When not playing personal injury lawyer, I turn to my real passions - music, art and photography (see flickr+musiknlaw).
Career highlights: singing with Little Richard in his hotel room and getting the recording 25 years later!
Opening for Pierre Trudeau on his first tour of duty.
This cd, baby, has been a long time coming but there's more to follow if you buy this one! Thanks.
Taking a Dive includes 14 tracks of personal favourites listed below on the CD jacket. Peter Sarstedt of Where Do You Go To My Lovely fame sings harmony on Don't Think Twice (It's All Right) and The Last Thing On My Mind. Well known performers, Nonie Crete and Kim Boyce also add harmony vocals. Numerous other musicians listed on the sleeve showcase their talents on the album which was mastered by Brett Zilahy at Carvallo Studios in Toronto. Running time of the CD is about 46 minutes.
Part of the proceeds of each sale goes to Parkinson Society Canada.
Ralph McTell, who wrote "Streets of London" and two of the songs on this CD (see below) had this to say about TAKING A DIVE:
Thank you for including two of my songs on your CD. I think you have a great voice and hope you continue to sing and make music for a very long time to come. I trust that the onset of your illness will not prevent you from enjoying your obvious talent and eye for a good song!! I am honoured to be in company with Peter Sarstedt and Tom Paxton (both old friends). I think you are very suited to an uncluttered production as not very many folks have as good a natural voice quality as you. I wish you every success with your record and thanks again for sensitve renditions of my two songs.
And from Bill Staines:
Received the cd. and enjoyed "Roseville Fair" very much. Thanks for recording it.
And Tom Paxton:
Thanks very much for the CD and your recordings of my songs. Much appreciated! Distribution is really tough these days, but I wish you all the luck with it.
Review from the Eugene Weekly July 2007
Oregon Country Fair 2007
Heart First, Music Second
Folk musician Peter Thompson gives back through music
by Amanda Burhop
There are lots of reasons musicians like to play the Oregon Country Fair: large audiences, outside venues, fellow musicians to chat with and like-minded spectators to appreciate the music. And for the most part, everyone's in a good mood — maybe it's the vitamin D from all that sun exposure. But some musicians play music because it allows them to give something back to the community.
Folk musician and personal-injury lawyer Peter Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about five years ago. While news of this nature is startling and devastating, Thompson has remained positive and has taken a proactive stance in helping others fight the disease. His latest release, Taking a Dive (Heart First), is a collection of cover songs, loaded with guest singers and musicians, that includes covers of traditional folk and bluegrass songs from artists like Bob Dylan and Tom Paxton. But unlike most albums, a portion of its proceeds will benefit the Parkinson's Society of Canada.
In selecting songs for the album, Thompson had a specific theme in mind. "It goes from the freewheeling days to falling in love, settling in with children and pets, getting older, drifting apart, remorse at the loss and finally getting up and carrying on," Thompson says. In reflecting the various stages in life, the album offers something for everyone and succeeds at creating listening pleasure for children as well as older folks.
But listening to the album, one can't help but be saddened by Thompson's diagnosis. Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs when bodies stop producing the movement-controlling chemical dopamine. Dopamine carries signals between nerves in the brain, and when the cells that produce dopamine die, symptoms like tremors and rigidity of muscles become apparent. Dopamine also controls moods, and without it, people experience bouts of depression. Currently there is no cure for the disease, but Parkinson's researchers all over the world are working to find one.
The Parkinson's Society of Canada, which will benefit from sales of Thompson's album, is a national, nonprofit charity run by volunteers who raise money for research, develop educational and informational materials and work to "ease the burden and find a cure."
OK, so most of us aren't doctors or loaded with tons of money that we can give freely to charitable organizations. But Peter Thompson is a great example of the ways we can contribute individually. In addition to his donated album sales, Thompson works with people every day who struggle with insurance companies and other legal issues. If you would like to purchase his album, copies are available on his website, www.peterthompson.ca— or buy one in person at his appearance at the Fair. He plays from 1 to 3 pm Saturday in front of Café Lafayette.
1. My Ramblin' Boy (Paxton) Cherry Lane Publishing
This is my favourite Tom Paxton song. He also wrote the beautiful Last Thing on My Mind. I first heard it while driving alone in the middle of the night, miles from nowhere, in the mountains of Spain, trying to get to England for Christmas 1974. I think of that loneliness and longing for someone and some place warm when I sing it and of those friends a person can count on whenever and wherever the road may lead. The imagery in the song reminds me of John Hartford's classic vagabond tune Gentle on My Mind.
