Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Artist: Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Album: Sister Anthony, Song: The Little Vagabond

"But if at the church they would give us some ale and a pleasant fire, our souls to regale.  We'd sing and we'd pray all the live long day nor ever once wish from the church to stray."  The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir were an 8pc (and perhaps more than that at times) from Toronto, Ontario that began performing in 1985.  A truly independent band that sweated it out on the bar scene for a decade at least.  Their first three releases were cassette only productions and often distributed at their shows.  Sister Anthony was one of them and was recorded and released in 1990.  Through video play, indie/campus radio and a song included on the soundtrack of the Bruce McDonald film, Highway 61, the band attracted interest from Yonder Records.  This would help them attain better distribution for their two later releases in 1992 and 1995.  It also enabled this release, Sister Anthony, to be re-issued on CD in 1995.  The song, Little Vagabond, is a William Blake poem set to music.  It sounds like it was recorded in a pub and brings back memories of artists like Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues.  The band would go through a number of line up changes through the years and in 1995, actually relocated to New York to try and improve their career.  They broke up shortly thereafter and two members, Chris Brown and Kate Fenner would attempt to continue the band as a duo.  Most of the members remain active in music and became members of other Canadian bands or successful session players.  This band's fingerprints are all over a number of Canadian acts like Broken Social Scene and Tom Cochrane.  Ani DiFranco and Gordie Johnson have worked on their releases and Howie Beck was actually a member of the band in the nineties.  Today, their music is only available second hand.  At the time of this blog, there were no copies available of Sister Anthony.  The band has released a Best of compilation which includes the song, The Little Vagabond.  There were copies for sale on Amazon between $45 and $115.  You can also download an episode of The Rawside Of.... series on Itunes that features the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir.  You can hear the song, The Little Vagabond, on You Tube (  As always, you can hear this song as well as others that I blog about each day on Live 365 (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!