Considered the holy grail of Toronto funk by deep funk collectors, the self-titled 1970 debut by Wayne McGhie & the Sounds Of Joy (Birchmount) is one of those ridiculously rare vinyl artifacts that crate-diggers dream about but few have ever seen, let alone heard. So it's great news that Seattle's Light in the Attic label, which recently reissued LPs by the Free Design and Bernard Purdie 's Lialeh soundtrack, will be making the sought-after Wayne McGhie album available in April.
But what about McGhie himself? He hasn't been seen in years, and there were rumours that he was either locked away in a mental hospital or dead.
Neither is true. Light in the Attic label boss Matt Sullivan found McGhie living quietly in Scarborough, unaware of the interest in his music that has grown over the 34 years since the Sounds Of Joy LP appeared and quickly vanished.
"I'd heard all the rumours about Wayne being in a hospital or maybe having returned to Montego Bay," says Sullivan, "but I kept making calls, hoping for a lead. None of the guys from his band or the people connected with his label had seen him in years. No one knew if he was still alive.
"But eventually one of his old bandmates found out Wayne was living with his sister. He seemed surprised that someone was interested in his record. He didn't have a copy himself and hadn't heard it since the early 70s. I brought over a copy and put it on; you could see he was overcome."
So far there are no plans for a Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy reunion gig to coincide with the reissue, but we can hold out hope.
"Well, anything is possible, I guess, but I'm just amazed that we found him. When I asked him what he'd been doing all these years, he said, 'Sitting on the couch watching television. '"