Unreleased: Songs From The Vault Collection, Volume 1 (Universal)
How do you want to remember your Canadian icons? It’s something to consider before running out to purchase this collection of old tunes that Stompin’ Tom Connors started out playing and revived (many years later, after his final tour wrapped up) with just an ancient Gibson guitar and his grizzled voice.
Though purportedly Tom’s idea (he intended there to be 10 albums’ worth of recordings, and this may be the first of many), I can’t help but suspect more than a whiff of opportunism on the record label’s part.
Made up mostly of raw, demo-ish solo covers of popular songs from the late 40s and early 50s, the album also jumps into full band performances of some of Tom’s own tunes, as chosen by his wife, Lena. The problem is the contrast between the originals (characteristically Canadian, corny and upbeat) and the covers (serious and sentimental, and Tom is loose on time and key).
Top track: Little Wawa
The 2nd Annual Stompin’ Tom Memorial Show & benefit for Street Soccer Canada happens at the Horseshoe on April 12.