Archive for September, 2015

The Séguin brothers – Oxford Town

Robert et Richard Séguin

Bob and Richard Séguin

P.E. Trudeau once said that living next to the U.S.A. was like sleeping next to an elephant – you can’t help but be affected by what it does. In the 60s, we had mixed feelings about our southern neighbours: we loved the music, we hated the politics. It was a time of bigotry, racial riots, lynchings and murder. Such was the state of civil rights in the U.S.

I’ve heard it said that the purpose of art is to hold a mirror up to the face of the world. If so, the greatest artist of the 60s was Bob Dylan. Dylan took the folk music scene by storm at the start of the decade with his “protest songs”, of which “Oxford Town” was a prominent one.

“Oxford Town” was written for the James Meredith incident. On October 1, 1962, James Meredith, a black man, entered the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford as a student, the first African-American to do so. Meredith’s enrollment to the university sparked controversy and riots throughout Oxford. President John F. Kennedy sent U.S. Marshals to the campus and later, as the riots turned violent, the U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Army military police, and the Mississippi National Guard. It was a battle siege. When the tumult finally settled, hundreds were injured and two men were dead. James Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963 with a degree in political science.

Richie Havens 1941-2013

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Dylan wrote “Oxford Town” in 1962, a deliciously subversive song played in a major key, with a happy melody contrasting the dark lyrics. In 1966, Richie Havens, one of Woodstock’s favourite sons, completely transformed the song into a brooding black civil rights anthem, sung in a minor key. Our version of “Oxford Town” is inspired by the late and great Richie Havens’ brilliant rendition of the song.

Roch Tassé

Roch Tassé

With this piece we can also introduce our collaborating musicians. Some of you may remember Roch Tassé, who played percussion on my first recordings. A long-time friend, Roch will add drums, congas and other percussion instruments to a number of our future recordings. I’ve known Paul Sorensen for almost 20 years and even as a 14-year-old, it was easy to see that he was a born musician.

Paul Sorensen

Paul Sorensen

Paul, a member of the Toronto Reggae/Afrobeat band The Fugitive Minds, will enhance some of our recordings with his excellent bass playing. Check out The Fugitive Minds website at://thefugitiveminds.com/

These musicians will form an acoustic band for some of our upcoming recordings, but this is our electric band. So turn up your speakers and listen to our version of “Oxford Town.”

 

Bob Séguin – voice
Richard Séguin – electric and acoustic guitars
Paul Sorensen – electric bass guitar
Roch Tassé – drums, congas, shaker

 

Oxford Town

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The Séguin brothers – Across the Universe

 

Brothers 1 Crop_1150

In the 60s, my brother Bob was the leader, guitarist and singer in a rock group with which I took my first steps as a musician at the age of 15. My brother liked Gerry and the Pacemakers so we were called Robbie and the Trendsetters, later on simply The
Trend. Even though my life went in different directions than that of my brother’s, we were always very close. Now, after all these years, we want to reconnect with the music of our youth and present you with some new recordings. Also in The Trend was guitarist Tom Butterworth, who lent us his Wendover studio to record my brother’s voice.

John Lennon 1940-1980

John Lennon
1940-1980

The 60s decade was a period of great and tumultuous socio-cultural changes and the new popular music was at the forefront of those changes. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance and breadth The Beatles had in the everyday lives of us all at that time. As the music of the Beatles matured from the innocence of their early years to the sophistication of their masterpieces, young people followed in their tracks and emerged as adults. Beatles music was part of the repertoire of many amateur groups like ours and we marvelled at their exotic chords and their inspired melodies.

I remember the morning of the 9th of December, 1980. I was driving to work when I heard on the radio that John Lennon had been assassinated in New York the previous evening. There is little to say about this senseless tragedy, just another chapter in the endless book of human folly.

In the following weeks, we will present you with a series of recordings of songs we like, some accompanied by guest musicians. Looking back, my brother and I both feel that the only place to start is with The Beatles and we’ve chosen “Across the Universe” from the eventful year of 1969 – it was the best of times (Woodstock), it was the worst of times (Charlie Manson). Firmly in the Beatles’ repertoire, the song will nevertheless always be associated with its author, John Lennon, the man who sings that nothing’s going to change his world, the man who really did change the world.

Bob & Richard

Bob & Richard

Here is our version of John Lennon’s classic “Across the Universe.”

 

Bob Séguin: voice

Richard Séguin: acoustic guitars, MIDI guitar (cellos, synthesizer), mandolin.

 
Across the Universe

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