I recently feel in love with the sound of Canadian folk-rockers Edward Bear.
I remember growing up listening to their songs but it's been many years since I had last heard them. Recently I had the chance to re-visit them via Toronto's CHUM 1050 radio station which plays many 'oldies' especially by Canadian artists.
The band were formed originally in 1966 by Larry Evoy and Craig Hemming . Soon after a series of gigs they became the house band of Toronto's Yorkville scene and signed to Capitol Records in 1969. Evoy said of the signing "we were only discovered and got a music contract with Capitol, because (producer) Paul White accidentally saw us on a CBC television show... Right place, right time, I guess." Or, in music commentator Ritchie Yorke' s words "the band hit the magic circle of acceptance."
You might well ask what's the story behind the name but it is derived from A.A
Milne's Winnie The Pooh, whose "proper" name is Edward Bear.
Their top singles include "You, Me and Mexico", "Last Song", and "Close Your Eyes", all
of which were top five in Canada and charted well in the States.
The band's greatest chart success came in 1972 when "Last Song" charted at No. 1 in Canada and peaked at No. 3 in the States. In 1973 Edward Bear won a Juno Award in the outstanding group performance category.
Twelve years from formation, thousands of road trip miles, four albums and at least four hit singles later, Edward Bear packed it in and although Evoy rebuilt the band twice it was disbanded in 1974 following a disastrous tour of high school gigs and three club venues.
By the mid-70s, admits Paul Weldon - who played keyboards - "I was in my mid-30s. My wife and I were expecting our first child, and I had an architectural career to tend to."
Evoy went on to a semi-successful solo career but is currently retired. Former member Danny Marks has continued a very successful career as a blues guitar veteran. Paul Weldon, a six year veteran of the band, performs with a jazz combo and teaches at Seneca College in Toronto. Bill Loop, bassist in the early seventies, resides in south-western Ontario and plays locally with various session musicians. He also teaches guitar
Recommended compilation: The Edward Bear Collection Capitol-EMI of Canada 1991 CD available from Amazon UK.