RAY FRANCIS & The WHIPPOORWILLS

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I have presented many vintage albums of great Canadian country music here at the Scratchy Attic, but none gives me as much pleasure to share as these two 1960's LPs by a great band from my hometown of Chatham, Ontario, Ray Francis and the Whippoorwills. Growing up in a "country music family", I often heard my grandparents speak fondly of this band, proudly proclaiming they were "as good as anything out of Nashville". I believe my grandmother even sang a number with the boys on an occasion or two. Many years later I was privileged enough to get to share the stage a few times with the group's steel guitarist, the late Max Dauphin.
Francis and his outfit cut two albums in 1963 and 1964, for the Arc and Canatal labels, respectively. The notes to the Arc LP state "As soon as Arc Records heard Ray Francis and The Whippoorwills they immediately recognized that here was one of the most professional sounding country bands in the land." I can only wholeheartedly agree with that statement; I feel that the album is one of the real gems in Arc's early catalog. At a time when Canadian recordings tended to be of the "one microphone in a room" variety, the Whippoorwills albums sound balanced and cohesive, unlike many other "local" albums of this period, which while quaint, are often decidedly amateurish. The Whippoorwills were really more a regional than a local band, with some very impressive connections and credentials, as outlined in the articles at the following link to the Chatham Music Archives.
As of 2009, Ray Francis was still active as a musician, and in 2007, the local Chatham newspaper ran a story on his career with the Whippoorwills. A scan of that article is included along with the original LP jackets and labels, and of course the contents of the LPs are downloadeable as mp3s below.
The fact that the Chatham area was home to such a great traditional Country band back in the day makes me very proud to be carrying on the tradition of this kind of singing and playing in the present. Kudos to Ray Francis, John Tengelis, Ray Dauphin, Max Dauphin and Bill Taylor for leaving a great legacy!

Tracks:

1. Crying In The Deep Blue Sea
2. I've Got A Right To Know
3. A House With Everything But Love
4. I'll Kiss The Past Goodbye
5. The Same Old Me
6. All Over Again
7. Toujour Moi
8. I Can't Run Away From Myself
9. Three Hearts In A Tangle
10. Anymore
11. A Dimes Worth Of Dreams
12. Carribean
13. Honey Lovin'
14. When Two Worlds Collide
15. Lost In The Islands
16. A Wound Time Can't Erase
17. Ridin' High
18. Little Darlin'
19. Drivin' Nails In My Coffin
20. Dead End Twist
21. What Would You Do
22. South Of The Border
23. Tears Broke Out On Me
24. Tears Will Fall

*download here*

6 comments:

M. Carroll said...

Thanks very much for this, Messr. Lefty. I've been a fan of your site since you started. Keep the great work.

iggy said...

Thanks so much, Lefty. I always enjoy your thoughtful posts, and look forward to this one, too. All the best,

Iggy

ralph11 said...

Thank you. Obscure but GOOD music.
ralph11

It's All Tunes To Me said...

Lefty I too got to share the stage with Max and you at Dresden and Forest .

Hektic said...

I just scored this vinyl!its awesome! Great Canadian, forgotten country!

Lonesome Lefty said...

Glad everyone enjoyed the Whippoorwills!