After the dissolution of their eponoymous project which lasted one album effort in ’82, Hugh Leggatt (also of Lords of London, Nucleus, A Foot In Cold Water and Private Eye) and brother Gord, also of Private Eye previously all but dropped out of the music scene, occasionally popping up on others’ recordings and doing the odd show here and there.
They resurfaced in the early 00’s with a new project, bluesy and twangy – ballsy and rockin’. The band was rounded out with Mississippi Hippies with vocalist John Dickie, whose previous credits included The Prima Donnas, The Cameos, Mondo Combo and Piledriver back in the 70’s. The seasoned road veteran also toured with the likes of The Neville Brothers, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Buddy Guy and Albert Collins.
The true to life Yonge Street Warrriors, the band kind of hung around the Toronto area after forming in 2003, playing gigs here and there and recording in the studio on days off. They signed a deal with the independent Big Smoke Records and released their self-titled debut in 2005, a collection of uptempo blues numbers in the vein of The Kentucky Headhunters or Fabulous Thunderbirds, maybe crossed with everything from Blue Oyster Cult to The Isley Brothers.
The album was well-received not just in traditional hotbeds for rehashed Chicago blues, but overseas as well. All originals, the songs reflected the guys’ influences, and Hugh’s guitar riffs echoed those of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and Beck. The lead off “Rockalator” is overpowered by a straight ahead piano driving rhythm reminiscent of Jerry Lee or Little Richard. “Don’t Touch My Hair,” a Chicago-style blues number, complete with harmonica solo – is so genuine it sounds like it should have been part of the Blues Brothers movie soundtrack.
The organ (yes, organ) sets the pace during “Funky Little Thang” and features vocals harmonies that sound like they were exorcised from your favourite Motown artists from days gone by, when the artist’s music stood on its own. Other noteable tracks included “Sci-Fi Baby,” “Luv Pad,” “96 Miles,” and “I Ain’t Got The Blues” – eerily reminiscent of
They continued on the circuit off and on, and in 2008 released a string of videos on YouTube, which had become staples of their live shows – “It Hurts Me Too,” “Night Train,” and “Don’t Start Me Talkin’.”
MISSISSIPPI HIPPIES (2005)
Funky Lil’ Thang
Don’t Touch My Hair
I Ain’t Got The Blues