2. After The Battle Of Aughrim (Trad.)
The fiddler on this traditional toe-tapper is Dr. Gerald Levine, my GP, who taught me the tune. It was a staple in our eclectic repetoire when performing as Thom and Gerry in the Barrie area. The rest of the instruments are played by me. If you listen carefully, you will hear the rhythm beans that I picked from a tree in Cuba. It's a good tune for my daughters to practice their Highland Dancing.
3. Sittin' On Top of the World (Trad.)
This recording was a spur of the moment event in the studio with John Glover (Humber River Valley Boys), John Saunders (Big Red Ford, Cooper Bros.), cousin Dr. Mike (Big O) Dawson and me doing a one take live recording. Larry Smith (HRVB) added the hot guitar solo later. I always liked the "so what, I can do better" upbeat lyrics of this song which beats sitting around feeling sorry for one's self when the break up comes.
4. Roseville Fair (Staines)
Bill Staines (www.acousticmusic.com/staines) wrote this idyllic song about an evening in Minneapolis. He is a gifted songwriter and performer who now lives in New Hampshire
5. Randy Sparks of The New Christy Minstrels wrote this folk classic with the traditional English imagery and language many years ago but it stuck with me as kind of a life philosophy of enjoying the beauty of the moment and hope that it lasts. John Denver and John McDermott have also recorded it. Nonie Crete (www.noniecrete.com) puts three part harmony together in the last chorus and I add fourth and fifth.
6. Kids (McCabe)
My high school friend, Dave McCabe (www.encoresports.com), taught school for several years in Alberta. He used to ask his students to give him song ideas. Kids is a nice, realistic look at life through the eyes of youth. When it was released as a single in 1986, some stations wore out their copies playing the song in answer to requests of parents from Hamilton to Yellowknife.
7. It Followed Me Home (Can I Keep It?) (McCabe)
Another of Dave's songs. The natural next step in raising a family---adding a pet. For us, it was a nasty rabbit and an overdeveloped white rat!
8. Yesterday's Children (Thompson)
I wrote this about my father in 1980 when he was often longing for more carefree days of his own childhood. In December of 2005, he told me he wanted me to be there when he "handed in his dinner pail." He died as I was holding him on February 6, 2006.
9. Terminus (Ralph McTell)"On another platform there's a train, same old scene is to be shot again"...with eyes shut, I see myself standing in a train station in Europe saying goodbye and wondering if we will ever meet again. One of Ralph McTell's most haunting songs.
10. The Last Thing on my Mind (Paxton)
The sad regrets we face at the end of the romance or the relationship or the marriage. Peter Sarstedt and Nonie fill out the chorus on this track.:
11. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? (Sarstedt) Mortimer Music
Peter Sarstedt (www.petersarstedt.com) wrote this one of a kind rags to riches love song of the girl who joins the jet set with its plastic people and lifestyle. He wrote to me that he liked my rendition of his song and sent me the Spanish version he was working on at the time. He said that the only other cover of it that he had heard was by Tim Rose and that it "sounded like he had Jimi Hendrix's band for backup on it". Everyone has his or her own interpretation of the song and guesses at who was the inspiration for the lyrics. I now know but I am not about to tell tales. You will have to ask the other Peter via his website at www.petersarstedt.com . After losing track of each other for about 20 years, we reconnected over the internet and he subsequently added his voice to two tracks on the CD.
12. The Broom o' the Cowdenknowes (Trad.)
I don't know what the words mean but I'm sure they're nice. My kids thought "herding her father's ewes" was "hurting her father's yells". Archie Fisher did the first version I heard of this 18th century Scottish shepherd's love song. Doc Levine fills it out with an amazing fiddle solo in the middle. Alas, the lad does not get the lass in the end as her father banishes him.
13. The Grande Affaire (McTell) Leola Publishers
I wish I had written this hauntingly sad Ralph McTell (Streets of London) song. I sure feel like I lived it a few times. This was recorded in a leaky converted chicken coop in Port Moody, B.C. at about two in the morning with just the right edge and memories of travels in Europe in more carefree days. Ralph was kind enough to send me words of encouragement from his home in England when he listened to the CD. I highly recommend his Live album which he recorded in Sydney, Australia.
14. Don't Think Twice (Dylan)
I chose this to close with as proof that Life goes on after all. Surfacing from the dive. Peter Sarstedt thought that maybe his friend, Mr.. Dylan, could use some more royalties! Enjoy the album!