I had planned a while ago on posting this on Canada Day, but that was before it turned out to be a day of low key celebration this year. Personally, I think Canada Day should be put on hold until we as a country make substantial amends for our past mistakes and not just symbolic ones. But that is another post for another day.
Anyway, a part of Canada that I’ll always be proud of is my fellow country folk’s contribution to music. I’ve always been a fan of many Canadian artists and I plan on doing better job at highlighting them on this blog. The fact the Canadian artists I don’t care for (Beebs, Celine) keep becoming international superstars must be because BuriedOnMars.com is failing at supporting the good stuff!
I expect this list to change over time as I dive deeper into the catalogues of bands like Saga, Odds, Red Rider and many others. I’m hoping to discover more music that speaks to me and maybe we’ll revisit this in a year or two to see how the list changes. Or maybe I’ll forget all about it. Who knows?
My only two rules for this list is that I can only pick ONE album from each artist and it must be in my collection. So, here are my 10 (AKA Nigel Tufnel 11) favourite Canadian albums of ALL TIME (for now):
11. Sam Roberts Band | We Were Born In A Flame
Nothing says the mid-2000’s better to me than this album. I remember it being the CD of the summer of 2003, then the singles just kept hitting the radio for the next couple of years. It is that good and was that popular. I’m sad to say how I haven’t check out any of Sam Robert’s following albums, a correction that I will need to make, but that doesn’t take away how good this sucker is.
10. Barenaked Ladies | Gordon
Make fun of The Wiggles-ish album cover all you like, but the contents of Gordon are some of the most fun I have listening to a non-Weird Al album. BNL only tried to shed the “novelty act” vibes Gordon does have at times with subsequent releases, but for me, their song writing was never stronger (Brian Wilson) or more relatable (Grade 9) than right here.
09. FM | Black Noise
FM’s Black Noise is loaded with recent bias as I had only discovered the band a few months ago, but I’ll continue to talk about this underrated prog-rock outfit until everyone goes out and buys their albums. Phasors On Stun is the only song that could be considered a “hit” since a few Canadian radio stations still play it, but this brilliant album is in danger of being lost if more people don’t seek it out. Get on it!
08. David Wilcox | Out Of The Woods
The headliner of every rib and blues festival from Victoria Island to Cape Spear, Wilcox is a phenomenal slide guitar player. The most well known tune on Out of The Woods is Do The Bearcat but that hard drivin’ slide blues on tracks like Hot, Hot Papa and That Hypnotizin’ Boogie are the better reason why this album made my list.
07. The Band | The Band
Nobody has ever looked cooler on any album cover than The Band did on their self titled 2nd album (AKA The Brown Album). A concept of album of sorts as all of the songs pull from stories from the turn of the century. Not the last one, but the one before that. Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down became classic rock staples, but the entire record is a joy to listen to from top to bottom proving that Canadians are capable of doing better Americana than Americans.
06. Max Webster | Max Webster
Max Webster’s debut is part Zappa (Toronto Tontos), part driving hard rock (Hangover), part light AOR friendly fare (Blowin’ The Blues Away). It is a terrific album… actually all of their albums are terrific and I wish they would reunite for some live shows before it gets too late. I’d love to see them, but according to Kim Mitchell as early as last year there is no interest in doing so. *drats*
05. RUSH | Moving Pictures
The Beatles put all those fantastic tunes on Side B of Abby Road because they didn’t wish to compete with RUSH for the greatest Side A of all time. Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta Bread, YYZ, and Limelight make for the greatest collection of four Canadian tunes put together. Ever!
04. The Tragically Hip | Day For Night
It is tough to choose just one Hip album, so I went with Day for Night because it is a classic, a little different, and solid all the way through. Plus, the opening bass riff for Grace, Too is what attracted me to the band in the first place. I guess your first good impression usually remains to be your favourite.
03. Sloan | Navy Blues
Nothing says the late ’90s to me better than Sloan’s Navy Blues. The band was always great, but this is where they fully infused their music with late Beatles (Seems So Heavy) and early The Who (Suppose They Close The Door) influence which made them greater than they already where. It is a fantastic record that rocks (Money City Maniacs, She Says What She Means) and has clever lyrics (Chester The Molester).
02. Neil Young and Crazy Horse | Ragged Glory
There are so many directions I can go with Neil. After The Gold Rush, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Harvest. The list goes on. So I went with my personal favourite. Ragged Glory isn’t the album that Neil and the Horse are best known for, but it was my introduction to the band. I remember hearing it for the first time and was floored that the guy that sings Old Man on the radio could rock this hard.
01. The Sheepdogs | Changing Colours
Changing Colours is probably a controversial pick for #1 in some circles, but I don’t care what circles think. This album is a perfect throw back to ’70s rock and it even out does some of it. Part Santana (Cool Down), part Moody Blues (I’m Just Waiting For My Time) and part Allman Bros Band (Nobody), it speaks to me on so many levels. The Sheepdogs added Jimmy Bowskill to the lineup which made them a top shelf band. Bowskill became my favourite Canadian guitarist because of this record. A bold statement, I know. Listen to him rip on a Les Paul while plugged into a Marshall half stack at the Kee To Bala like I have, then we can talk.
So, what do you have for your favourite Canadian albums? Fire away in the comments as I’m always looking for recommendations!