Like Puppetry of the Penis, this ultra-rare single by Canada’s Sedum Shadows is a glorious showcase for the organ. Ya gotta hand it to this group – back in 1969, when rock music was crowning new guitar heroes left and right, these guys stuck to their guns and gave their organist center stage. It was a bold move, because really – how many keyboard gods can you name who don’t have a band named after them? Unfortunately, as history proved, it was also a bad move, since neither the Sedum Shadows nor their organist are remembered today by anyone other than you, me and the dude who put together the Complete Canadian Single List 1966-1972 website. And even he’s drawing a blank.
But, as we collectors of rare singles know, “lack of sales” back in 1969 means “hard to find single” in 2012, and that’s certainly the case with this one. Sedum Shadows lone single, “Thinking Away” b/w “Anatomy of a Shadow,” is every bit as rare, if not rarer, than fellow Canadian garage psych bands on the Sir John A label, for example. And surprise, even if you’re not the chairman of the Northeast Chapter of the Keith Emerson Appreciation Society, you can still dig the groovy sounds of the Sedum Shadows, organ solos be damned. Because “Thinking Away” starts off just like the Zombies’ “She’s Not There,” then turns into Michael and the Messengers’ “(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet,” as our organist winds his way around a classic Nuggets-inspired garage pop rhythm that anyone can dig. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention – there’s no vocals. Who needs ‘em anyway when you’ve got all this groovy organ?
Same with the flip, “Anatomy of a Shadow,” which is a great title too by the way. Here, our featured keyboardist of the evening gets into a nifty Little Stevie Winwood vibe, laying down a rumbling soul groove in a dancefloor-friendly workout that recalls early Spencer Davis Group or a Small Faces B-side. There’s some cool acid guitar licks too, and some wild machine gun drum breaks – but it’s still the organist’s show. In fact, I bet his last name is Sedum. Now it all makes sense.
Ray Parker: organ
Ken Lavallet: guitar
Ian Waddel: drums
Bill Briggs: bass
hi Ray, any chance you could help fill in some gaps here? do you know the names of all the band members and what they played? what year did you get together? how did you get together ? where were you guys from? did you play any shows? how long did you stay together? what year was the single cut? do you know where the other band members ended up? any other info you could help me with? thanks kindly,
As I mentioned yesterday I was pretty young when all this was going down. I'll give you what information I can remember.
I'm guessing the year was 1969 'cause I played with Cargo for a short time after that then left for Berlekee in Boston in 1970 to 1972. Ian and Ken were high school buddies living up the street from me. Was friends with Merv Buchanan at the time. These 2 tunes came about because Quality records at the time was looking for a Canadian answer to Booker T who had some major hits around that time. Haven't heard or seen any of these guys since 1970 when I left for Boston. Ian went to U of T to study engineering and Ken I believe took over his father's printing business. As far as gigs go I think we ended up playing a total of 3 gigs......a wedding, a church function, and a dance in Burnt River at the town hall.
I went to West Hill High and then Laurier High. Ken and Ian went to Laurier, and Bill was from Highland creek area. I think the area that Ken, Ian and I were from was called Guildwood Village in the east end of Scarborough.
Produced by Merv Buchanan