This music documentary based on Nicholas Jennings's book Before The Gold Rush on the rise of Canadian popular music in the 60s and 70s aired on CBC last year, and makes its way to home video this week. Unfortunately, this is still very much a whitewashed version of the story that only alludes to the important contributions of black R&B artists, particularly on the Yonge Street strip in Toronto.
While it's great to see brief snippets of the Ugly Ducklings, the Haunted, Joni Mitchell, Lighthouse and others, as well as hear the key players discuss their influences, there's far too much screen time wasted on pointless commentary from woefully inarticulate contemporary artists like Hawksley Workman, Matthew Good and Sarah Slean, who can barely put a sentence together, let alone offer some insight into the work of performers they barely know. And who really needs to hear Margo Timmins groaning through American Woman when explosive footage of Jackie Shane tearing up the Sapphire Tavern backed by Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers would've been far more exciting?
The bonus material consists of longer solo interview segments with Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Sylvia Tyson and a few others, which prove to be quite revealing and should've been part of the original broadcast.