Maple Leaf Soul COMPILATION

Maple Leaf Soul COMPILATION
There was more to Toronto’s music scene in the ’60s and early ’70s than Yorkville, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot. Seattle’s Light in the Attic, one of the world’s premier reissue labels, have put together an illuminating collection of T-dot’s Jamaican-flavoured R&B past. Unearthing long-lost and never-issued tunes from Toronto’s soul scene of the era, From Jamaica To Toronto furthers the label’s investigation into the lost soul of Hogtown begun two years ago with their reissue of the Wayne McGhie and the Sounds of Joy album.

Everton Paul, drummer with the Cougars, recounts those days. "We mainly played gigs like Club Jamaica and the West Indian Federation Club. We were trying to get into the Coq D’Or, which brought in American bands, but it was very difficult. Arthur Conley (Sweet Soul Music) had a gig there, and the rest of his group couldn’t make the trip, so we got the call to back him. After that, the door was open.”

The sounds on the disc are mostly straight-up soul, but with some Jamaican and Canadian accents. "Naturally, our culture sort of crept in there. We wanted to create a new sound that we could be identified with. Funk with kind of an offbeat to it. When the Band did ‘Cripple Creek’ and the style of the drumming on that song sounded like ours, I said if they’re getting airplay with that style of music, let’s emulate them.” Harbourfront Centre in Toronto will be hosting a special reunion of this show on July 15 with many of the participants on the disc including Paul, Jay Douglas and the Mighty Pope. As regards the American company that is reopening an overlooked chapter in Canadian music history, Paul is effusive: "I think it’s amazing that these guys from the U.S. saw the potential and jumped at it. They did a fabulous job. As far as the production and everything, they went way out — the quality shows.”