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Saturday, 12 January 2013

█ ♥ █ Canadian Bands: Big Sugar

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Big Sugar
Big Sugar the Canadian blues-rock band was active from 1991 to 2004 and then later from April 2010 since. The band has sold more than half a million albums in Canada.

Big Sugar officially formed in 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, consisting of vocalist and guitarist Gordie Johnson, bassist Terry Wilkins, and drummer Al Cross, though the three musicians had already played together for several years as an informal jam band with members of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, and as a supporting band for Molly Johnson's jazz performances. After Molly Johnson returned to rock music with Infidels, she helped her former bandmates to secure a record deal; their eponymous debut album was released in 1991 on Hypnotic Records.








After Wilkins left the band in 1993, Big Sugar recorded the album Five Hundred Pounds with the help of guest musicians; including harmonica and tenor saxophonist Kelly Hoppe, also known as Mr. Chill. Hoppe brought a blues and old-school r'n'b influence into the band's sound. Hoppe would become an official member of the band in September 1994. He would later add keyboards and melodica to his sideman responsibilities. In July 1994, bassist Garry Lowe joined the band. Lowe had moved to Canada in the mid-1970s from Kingston, Jamaica. Soon after arriving in Toronto, he became an in-demand bass player for touring reggae recording artists. He often accompanied them at Toronto's famed Bamboo club on Queen St.W., among other venues. Lowe was a founding member of "Culture Shock", a popular Toronto reggae band. Johnson, an avid reggae maven (and one-time bass player), had been a fan of Lowe's and was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to join Big Sugar as a full-time member. Also in 1994, Al Cross left the band and was replaced by Stich Wynston, formerly of The Shuffle Demons.


(Click on the above pic to see our video)


Big Sugar had slowly built a reputation as an outstanding live band, and Five Hundred Pounds consolidated it; the album sold 10,000 copies in Canada on the strength of their live shows without any real publicity or radio airplay. During this time, Gordie Johnson also recorded an album as Don't Talk Dance, with Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies and Chris Brown of the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir.



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