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Archive for the ‘Ian Ferguson’ Category

so-youSOUNDTRACK: MIKE FORD-Canada Needs You volume two (2008).

fordThis is the long awaited follow up to Mike Ford’s first Canada Needs You CD.  Volume Two covers Canada’s history in the 20th Century.

The album is more fun than the first because there are several tracks where Ford uses a stylistically appropriate music to go with the songs: “Talkin’ Ten Lost Years” uses a Woody Guthrie-inspired “talking blues” to go along with the Depression-era lyrics.  “Let’s Mobilize” is done in a great swing style for a 1940s/50s era song.  “Joey Smallwood” uses a near-perfect Johnny Cash style (it may not be time-appropriate since Cash is timeless, but it works great for the song).  “Maurice Richard” is a perfect Dylanesque folk song.  And finally, the pièce de résistance is “Expo 67!” It is so wonderfully Burt Bacharach-y, so perfectly late sixties it gets stuck in your head for days! C’est Magnifique!

The rest of the album, especially the first three songs do not try to match a song style to the time it discusses.  Rather, he sings about Canadian history in a folk/rock style ala Moxy Fruvous (Creeping Barrage” and “In Winnipeg”) or in a great R&B/girl group style–with actual female singers, not himself in a falsetto (“Tea Party”) or reggae on “I’m Gonna Roam Again.”

The songs are all great.  And, yes, it’s a great way to learn some history (I’ve already Googled Joey Smallwood, just to see who he was.  I’m trying to get all of the lyrics down, but it’s not always easy, especially if you don’t know the details of what he’s singing about.  Which leads to my only gripe.

My gripe is that the disc packaging doesn’t include much information.  And, since he is essentially teaching people about the history of Canada, I’d think that some details should be included in the packaging.  I realize of course, that he says that the he’ll have the information on his website, but since we’re carrying the disc with us (not the website), it’d be nice to have at least a summary like on Volume One.  Because frankly, I don’t know enough about Canadian history to know what he’s talking about on most of the tracks.

The only problem is that as of this writing he hasn’t put the information on his website yet.  D’oh!

[READ: Christmas 2007] So You Want to Be Canadian

iamcI am Canadian.  Okay, I’m not, but I’ve had the beer, and I’ve seen the commercial (hilarious) and I’ve been there several times. I even have Canadian satellite broadcast into my home (long story).  So, I’ve seen Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans, and I’ve been a fan of Corner Gas long before it was broadcast down here. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MIKE FORD-Canada Needs You (Volume 1) (2005).

Volume 2 of this series has just come out, but I haven’t received it yet, so I’ll start with Vol. 1

I discovered this series because I love Moxy Fruvous, and any member of the mighty Moxy is worth checking out solo.  Mike Ford has a wonderful voice, a great knack for songwriting and an ability to do multiple genres in one setting.  Couple that with the history of Canada and it’s win-win!  Volume One covers Canada pre-1905, with Volume Two covering up to the present.

I admit to not knowing very much about the song topics on the disc, which is fine, as I learned something new.  And, much like with the two Ferguson books, Mike Ford clearly loves Canada, and is willing to celebrate it without hiding any flaws that might be found.  Which is as it should be for an album or book of this nature: Don’t hide the warts; celebrate the whole picture.

Musically, the disc is as varied as the subject matter.  “I’m Gonna Roam” is a folk song done in a rap style. “Turn Them Oot” is a sea shantyesque sing-along about the Family Compact (and what a great rabble-rouser it is).  The most rocking song, “Sir John A (You’re OK)” is sort of a mock metal song (it’s as metal as a folkie can get…with a chorus from a Grade 7 class).  Imagine rocking the line “RESIDUAL POWERS!”

There’s even a song that sounds as if it was recorded on an old wax cylinder (“Canada Needs You”).  I like this song especially because it is a satire of early 20th century Canadian government attempts to get people to move to Canada (much like the Go West Young Man of the US).  A little snippet of lyrics:

There’s an abundance of everything in Western Canada
Where it’s never ever (hardly ever) cold
And the streets are paved with gold
And you grow rutabegas bigger than a loaf of bread
tomatoes bigger than a horse’s head
There’s milk and honey and a kitchen sink
There’s never any bugs or drought and the farts don’t stink

Some other topics include: a young Native woman who inspired her people (“Thanadelthur”); the voyageurs–with canoe sounds (“Les Voyageurs”); the fact and fiction of the treasure buried on Oak Island, Nova Scotia (“The Oak Island Mystery”); and the importance of Canadian women (“A Woman Works Twice as Hard”).

Perhaps the most fun song on the disc (for style and content) is “I’ve Been Everywhere” in which Ford lists thousands of Canadian towns at superfast speed.  Great good fun. Moncton, Moncton, Moncton, Moncton.

All the lyrics are available in PDF here.  And facts and background info about the songs are available here.  With all of these resources, you’re bound to learn something new about Canada!

[READ: September 2008] How to Be a Canadian

Now this is what I expecting from Why I Hate Canadians–a funny, tongue in cheek look at Canada and all of its quirks.  I got this book on the same trip as Why I Hate Canadians, and since I just read that one, I figured, why not keep it going.  So this book is co-written by Will and his brother Ian Ferguson (apparently there are Fergusons littered across the US and Canada, as their services are called upon throughout the book).  And, hard to tell if this is true, but based on the previous book, Ian must be the funny one in the family, as this book is very funny indeed. (more…)

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