Shindig!


HUCKLE
Upon a Once Time
****
Wild Blue Yonder
****
Mapache Records

These two excellent albums by Canadian hippie folky Huckle (ne Kelly Cavanagh) and cohorts

(including a member of Perth County Conspiracy) were pressed in miniscule quantities when

privately pressed in 1974 and ’76 respectively.

Upon a Once Time was recorded piecemeal over various locations and is a natural organic

delight, which has the same joie de vivre about it as the debut Heron album (notably the sweet

“Beyonder”). Mainly acoustic and firmly in the fireside tradition the love, peace and stoned vibe

is both sincere and consoling. Although touching on its key inspirations without caution the album

brims with freak celebration - and more importantly decent tunes and songwriting. Wild Blue

Yonder expands the instrumentation slightly with a bolder sound, verging on Van Morrison and

The Band at times, whilst maintaining the same overall philosophy and spirit of the debut.

JON "MOJO" MILLS

Rock Deluxe

HUCKLE
Upon a Once Time (1974)
Wild Blue Yonder (1976)
Mapache - Wah Wah

Now here is a real discovery. It’s great there are now reissues of classical and pop albums, seminal

pieces of the history of rock, punk, techno and hip hop, in regular or deluxe editions, with

additional songs and alternate takes, and remastered from the original tapes. But even better is

rescuing forgotten works, hidden from our view, albums of interest we know little about. The two

albums released by Huckle are in this category. Independent and existing outside the general

history of rock (psych folk in this case), the Canadian Huckle recorded his first album Upon a

Once Time (1974) with little money, releasing 500 copies and selling them at his shows. With the

second, Wild Blue Yonder (1976), he released only 300 copies. The internet now has many

references to Huckle, who also has his own webpage, but until now he has been less well known

than Sixto Rodriguez, and copies of his albums became collector’s items on the rare vinyl market.

These two reissues from Mapache Records are beautifully pressed on high quality vinyl,  but there

was also a third Huckle release. Real Fantasy, released on cassette only, showcases a musician

very much of his time, a little bit revolutionary, a bit of an innovator, mellow and smooth. The

themes of both albums follow the format of solo voice/guitar or full band, with some echoes of

Tim Buckley, Neil Young and Incredible String Band. Covering a familiar folk landscape with

accompaniment of congas, lightly plucked acoustic guitars, and sprinklings of flutes and violins

with delightful ornamentation (particularly Gabriola Day from the first album), the second album

adds electric guitar, syncopated rhythms, and a move more towards American style folk rock.

QUIM CASAS

Ruta 66

GEMS OF FORGOTTEN FOLK

The brothers Resines are in charge of Mapache Records, producing reissues based in Barcelona,

with Dani Resines the elder brother heading up the projects. After their efforts this past year with

the reissue of Heron’s two albums, now comes their second venture, the complete works of

Canadian singer songwriter Huckle, and the fourth album of Baltimore folkie Bob Lind, two

artists who were part of the folk explosion of the 60s and 70s in North America. Huckle deserves

special mention. He was one of those hippies who was part of the flower power generation of the

late 60s. Working completely independently and performing in concerts and coffee houses, he was

a true bohemian. His first album, Upon a Once Time, was recorded live in 1974 while on a western

Canada tour with the group Perth County (from eastern Canada). With limited time for mixing

and mastering, they created an album of perfect folk, unadorned, intimate, with beautiful

textures, on a level with the first works of Loudon Wainwright III. The second album,

Wild Blue Yonder, was recorded two years later with a band while touring Canada. It leaned

more towards a rock style, with some songs featuring violin, carrying his sound at times into the

territory of Dylan circa Desire and Fairport Convention of Liege & Lief era. Only a few hundred

copies of each album were pressed, and since then have been sold for astounding prices on the

internet.

