Powder Blues

Canadian Classic Rock
Biography

Powder Blues

Powder Blues

 

Possibly the most influential Canadian pop-blues act, but undeniably the most commercially successful, is Vancouver's Powder Blues Band. Formed in 1978 when guitarist Tom Lavin left Prism, the band was a virtual who's who of the Canadian rock scene. the original group's core was rounded out by his brother Jack on bass, ex of Teen Angel and Willie McCaulder on keyboards, who'd previously played with Willie and The Walkers. Drummer Duris Maxwell's credits included working with Skylark and Doucette. The horns section comprised of David Woodward, who Lavin took with him when leaving Prism, Gordie Bertram from Foreman Byrnes, Wayne Kozak from the Downchild Blues Band and Mark Hasselbach, who'd previously worked with the jazz group Airbrush.

The band's start came after their independant debut UNCUT in 1980. Totally self-financed on a shoe-string budget, it was the epitome of the 'bare to the bone' blues masterpiece. Filled with the raw emotion that's usually lost when big production is involved, Lavin's use of his influences as a boy growing up in the Chicago blues-filled environment caught the interest of CFOX Radio. The first single, "Doin' It Right", which was later covered by April Wine in '84, instantly gained them respect among their peers and rave reviews from the critics.The exposure given eventually led to the signing of a deal with Capitol Records that same year.

The band's first major release came before the end of the year. Three singles were released, "Boppin' With The Blues", "Hear That Guitar Ring" and "What've I Been Drinking?", further cementing the band as one of Canada's most promising, and innovative new acts.

THIRSTY EARS was out less than a year later. Backed by the success of two singles, "Loving Hugging and Kissing" and then the title-track helped earn the band a gold record, selling over 50,000 copies nationwide. Other noteable tracks included the soulful "Undercover Blues" and the upbeat "Pink Champagne".

The band returned from another successful world tour in '82 with PARTY LINE. This was followed by RED HOT/TRUE BLUE a year later. The reputation Lavin and company had established for themselves was now global, evident by the recording trucks during their subsequent European tour. The end result was LIVE AT MONTREAUX, put out in '84, a collection of some of the band's greatest tracks, stripped down of all unessential overdubs and fancy production quirks. This in part explains why LIVE AT MONTREAUX is considered by most blues afficiandos as one of the best live records ever recorded. Also on the record was a studio version of "On The Road Again", released as a single the following spring.

Despite still playing to packed houses the world over, the next record wasn't until 1990, when FIRST DECADE - GREATEST HITS was released. 1993 saw LET'S GET LOOSE hit the shelves. The Powder Blues Band has enjoyed international success, marvelled in the praises of critics and have influenced an entire generation of artists, here in Canada and abroad.

Written by Dan Brisebois of
CanConRox


Discography

Uncut
Uncut (1980)

Boppin With The Blues
Hear That Guitar Ring
Just A Little
The Rockchopper
Doin It Right
Buzzard Luck
What've I Been Drinkin
Personal Manager
Sweet Little Girl
Gimme Some Lovin

Thirsty Ears
Thirsty Ears (1981)

Thirsty Ears
Secret Success
Pink Champagne
Undercover Blues
Lovin
Kissin and Huggin
Joyridin
She's Crazy
Nothin But A Tease
She Took My Soul
Willpower

Party Line
Party Line (1982)

Party Band
Jump Up
Linda
Should Be You And Me
Swami Swing
Sooner Or Later
Urban Paradise
Smokin
First Fight
Got To The Heart

Powder Blues
Powder Blues (1983)

Doin It Right
Hear That Guitar Ring
Lovin Kissin And Huggin
What've I Been Drinkin
Should Be You And Me
Rockchopper
Thirsty Ears
Boppin With The Blues
Sooner Or Later
Party Band
Jump Up
Swami Swing

Red Hot/true Blue
Red Hot/true Blue (1983)

Oh Well Oh Well
You Been Mean
Same Old Blues
Stoop Down Baby
Farmer John
Woke Up This Morning
Sugaree
Good Rockin Tonight
Roll Over Beethoven
Tore Down
Crazy Mixed Up World
He Knows The Rules
Treat Her Right
Pushy
Your Daddy
We Got A Good Thing Goin'
You Won't Let Me Go

Live At Montreux
Live At Montreux (1984)

Oh Well Oh Well
Rockchopper
Same Old Blues
Takin Care Of Business
Nadine
Powder Keg
I'm On The Road Again

First Decade-greatest Hits
First Decade-greatest Hits (1990)

Boppin With The Blues
Hear That Guitar Ring
Just A Little
The Rockchopper
Doin It Right
Buzzard Luck
What've I Been Drinkin
Personal Manager
Sweet Litle Girl
Thirsty Ears
Should Be You And Me
Swami Swing
Joyridin
Nothin But A Tease
Lovin Kissin And Huggin
Pushy
Your Daddy
Slow Motion Walter
I'm On The Road Again

Let's Get Loose
Let's Get Loose (1993)

Let's Get Loose
Rock 'n Roll Man
Party All Night Sleep All Day
My Guitar's My Oldest Friend
Close To You
You Don't Know Me
Blame It On The Blues
The Days Are Few
Shiftless
B.B. Be Gone

Live at Montreux
Live at Montreux (1997)

Oh Well Oh Well
Stoop Down Baby
Rockchopper
You Been Mean
Same Old Blues
What've I Been Drinking
Takin Carte Of Business
Nadine
Personal Manager
Powder Keg


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