The marquis squared for mocm


Origin: Niagara Falls, Ontario, 🇨🇦

Steve Burnside and The Marquis have been kicking around the Niagara border music scene for a long time now. In fact, since rock’s formative years, the late 1950s, right to the present time. They are still a regular fixture in the area, already looking to entertain the crowds all winter long at the Dunn St. Grill, Dunn St., Niagara Falls.

In an interview a few years back, I asked him what has kept the band going for such a long time.

“I attribute it to not losing sight of who and where we really are,” he said. “We watch our audience and try to learn things that this age group of over 40 will find entertaining. We are always accessible.”

1958 – The Marquis are formed; tour extensively, making stops at various local dance halls. This leads to being discovered by US blues artist Jimmy Ray.

1960 – Record Hop Blues/Shortenin’ Bread, released as an acetate single by Audiodisc.

1961-1964 – Played backup on many studio recordings.

1963 – Toured with The Orlons (South Street) and Freddy Cannon (Palisades Park) among others.

1965 – Band recruited Lynda Brick.

1966 – The Marquis recorded Rockin’ Crickets, a standout cover single so well crafted, it could beat the original (1959) by The Hot-Toddys as the best version ever made. Steve Burnside explained to me how the record ended up being made:

“The flip side of Rockin’ Crickets is Get Her Out Of There, a sort of Junior Walker sounding tune; a vocal duet with Lynda Brick and myself. Dave Hall played saxophone in a style that was hip at the time. Many radio stations played Get Her Out Of There as the A-side. We worked at Arc Records in Toronto from about 1963 to 1965, and released Dancin’ Party, produced by Tony DiMaria with the flip, Treat Me Right, produced by our own Mike Addario. Also, we recorded our first album ever, at Arc Records produced by Dick Dale and The Del-Tones. After all the work, Bob had a disagreement with Arc and the album was never released. Because of the amount of recording we’d already done, the sax player Dave Hall, Mike Addario and myself bought an Ampex recording equipment and decided to record Rockin’ Crickets ourselves. It was recorded in the lounge at the Four Winds Motel in Sault Ste. Marie on a Sunday afternoon in 1966. The Canadian Artists Records label was owned by The Marquis. We did our own distribution, we contacted by mail and phoned hundreds of record stores across Canada and New York. It was a full-time job. We mailed 45s directly to the stores ... money came directly to us (for a change).”

1967-1969 – As a result of shows with Canadians Gordon Lightfoot and Rich Little, The Marquis landed their first U.S. tour.

1970-1995 – Played all over the US; forever refining their sound.

1998 - Rockin’ Crickets was re-released in Europe, prompting anew interest for The Marquis.

1999 – Steve Burnside and the Original Marquis recorded the CD, Even The Blues, for the Prospect label. Tracks include Something You Got penned by Chris Kenner.

2003 – CD The Blues Collection was released.

2004 – CD I Just Ain’t No Good At All was released.

2007 – CD Story Teller Of The Blues was recorded. Steve Burnside presented with the Muddy Waters Entertainer of the Year Award from Blue Beat magazine.

2012 - 10th anniversary of The Steve Burnside Summertime Blues; a series of free concerts in Niagara Falls.

2015 – Still rocking and playing the blues to much success.

Note: Not to be overlooked, the original 1959 driving force behind Rockin’ Crickets belongs to Bill Pernell (originally from Belleville, Ontario) on sax and on the flip, Shakin’ And Stompin, a great up-tempo dynamite side, featuring Big John on vocals. Actually, Big John Little (born near Niagara Falls, Ontario), with his band The Rockers were The Hot-Toddys.

Andrew Merey is a Whitby resident who’s interested in music and movie history. He has contributed articles to This Week since 2003. You can reach him at .

Lynda Michaels (Inverary, Ontario): lead vocals, mellotron
Chuck Lee (Welland, Ontario): vocals, bass
Stephen Burnside (Toronto, Ontario): vocals, guitar
Michael Shalek (Massachusetts, USA): drums, percussion
Walt Sokil (Welland, Ontario): vocals. piano, synth, harmonies



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The Shillings (circa 1968) Their official promo picture for The Bud Matton Agency. Pictured with Danny Sibbald seated in front is L to R frat brother Tommy Wells, Walter Sokil, and frat brother Wayne Labatt.

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The Marquis official 1965 promo shot for The Billy O'Connor Agency. Top row L to R Ralph Lorenz, Lynda Michaels, and Dave Hall. Front row L to R: Steve Burnside and frat brother Mike Addario

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The MARQUIS playing a Frat dance at the Casa Dante circa 1962. Left to right: Steve Burnside, Frat Brother Mike Addario, and Dave Hall.

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Ron Murray and Rose Kuruziak dance for 24 hours to take top prize - a transistor radio! Al Labatt and Phyllis Wilson take 2nd prize - a record album!

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The fabulous and powerful Sting Rays (circa 1965) rocked many of our frat dances. Left to right: Al Shemko, Aden Smith, Dan Sibbald, George Racine, and Frat Brother Larry Labatt.

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Eleven Brothers Give Blood (March, 1964). Pictured top to bottom: Jesse Berencsi, Bill Berencsi, Bob Dixon, Barry Wells, Butch Carry, and John Kuruziak. Not shown: Gary Wild, Al Labatt, Dennis Cuningham, Dennis Hughes, and Jim Potyok.

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The Jazzman Trio (AKA: The Beatniks). Left to right: Frat Brothers Art Yacyshyn (bass), Barry Wells (bongos), and Wayne Labatt (guitar) at a Casa Dante dance. This was a memorable and rare public performance by three talented frat brothers.

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Tommy Wells gets stuffed with cotton candy at the "old" Welland Fair by Margo Collins and Sylvia Porcarao.

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A tribute celebration to honor Gates Grenier while he battled cancer was attended by over one hundred musicians, friends and frat brothers. Pictured here is Gates surrounded by former Spartan musicians including Frat Brother Gary Babin.

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The very popular Spartans (circa 1964) were regulars at our frat dances. Pictured bottom row from left: Marcel Fontaine and Frat Brother Paul Poulin. Top row from left Gates Grenier, Tom Skinner, and Leon Prevost.

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The smooth sounds of the Wayne Douglas Quintet (circa 1966) was made up completely of Frat Brothers: Front row L to R is Bob Thibodeau and Larry Labatt. Back row L to R is Wayne Labatt, Paul Poulin, and Tom Wells. This is called "The Gangsta Pose."

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The Marquis

The marquis squared for mocm



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