December 2016

Boyd's words pasted below are about the same age as "Toronto's Secret". I remember asking him to email me some of his memories of those old Toronto rock and roll bands. And only recently did I finally get around to learning that our band with him on B3 organ, Don on Fender Rhodes keyboard, Wayne Versage on guitar and vocals, Gerry Penfound on sax, and Julie vocals was called Beaver. I didn't meet Boyd until near the end of my Yonge Street career when Wayne Versage and him joined me on stage for the Zanzibar supper hour shift. Looking over that old email I can see that Boyd and I played some of the same places and with some of the same musicians. But there were some musicians he knew or performed with that I never was on stage with. I'm surprised that he played with Kelly, Pete Mitchell and Johnny Rhythm. I wonder what I was doing then? He mentions Richy Knight and the Midnights; but I just recently learned that he knows saxophonist Leo Donoghue well, and that Leo who I've known for some time but never performed with was a founding member of the Midnights. I've had his Seven Poems for many years now; I likely knew Leo better as a writer than as a musician - interesting. Stoney from the U.S. South is another musician both Boyd and I played with. He's been mentioning a Stoney for years, but I only recently learned that he knew Stoney, the bassist Kelly and me were on stage with in Peoria at Harold's Club. Boyd probably met Stoney when he worked with Kelly after Peoria. I wonder what I was doing then? Maybe playing with "The Delfires": Bob Bouchard, Grant Wilson, Brian Kirkwood and Kenny Kunz, all from Hamilton except Brian.

Boyd Sarney:

"What I remember about that time period was that a handful of bands, Consuls, Wildwoods, Suedes, Sillouettes, Richy Night, The Gems, to name a few...played a circuit that included, Merton Hall, The Met in Mimico, Myzerik Hall, Plater's Hall, Club 888 (later on) also to name a few. When Hawkins came on the scene, everyone's music gradually changed, and everyone became a Hawkins imitator, or so it seemed. Myself, Duncan White, Ronny Briggs, Howie Glen, Mike Holman, Wayne Bryceland and John McFarland ( Now runs Toronto Life ) were the Sillouettes. In 1958 I left the band to join Kelley J ( Fordham ) in South Bend Indianna which was my first road gig. Doug Riley replaced me on piano in the Sillouettes. The Kelley J thing fell through after a few weeks, and I hooked up with Johnny Rythem, Pete (Michaud) Mitchell (guitar...later joined Earnest Tubb's band in Nashville ) Stoney Hulan (base) Ronny Briggs (drums)."

The Sillouettes 1960

This band snapshot, with Boyd at the far right, that Boyd sent with a number of studio photos of "The Shays" who joined David Clayton Thomas, "The Grease Ball Boogey Band" with Boyd costumed as a greaser, "Dunc and The Deacons" with Boyd Sarney, Duncan White, Jack Arseneau, and Paul Robson(I think) all wearing clerical garb posing in a tree before a church; "Dunc and Judy", again with Jack Arseneau, Duncan White and Judi's eventual husband drummer Wayne Harman, and saxophonist Russ Strathdee; "Jon and Lee and The Checkmates"; " The Big Town Boys", and the group that became"Little Caesar and the Consuls" after I left "The Consuls".

After watching the Bravo TV presentation of "Rock and Roll Stories" about Toronto's Rock and Roll musicians on Yonge Street from 1957 to the 1970's I could not resist recalling this old 1960's photo of Boyd Sarney and the Silhouettes. This photo is unique in that it represents the social world that has all but disappeared with the early Toronto bands, and the age of the teenager, for it shows that those early bands, and musicians were part of a community of friends, girl friends, and local well wishers and not simply the heroic and sometimes rebellious "Rock Stars" that inevitably came to represent performers of popular music. back to The Consuls

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Peter De Remigis