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Innes, Dixie Lee

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Origin: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Calgary, Alberta - Victoria, British Columbia
Biography:

Though born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan , Dixie Lee Stone relocated to Calgary with her family as a young child. While playing small coffee houses like The Pig’s Eye at the same time as undiscovered performers like Joni Anderson (later to be Joni Mitchell) and David Wiffen she managed a recording deal with Calgary label Sotan Records (home of The Echo Tones – featuring future members of the Stampeders). She recorded one single entitled “Come To Me” b/w “That’s How Sad Things Go” in 1966 shortly before meeting future husband Bruce Innes and his North Country Singers (featuring Graham Bruce on bass and Joseph Cavender on drums). She was soon asked to join the group and they immediately set out on a cross Canada tour, eventually going to the US where they picked up second guitarist Bliss Mackie in Portland, Oregon, before settling in Los Angeles and changing their name to THE ORIGINAL CASTE. Through Innes’s former label, Dot Records, they recorded two singles including “I Can’t Make It Anymore” (1968) which was less than a blip on the music industry radar. However, after signing with TA Records, a label distributed by Bell Records (Columbia), in 1969, Innes met writers Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who would produce The Original Caste’s first album. They struck pay dirt after releasing the duo’s “One Tin Soldier” that same year. The song made No. 6 on RPM Weekly chart and No. 34 on the Billboard Top-40 and went to No.1 on the CHUM Chart. They charted even higher with “Mr. Monday” which hit No. 4 on RPM Weekly’s chart and No. 3 on the CHUM Chart in Canada. The two singles combined, worldwide, sold over three million copies. Despite the failure of “Mr. Monday” to chart in the US, they landed opening slots for the likes of BB King and Glen Campbell south of the border and made numerous TV appearances. “One Tin Soldier” had a revival of sorts in 1972 when it was featured in the movie ‘Billy Jack’, however it was not the Original Caste on the soundtrack but rather American band Coven featuring singer Jinx Dawson. The singles made another round at radio and had significant sales after being re-issued. The husband and wife team of Dixie Lee and Bruce Innes would record together and as solo artists as a continued extension of their Original Caste recording contract through Bell. Dixie released a solo album called ‘Dixie Lee Innes Of The Original Caste’ featuring some of the biggest US session men including Larry Carlton, James Burton and a very young Michael McDonald (who would go on to be in the Doobie Brothers). With a switch to Century II Records out of Canada, the new four-piece version of the group (now with Gary Carlson on bass and Tom Doran on drums) released the ‘Back Home’ album in 1974. The new version of Original Caste toured into the mid-1970’s. Dixie Lee took time to record another solo album in Montréal in 1977. ‘Chinook’ was released on the indie label PRP Records. When the band made its final split in 1980 so did the Innes’; Dixie remarried and became a social worker in Vancouver, British Columbia.
-Bruce Innes

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Innes, Dixie Lee

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