Mendelson Joe


© Michael D'Amico

BY Jason SchneiderPublished Feb 22, 2011

One of the earliest recorded tracks on this thorough look back at Mendelson Joe's solo career is "Move (In My Own Groove)," and there's probably no better way to sum up how that career has unfolded. Following the demise of Joe's groundbreaking late-'60s Toronto blues-rock combo Mainline, Joe dedicated himself to a simple and pure form of songwriting that combined diary-style observations with scathing social critiques. His unabashed honesty rubbed some the wrong way, but listening to these 21 tracks back-to-back, it's clear to see how far ahead of his time Joe was. It's unfair to put him in the same category as Daniel Johnston or Jandek in terms of lo-fi self-expression, but certainly Joe's often brave solo work provided an important touchstone for the generation that spawned the eclectic '80s Toronto scene, a spirit that is carried on today within the Blocks Recording Club and others. Although today Joe rarely leaves his home in northern Ontario, Original shows that if he ever decides to return to live performing, he has a vast catalogue of great material from which to draw.
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