Song written and performed by Moxy Früvous
Canada was Neil Young and William Shatner. What else could it be?
So, I got in a car with two friends and we drove from Boston to Montreal because that was what you could do when you had a car available and some time on your hands. Among other things, we wandered around the old city at night. I was looking for some true North music, which I assumed meant the Guess Who or Rush. Instead, we found a large club with a solo artist sitting on a stool on a raised platform and singing in French. “Ah, so this is authentic Canadian music,” I thought to myself.
A few years later, I spent some months in southern Ontario going to school. Desperate for any entertainment, I went with friends to the local county/state/province fair. I was told that we would be staying for the concert. So, we explored a little and then joined other young people packing the racetrack stands.
Soon enough, four guys came out dressed outlandishly- kind of like pirates with a foreshadowing of 80’s dance wear. Their instruments included an accordion, a guitar, and a drum kit that would have made the Stray Cats wonder what happened to the rest of it. They also sang tremendously well. Their songs were witty and… “Ah, so this is authentic Canadian music,” I thought to myself.
to bring home some memories, so I bought their cassette tape. After all, that’s what you could play in the car. I had expectations- they had done a cover of the Spider-man cartoon theme from the Sixties. What I did not expect was how fantastic all of it was. The humor included some social commentary, so you knew they were absorbing the world around them.
Then, the final song arrived. I don’t remember if they performed it at the fairgrounds, but I did see them perform it on television once.
I was six years old on May 4, 1970, and 40 miles from Kent, Ohio. My questions had to wait until I knew enough to form them. Though, I heard that song long before that- another song that came from a Canadian.
Realistically, a protest song wrapped in a package from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young is not much of a surprise. The brilliance of it feels like a given. But listening to Video Bargainville, you know these guys are good, perhaps even great. I still have King of Spain on rotation for wake-up songs, but… the Gulf War Song is another level entirely.
Moxy signed with a bigger label and toured the United States- even played a big concert near my home. They dissolved soon thereafter. I’m not at all sure what this says about being an artist in the shadow of the biggest market on the planet- not even sure it comments on anything more than artistic ambition.
By the way, I am older and wiser now. I know that real authentic Canadian music is by Dolores Claman.
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You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 101 more to go.
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