ANDREU CUNILL

Acid Archives

HUCKLE (Vancouver, Canada)

Upon A Once Time 1974 (Homespun FO 2128)

Huckle’s rarely seen debut contains some of his best material. His band of cosmic hippies are spiritual earth creatures that embrace Mother Nature as their goddess, a mindset evident in their music. Songs like “Hello Sunshine”, “Ocean” and “Flower” have lyrics that reflect their way of life. The live-recorded organic folk and folkrock has a turned-on feel, ranging from plain acoustic and vocals to a full band sound with electric lead guitar on one track, and in between a few songs with just Huckle, flute, hand-drums or second guitar. The music has enough variety in mood, tempo, and instrumentation to keep the listener’s attention. Fans of this style will find Upon A Once Time a solid listen with only a couple of second tier songs. One of my favorites is “Beyonder (The Hymn)”, an intriguing mix of acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo. Huckle switches gears on this song and sings in a falsetto that has an uncanny resemblance to Neil Young. Add the warm background vocals and it is a bona fide winner. Then there’s “The Minstrel Song”, an upbeat folkrocker with backing vocals, acoustic rhythm, electric lead and bass guitars and hand percussion. The lead guitarist has a mesmerizing serpentine technique here that reminds me of the Drendall & Thrower LP. Another catchy tune is “Get Down”, which opens with hippies chatting and babies crying, before Huckle mumbles something about ‘organic song’ and ‘B.C. homegrown’, after which the song kicks off with two well-strummed acoustic guitars rallying together at a steady pace as vocals ramble about coming together and bucking down during hard times. The song is full of positive energy that gives the urge to sing along. Upon A Once Time is a rarity way overdue for a carefully done vinyl reissue. If you get the chance to hear it, be sure to obey the advice on the album’s rear paste-on: ‘This Music Should Be Listened To In A Higher State Of Consciousness’!
                            
Scott ‘Loopden’ Bubrig

Review from The Acid Archives, Second Edition, by Patrick Lundborg 2010.
Reprinted with permission from Lysergia.com
http://www.lysergia.com

Dusty Groove

A great set of rare Canadian psych folk from the early 70s – rawly beautiful work that's way too good to have languished in the purgatories of general obscurity and collectors' hopes and dreams! Upon A Once Time is an all acoustic set, a good deal of it just Huckle's airy voice and guitar, plus some fiddle, mandolin and other spare accompaniment. It's warm and inviting songcraft, too, as opposed to some of the weirder obscure post-hippie sounds of the period – the kind of record that really deserves an audience! Includes "April", "Beyonder", "Lady Goldberry", "The Minstrel Song" and "Ocean".

Record Heaven

First ever vinyl reissue project of Canadian hippy folker Huckle. This first album was recorded with only accoustic instruments in spring of 1974 with the help of some of The Perth County Conspiracy members and had a very limited release. This is one of the finest psych folk albums of the Canadian scene from the 70's. An extremely rare and difficult to find record. It appears on Pokora's Record Collector Dreams Book with 4 stars, and collectors have paid more than $600 for the originals of this impressive crossover between the first Dylan and the first Van Morrison. Beautiful songwriting and great performance for a folk masterpiece that includes "Flowers", "Beyonder" and "The Sunshine Shuffle".

Dusty Groove

The second of the 2 great lost Canadian psych folk records by Huckle! Wild Blue Yonder expands a bit on the gentle acoustic songcraft of the earlier Upon A Once Time LP – still working in a largely acoustic mode, but with a more extroverted approach – with more percussion, some keyboards, flute, richer backing vocal harmony and a bit more of working band feel than the more solo-feeling predecessor. A real winner – and the right mix of accessible tunecraft and adventurous spirit. Includes "Wild Blue Yonder", "Rolling River", "I Surrender", "Flower To The Sun", "She's Coming Home", "Beautiful You Are". "High For Sky", "Gather The Children" and "Wild Night".

Beautiful Lies

HUCKLE - Wild Blue Yonder (Homespun) Canada 1976
Excellent 2nd from Canadian backwoods hippie folkie; very much an organic, communal feel, occasionally sounding like an unplugged Farm Band circa 'Up In Your Thing'. Title track is awesome folkpsych, pretty much by itself justifying the price tag, but this is great throughout, solid grower quality. Only 300 pressed, which is actually less than the number for "Upon A Once Time". Check out this clip for a taste of the Huckle scene (music is however off his 1st LP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES668mH2AIo "The man came this morning / with his papers in his hand / speaking words from the city / I don't quite understand" - hard times in the country, as the Traums would say!

Jens Unosson

reprinted with permission

Museum of Canadian Music

 

Interview with Robert Williston

 

Hi Huckle, it is so good to be able to do this interview with you. Can you please tell me in which Canadian city were you born?
Oakville, Ontario, a sleepy little town of 3,000 at the time. We lived in an old farm house on the Eighth Line.


