Cool Fool, Blues Rockin' The Hammer

a lifetime spent living the Blues in Hamilton (The Hammer), Canada

Sleeping Hedgehog (Dave)

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Doug Carter: Cool Fool: Blues Rockin’ in the Hammer

By David, on January 25th, 2011

Right off the top let me tell you that “The Hammer” is where I’ve lived for most of my life.  It’s the nickname for Hamilton, Ontario, like the Big Apple, or the Big Smoke.  We’re The Hammer, or Hammertown.  It resonates with us, sounds tough, and blue collar, and represents our steel city roots.  Now that the steel plants aren’t making steel, the air’s a lot cleaner.  The music business has always been an important sideline around here.  Since way back.  Duke Ellington recorded a live album here back in the day.  All the bands came to Hammertown.  And anybody who could strum three chords tried to put a band together.

Now that you have some background I’ll tell you about this new book.  It’s called Cool Fool and it’s written by Doug Carter, who for forty years or so played in some of the town’s best blues bands, and witnessed a whole lot more!  The story is all here in under 200 pages, with pictures and memories just flooding the pages.  And it sounds like that’s the way Doug wrote it.  The stories virtually explode off the page, told with passion and excitement.  Maybe Doug thought he might forget something so he wrote it all down as fast as he could.  Normally I wouldn’t like that, I’d be looking for some literary quality, even style to carry the narrative.  But Cool Fool reads like a stream of consciousness yarn spun by someone who was there.

It’s been said ‘if you remember the 60s…you weren’t there’ but lots of people have been making the effort recently.  Even Keith Richards has an autobiography coming out in a couple of weeks!  Carter recalls just enough to make you wish you were standing next to him, as King Biscuit Boy (Richard Newell) was though many of these adventures.  You’ll read about Muddy Waters playing in a bar in Buffalo, about Ronnie Hawkins, Guitar Mikey, Harrison Kennedy, Fraser Loveman, Tom Wilson and more.  These are names that are familiar locally, and globally.  If you don’t know Tom Wilson, think Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, or LeE HarVEy OsMoND.  Fraser Loveman doesn’t ring a bell?  I’ll never forget his tenure in The Village STOP or the blues of the Fraser Loveman Group.  Harrison Kennedy is putting out solid blues CDs today, after singing for the Chairmen of the Board back in the day.  And on it goes.

It’s maybe not the book for everybody, but if you want an honest look at a musician’s life, you’ll find it all right here.    It won’t be easy to get, but you can order it from The Book Band.  Tell ‘em David sent ya!

Written by Doug Carter

March 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm

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