Self-taught guitarist Myles Cohen and Lenny Solomon, a student of piano and violin from the age of six, began playing together in high school in 1969. They signed with GRT in 1972; "Time to Know Your Friends" appeared later that year. Myles and Lenny was released in 1975, the same year as It Isn't the Same. After breaking up in 1976, Cohen released the solo albums Take a Ride with Me in 1978 and Starting All over Again the following year; Solomon founded a jazz quintet. (AMG)
Mickey Erbe, Brian Russell, Ollie Strong, Maribeth Solomon, Brian Leonard, Saul Keshen
Background vocalists: Lee Harris, Colina Phillips, Laurie Hood, Judy Tate, Laurel Ward
Myles Cohen (lead vocals, guitar) Lenny Solomon (violins, viola, mandolin)
Montréal's Myles Cohen began writing music at age 13 and taught himself guitar which he used to his advantage in several bands around Toronto while in his teens.
Toronto's Lenny Solomon is the son of Toronto Symphony violinist Stanley Solomon. He studied piano at age 6 and violin at age 7. Later he studied music at McGill University, performed with the National Youth Orchestra and was the featured soloist on releases by Flying Circus and Luke Gibson.
Myles and Lenny first teamed up in a Toronto high school where they decided to make the leap to professional musicians in 1969. Their first appearance in public was at the Mariposa Songwriters Conference the same year.
They struggled along as a folk act performing sporadically across Canada before landing a record deal with GRT in 1972. They released the single "Time To Know Your Friends" that year. They toured with The Beach Boys and Savoy Brown and performed at the Mariposa Folk Festival two years running.
Success was not forthcoming, but after switching to Columbia in 1974 they found their audience with the hit song "Can You Give It All To Me" featuring Solomon's haunting violin attack.
The song was featured on the full-length, self-titled CBS records release featuring their stage cohorts Saul Keshen (bass) and Brian Leonard (drums). The cream of the Toronto music crop also helped out: Micky Erbe (bass, arrangements), Brian Russell (guitar), Ollie Strong (pedal steel), Maribeth Solomon (keyboards, flute, synth), and a multitude of backing singers - Lee Harris, Laurie Hood, Colina Phillips, Judy Tate, and Laurel Ward.
A tour ensued featuring the line-up of Cohen, Solomon, Ivan Boudreau (bass), Bill MacKay (drums), and Rick Doyle (guitar). Their hard work paid off with a Juno in 1975 for 'Most Promising Group'.
1975's 'It Isn't The Same' followed with another solid line-up of studio help: Bob Mann (guitar), Doug Riley (piano, organ, calvinet), Micky Erbe (bass), Brian Leonard (bass), Hagood Hardy (vibes), Dick Smith (congas), Patrick McNeilly (steel drum), Maribeth Solomon (piano, synths), David Bromberg (dobro, guitar), Paul Blaney (bass), Charlie McCoy (harmonica), Dick Berg (french horn) and a large backing vocal ensemble in Rhonda Silver, Sharon Lee Williams, Laurel Ward, Judy Tate and Laurie Hood.
But, the album's lack of success convinced Cohen to dissolve the partnership and go solo. He released a self-title solo album on Polydor in 1978. Cohen now lives in California.
Solomon went on to form a jazz quintet called Quintessence and also his own Lenny Solomon Trio. He is currently directing the 'Spamalot Orchestra' as part of the Toronto musical version of Monty Python's 'Spamalot'.
1975 "Can You Give It All To Me" on 'Canada Gold: 22 Karat Hits' (K-Tel) - compilation 1976 "Hold On Lover" on 'Canada's Finest' (K-Tel) - compilation