6 Cylinder was a Vancouver-based group formed in the late 1970s that culminated around veterans of a number of influential West Coast bands throughout the ’60s and ’70s. After Just What The Doctor Ordered had run its course, Wayne Bassett (fiddle, keyboards), bassist Bob Popowich, drummer Lorne Burns, and guitarist Dan Smith were looking for a new project, and teamed up with Ian Berry (sax, piano – ex of The New Breed) and sax and flute player Carl Erickson (ex of The Nocturnals).
Smith, Burns, and Erickson all shared lead vocals duties as they found a niche in the clubs up and down both sides of the border on the West Coast playing a pop/ragtime combination. They eventually caught the attention of Simon Garber and Phil Posner of Goldrush Records, and recorded their self titled debut album in 1979. Mostly Smith and Berry compositions, the record produced one single, Bassett and Erickson’s “Strong Woman’s Love” b/w a cover of the western swing standard “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” (Louis Jordan, BB King, Pat Boone, James Brown, Asleep At The Wheel, Lisa Stansfield, among others).
In 1980, guitarist Geoff Hogg and drummer Peter Padden (ex of The Coachmen) replaced Smith and Burns. They carried on for another year or so, but eventually packed it in and everyone went on to other projects.
Following the band’s demise, Smith and Popowich formed Sweet Dick, which played the circuit until the mid ’00s. After leaving 6 Cylinder, Berry joined Wildroot Orchestra. After that group had run its course in the mid ’80s, he became a session player, working with the likes of John Lee Hooker and Gary Fjellgaard. He died of lung cancer in 2008.
6 CYLINDER (1979)
Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens
Two Time Loser
Strong Woman’s Love
Le Francais 8
Black Mountain Rag
Am I There Yet?