Outside of Prairie Oyster, The Mavericks and The Tractors, most bands being flogged by the major record labels of late are little more than pop bands masquerading as country.
Hearing the voice of one-time Blue Northern vocalist Ray O’Toole singing One By One of last night CFCW a few days ago triggered the thought that the West Coast band was way ahead of it’s time. The band had a run from ’78 through ’82 and would likely be selling albums by the truckload if together today.
Along with O’Toole, the band’s line-up was incredibly impressive. Billy Cowsill, who now fronts the Blue Shadows, played rhythm guitar, sang and produced, while multi-instrumentalist Jim Wilson, ex-Powder Blues drummer Brady Gustafson, bassist Lee Stephens and fiddle player/singer Garry Comeau rounded out the band.
Cowsill, who is at the Sidetrack at the end of the month, has always maintained he stuck to singing harmonies because O’Toole and Comeau in particular were two of the best singers he’s ever heard. Quite a compliment from one of the best lead singers in one of the best singing bands in this country.
Blue Northern only released one album but a couple of their hits are still getting steady play on stations like FM 105.
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