I believe you grew up in Montreal and Toronto. When did you become a hippie?
In the late sixties. But we didn’t call ourselves hippies then. We were freaks.


What were your parents like? Were your hippie influences from your parents at all or was it your environment.
Environment. Toronto was a very interesting place in the late sixties and early seventies.


What were your earliest musical memories / influences?
I bought the Beatles’ first record the day it came out.


When did you first start playing musical instruments; and what were they?
I started on electric bass in 1966, then flute, guitar, mandolin.


Did you receive any formal musical education?
I joined a boy’s and men’s church choir at eight, and received vocal and piano training. My actual first album was Hear My Prayer by Mendelsohn, with St. Matthias choir in Montreal. Only one copy though.


When did you first start writing?
I wrote poetry first, then began writing songs in 1969.


When and where was your first performance? Any stories?
Singing California Dreaming at summer camp, with a friend playing the guitar.


You were about 19 years old in 1973 when you first moved out west to Gabriola Island. Were you drawn there because of the Gabriola Island culture or did the Gabriola culture sort of turn you into a hippie?
I had been out to the west coast before, but not to the islands. I went to visit my friend Paul on Gabriola, and after traipsing around the coast I settled there for the winter.


Gabriola is a beautiful and quiet place. I bet it was a lot quieter when you first arrived,what were your earliest and fondest memories of Gabriola Island?
I arrived in Nanaimo on bathtub weekend. They were pretty excited about my hair. We lived at the stump farm on Gabriola, a little log cabin way out in the woods, no electricity, running water, or car.


How has it changed?
Four times as many people.


Have you ever rubbed shoulders with anybody famous there?
There wasn’t anybody famous then. We were it.


Do you still live there?
I moved to Salt Spring Island in 1974, back to Gabriola in 1975 after returning from back east, then back to Salt Spring for many years in 1977.


Huckle was a band that featured yourself along with band members Paul Gellman, Michael Butler, Richard Keelan, all of Perth County Conspiracy. How did you meet these folks? How did you form the band Huckle?
Huckle was never a band, it was my name. A friend back east gave me the nickname after a character in a children’s book, and I began using it myself when I came west. I used to organize festivals in Toronto at Bathurst st. church, and Perth was one of the many bands that played there. The recording of Upon a Once Time happened on one of Perth County’s western tours, which I helped book some venues for. Paul and I played together, then he went back east to join Perth County.


Your internet site indicates that your first album was pressed in 500 copies and your second one in 300 copies, but I have seen way more of the second album around than the first. Could be because there are less people willing to part with it, but how sure are you of these numbers?
The numbers I’m sure of, the rest is a mystery. I first became aware the albums had become rare vinyl about ten years ago. I had no idea.


Your album Upon a Once Time is considered to be the rarest and best Canadian hippie folk album in existence, certainly in Canada, but perhaps worldwide. I have seen it sell for $800.00! Do you still have copies of your early albums?
I have personal copies. I sold the remaining eight virgin copies recently for a lot of dough.

The album was a home-made primitive hand written paste-on cover. Do you remember who designed the jacket?
I did it with Tommy and Kjell, the photographer.


Please tell me about some of your most memorable experiences while playing in the band Huckle.
The band was actually called Wild Blue Yonder. We did a cross Canada caravan tour in 1975, then a Western Canada tour the next year. We had a lot of nerve.


In 1974 you moved to Salt Spring Island. Please tell me about your experiences on this island and your time with the Sodbusters.
The first day on Salt Spring I met my future wife, band, home, and more. I still live here now.


Do you still keep in contact with anybody from those early days?
Yes I do. Dan Pedrick from Sodbusters helped me sell the rare vinyl albums.


Are you still a hippie?
I’m a lapsed hippie.


Your third album with Real Fantasy was only sold on cassette. Will it be available on your website?
There will be some songs from Real Fantasy, including Angeline which is on youtube right now.


