the RSD Canada website, get all the stores media tools to use and of course work with the labels getting us the great titles for the big day. The constant updates and communication leading up to RSD was amazing. Great job Ryan.