We can trace “house music’ in Canadian music back to the 60’s. THE BAND, who spent years playing rockabilly & blues with Ronnie Hawkins left to tour as Bob Dylan’s backing band on a European tour. Exhausted after years of intensive touring, they retreated to the countryside in an area near Woodstock New York. They rented a strange, pink coloured house for $125/month. They nicknamed it “Big Pink”. It was a perfect place for them to woodshed, experiment and write. They moved their gear into the basement and created a makeshift recording studio. Dylan lived just down the street and would come over every night. They would experiment with a wide range of styles, many of them seeping into the 100 plus songs they recorded, some of which were released as The Basement Tapes. With Hawkins & Dylan they were called The Hawks but around Woodstock, the town folk simple referred to them as “the band” and it stuck. THE BAND would record two legendary rock albums in the old house: Music At Big Pinkand The Band.
Drummer Levon Helm would return to Woodstock decades later to settle down. He built his home next to barn which he designed to have as an oversized but intimate living room with a small stage. The performances are called “The Midnight Ramble Sessions” and are free to everyone to play and watch. Everybody from The Black Crowes to Jackson Brown have played or recorded there.
CROWBAR @Bad Manors
Ronnie Hawkins had a good ear for talent and ended up recruiting another band of crack musicians. CROWBAR, like The Band, outgrew Rompin’ Ronnie and moved into a farmhouse on a 25-acre farm on Old Mohawk Rd. in Ancaster Ontario, just outside of Hamilton. It became known to friends and fans as Bad Manors. It too was a place where the band and friends would live and create music. Crowbar’s debut album was named after the farmhouse, Bad Manorswith the hit “Oh What A Feeling”. The album was one of the biggest selling albums of 1970 and the song recently inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The House of Ill Fame - Music From Big Pink - Bad Manors….Are you seeing a pattern here.