Playlist: Episode 162

I was away at the first ever Kingsville Folk Music Festival on August 9 (Episode 162). DJ MacDee once again stepped up to keep Folk Roots Radio rolling along. I hope you enjoyed the show. Now enjoy his playlist!

I stopped doing my own show on CFRU and starting to be a regular substitute for others back in 1992. It was getting harder to keep the show fresh with other demands for my time. Certainly one of the benefits and pleasures in programming a radio show is learning about artists and music that you would never have heard of before. The downside is that it is a lot of work. Subbing in gives me advance warning and time to prepare. But … as a substitute programmer there is the pressure to match the regular host’s format and quality. Which is a challenge if you are substituting for Jan Hall on Folk Roots Radio.

This week’s mystery theme was “Railroads”. I was listening to some streaming blues when I heard Chas & Dave‘s “Railroad Bill”, which I immediately liked triggering the idea for this week’s mystery theme. I had never heard of Chas & Dave, although I expect Jan has. They’re a long time folk/blues duo in Britain with 30 albums since 1974, counting a recently released box set. As I did not want to give away the theme too soon, I began with the Commitments’ “Destination Anywhere” which references a Station Master. Starting the show with Tannis Slimmon‘s “Underground Railway” may have given it away anyway.

The movie, The Commitments, is about forming an “Soul” music group in Dublin Ireland. It’s a good story with great music and an unfortunate constant use of the “F” word. It is worth a rental if you can get past the swearing.

It’s funny how sometimes things come together almost by themselves. I had originally intended to start the show with “Ernest, Charlie & Allen” by Tannis Slimmon. But after I put the railroad mystery theme together, I though I might as well start off with her “Underground Railroad” from the same album. I subsequently learned that the Guelph Black Heritage Society was hosting an Underground Railroad walking tour as part of their Emancipation Day celebrations, the same day as the show. Cosmic.

I deliberately did not include Gordon Lightfoot in the set. I figured once listeners caught on to the theme, they’d wonder when “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” was going to show up. I wanted to keep them guessing. But how could I not play it? For that reason, it gets to show up later in the show.

Red Moon Road is another group to recently catch my interest. They are in demand for the folk festival circuit and were one of the highlights at this year’s Hillside Festival.

In 2007 James Gordon put out a 4 disc set of anecdotes and some “road” songs. It is a good glimpse into the life on the road for a musician. “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” is a favourite along with his Fall Fair stories. I suppose I could have gone off on a Summer Song tangent, but I reined myself in with just one – Ian Tyson‘s “Summer Wages”.

Listening to Ray La Montagne got me thinking of another set with J.J. Cale and Bruce Cockburn. As Jan was at the Kingsville Folk Music Festival for the weekend, with Bruce headlining on Saturday, well… let’s just call that good planning.

Finishing off the show were songs from their independent artists from Edmonton; J. Eyegenram, Jom Comyn and Local Haunts. One thing about Canada… we’re blessed with musical talent.

Well, that’s about all we have time for this week. Thanks again to DJ MacDee for sitting in, while I was in Kingsville. Thanks MacDee!

You can find the full playlist for the show below. And… thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We’ll see you next week!

You can listen to the show again in the CFRU 93.3fm archive HERE.

Mystery Theme: “Railroads”.

Tannis Slimmon
Undergound Railroad
Lucky Blue (2007, self) CDN

The Commitments
Destination Anywhere
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1991, MCA)

Shane Fisher
The Power of Choice (2010, self)

Chas & Dave
Railroad Bill
That’s What Happens (2013, Warner Bros.)

Jonas Fjeld & Chatham County Line
Western Harmonies (2013, Sony Music Norway)

Notting Hillbillies
Railroad Worksong
missing … presumed having a good time (1990, Warner Bros.)

Doc Watson
Blue Railroad Train
Southbound (1990, Vanguard)

Livingston Taylor
Railroad Bill
Unsolicited Material (1994, Whistling Dog)

Josh White
Midnight Special
The Best of Josh White (1970, Electra)

Jerry Jeff Walker
Railroad Lady
20th Century Masters – The Best of Jerry Jeff Walker (2002, MCA Nashville)

Little Miss Higgins & The Winnipeg Five
Heavy Train
Bison Ranch Recording Sessions (2013, self) CDN

Gordon Lightfoot
Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Gord’s Gold (1975, Warner Bros.) CDN

Red Moon Road
Do or Die
Red Moon Road (2012, self) CDN

Red Moon Road
Mighty Glad You Came
Single (2013, Web Release) CDN

James Gordon
My Stars Your Eyes (2009, Borealis) CDN

James Gordon
What I Did On My Summer Vacation
The Road and I (2007, Borealis) CDN

Ian Tyson
Summer Wages
Cowboyography (Stony Plain, 1986) CDN

Ray La Montagne
Hey Me, Hey Mama
Gossip In The Grain (RCA, 2008)

J.J. Cale
Crazy Mama
The Definitive Collection (Universal, 1997)

Bruce Cockburn
Mama Just Wants To Barrelhouse All Night Long
Slice O Life (True North, 2009) CDN

J. Eyegenram
All Of My Friends
Edmonton Is Awesome (indie: Old Coal, 2014) CDN

Jom Comyn
Wish Upon A Storm
Edmonton Is Awesome (indie: Old Coal, 2014) CDN

Local Haunts
Desire Lines
Edmonton Is Awesome (indie: Old Coal, 2014) CDN

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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