WHO STOLE THE SOUL? THE DEATH OF RHYTHM AND BLUES IN VANCOUVER
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor -in-Chief
PHILADELPHIA PA and VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA (www.basnnewsroom.com)
Approximately a year ago, Emily Chambers performed at a venue on Hastings Street in East Vancouver. Over 150 well-wishers crammed the venue to cheer for Ms. Chambers (pictured below) who has a nice stage presence and some original material presented with a soulful bent.
As she continued her performance, Chambers (as she was segueing through introductions of her band members) announces that she is taking her lead guitarist with her – to Nashville.
As some of the crowd’s oohs and ahhs add to an atmosphere of disappointment and support, a reality over fifty years born here in this supposed sleepy fishing village begins anew, which began with the bearded gentleman in the ball cap…
Chambers would come to realize what others had known since the late 1960s – attempting to do soul…even the blue-eyed variety…was not gonna fly in British Columbia.
Greyhound and gravitas brought a supremely confident Black teenager from Edmonton, Canada to Vancouver in in 1965, Jason Henderson, whose affinity with the stage was connected as far back as age ten, would literally step off the bus, and step into stardom as front man of the best soul/R & B band in Vancouver.
While 1965 wasn’t offering pedigrees to the world at large, soul music was doing its best to impact the world, especially important since the United States were finally forced to check their humanity in full exposure of inhumane acts the whole world saw.
Beyond the Depression – era “Race Music” until the morphing into ‘Rhythm and Blues’ in the early 1950s, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and others inspired to musically translate saw this too; but how this localized into North America via Vancouver is the real story…
In 1965, anything artistic west of Toronto seemed to be geared to head East toward Toronto – at least artistically. Born near Edmonton, the man to eventually
become Jayson Hoover caught the attention of Canada, decided to stay in the west – and headed instead to Vancouver.
Between playing football and doing Elvis cover tunes with his first band in his early teens, Jayson knew his future lay far away from the Bonnie Doon section of Edmonton. “A family member told me there was no way I was not gonna make it musically staying in Edmonton,” recalls Henderson. “The decision was an inevitability – it simply came down to where.”
Once in Vancouver, Hoover sang for his supper while sizing up his competition; and it didn’t take long for him to connect and later become lead singer for the hottest rhythm and blues band in Canada.
Next Time: Jayson, Bobby and the Birth of a ‘Vancouver Sound?’
always outnumbered…never outgunned.