For how long have you been performing as KC Kelly? How many CDs do you have and are they available?
Since the late 90s. I have three cds on cdbaby, http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/KCKelly


Huckle, thank-you so much for doing this interview with me. Take care

 

Reprinted with permission from

http://www.mocm.ca

 

From the Web

 

"Huckle – Wild Blue Yonder – The vinyl this track is from is one of those ultra rare

collector items that goes for triple digits if you can ever even find it.  But in this case

the hype is undoubtedly worth it (if you’re into this kind of thing).  This track

(and the whole album really) just nails that early 70’s southern folk/rock sound;

made by a Canadian of course (see Neil Young, The Band, etc.).  How Huckle never

made it to the level of those guys is a mystery (probably something to do with the

rarity of the recording)."

Bryan Rhodes, quakeronfire.podomatic.com

 

 

"I think this is superb. Excellent harmonies and great acoustic guitar. I mean this is really

good, one of the best I've had the pleasure of listening to in a long time!"

 

"Pastoral hippie-folk delvin' for organic/cosmic sceneries. Full-band sound with subtle

acoustic/electric tapestries."

 

"Folk rock from the seventies. A slight cosmic touch and lyrical themes of a lofty nature

make this a pretty nice and emotionally authentic piece of hippiedom."

 

"MASTERPIECE!"

 

"This album is amongst the rarest and most sought-after albums in existence."

 

"Canadian Hippie Folk from 1976. Excellent music for the road, this rare and hard to find

album is a perfect example of folk and rock made by a bunch of hippies in the seventies.

The words are of love and tolerance, and free life and travelling, while the music suites the

words well and transcends all of their messages flawlessly. Acoustic guitar and haunting

fiddle, tablas and vocal harmonies of great and natural honesty of happiness from both

the male and the female parts, it is one of the best albums I have heard in quite a while

and it holds a strong place in my music collection. A must have classic!"

by bilbo1742

 

and the asian translation!

 

"9 from Canada, psychedelic / HIPPIE folk band Huckle is a lot of vinyl collectors

that are the best fans in Canada 70's Ballad band, while they are the only two records

are said to have Scoop thousands of dollars. If the published 74 years Homespun

debut album, "once upon a time" shows the creation of pure folk Huckle skill, then

this private production and distribution of the "Wild Blue Yonder" is even more to

show preference for their psychedelic music , first with music from the first space in

a similar rhythm KRUTROCK know, of course, ultimately, as i surrender this soft pure

ballads."

 

"Acoustic Guitar, tabeulra, pideul and female vocal harmonies of freedom and travel,

love and patience, and a message about the life of a hippie ruralhan draws are good.

Sound behaved like a successor of a hippie family keonteuribaendeuin Sodbusters

country have been added, and a mood or a hippie folk SSW streets of the old bus, big

projects, rather than jeu musical flow of the small, cozy feeling of a rich and brilliant

sound is accidentally come into contact."

Performance Highlights

 

The Yellow Door, Montreal

Rose's Cantina, Morin Heights

Thog Festivals, Bathurst St. Church, Toronto

Black Swan, Stratford

Smale's Pace, London

Catharsis, Windsor

Northern Lights Folk Festival, Sudbury

Home County Folk Festival, London

Down to Earth Festival, Aberfoyle

Ting Tea Room, Winnipeg

Regina Folk Guild

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

The Hovel, Edmonton

NAIT, Edmonton

University of Alberta, Edmonton

Sancious, Calgary

University of Calgary

Bow River Folk Arts Faire, Calgary

Banff School of Fine Arts

Notre Dame University, Nelson

Earthly Delights, Nelson

Village Green, Kaslo

Selkirk College, Castlegar

Bear Creek Faire, Surrey

Classical Joint, Vancouver

Cypress Room, West Vancouver

City Meet Market, North Vancouver

Deluxe Christmas Pleasure Faire, Vancouver

Easter Be-in, Vancouver

Soft Rock Cafe, Vancouver

Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

Vancouver East Cultural Centre

Brackendale Art Gallery

Campbell River Centre

Comfort Soap Farm Festival, Courtenay

Renaissance Faire, Courtenay

Arts Alliance, Courtenay

Civic Centre, Courtenay

St. Andrews, Nanaimo

Fulford Hall, Salt Spring Island

Beaver Point Hall, Salt Spring Island

Festival of the Sun, Duncan

McPherson Playhouse, Victoria

Open Space, Victoria

Prancing Pony, Victoria

James Bay Inn, Victoria

Norway House, Victoria

University of Victoria