NOTES FROM THE
RUSS GURR ORIGINAL DEMO TAPE ~ 1967
From the Hillman Archive
These are the notes that accompanied the demo tape of original songs that eventually earned Russ a recording contract with London Records. Half of these songs are true collectors items as they were never recorded on a commercial release.
The Night Herding Cowboy
Just a ballad which speaks for itself
The Blue Hills of Brandon
The true story of the first settlers in the Brandon Hills. This is a range of hills lying just south of the city and a landmark in Western Manitoba. The eldest son of the Mr. Rice mentioned in the song, told me the story in detail and I wrote the song from his story as he carefully recalled it.
On a recent singing tour of the Yukon, I was surprised to find that, contrary to what most Canadians think, there are no Eskimos in the Yukon. Mr. Eric Neilson, M.P. of Whitehorse, first informed me of this and a careful check proved it to be quite true. I wrote the chorus while returning from doing a show at Haines Junction on the Alaska Highway.
Ki Si Noo Ki Sik
I got the information on Canada's famous Indian Princess and Majorette -- Marlene Jackson -- form her mother. Marlene was guest artist on my show at Manitoba's big Threshermans Reunion at Austin and I sang the story of her life as she took the stage prior to doing her act.
On Our Hundredth Anniversary
I wrote this song since Christmas and in the few times I have done it in public the interest has been beyond all imagination. They flock up to the stage wondering when and where they can get it. If you are interested, we should record same and get it on the market as soon as possible.
The Briar Song
Is the story of the great Canadian Curling Classic. This would quickly become the annual theme song of such a national event.
Meet Me On Mars Mum
A space age ballad.
The Tonsil Song
The story is a song of getting my tonsils out a few years ago. My audience really go for it in a big way.
He's An Engineer For Certain
This is a poem given to me by a fan. He didn't know who wrote it but asked if I could make a song of it. It tells the story of the Steam Engineers in the pioneer threshing days before the modern combine was invented. I merely put it into meter, gave it a chorus and tune.
The Big Brandon Carnival
A true story in song. I wrote this for the City to help in their publicity of this annual event.
The Overflowing River
This is a rather famous landmark and tourist attraction where the overflowing river flows into Lake Winnipegosis in northern Manitoba. It is on No. 10 Highway south of The Pas. I wrote this song while holidaying at one of the cabins there.
The Stream Lined Diesel
The story of the Diesel Locomotive taking over from the old Steam Railway Engines. We have witnessed this, of course, in the last ten years and it was interesting to me - thus the song.Hydrogen Ashes or Sputnik
Other Side Of The Tape
Every now and again there are people complaining of pox-marks on the windshields of their cars and many think it is caused from fallout or has something to do with vehicles in outer space. A few years back the papers were full of this item and the feeling is still around. The pox marks, of course, are stone chips.
There's An Old Time Picnic
This is the true story and the picnic is an annual event just as the pioneers started it. I do their stage show every year.
Cobwebs In The Sugar Bowl
This is a true story. I was singing at the wedding.
The Hurleyville Taxi
Mr. Hurley and his famous pigs were featured at the big Threshermens Reunion last year. I M.C. this show and wrote the song to introduce his act each night before the Grandstand. This is the famous Hurleyville Taxi Act from Echo Bay, Ontario. It has been written up in Life Magazine, Strange As It Seems and Believe It Or Not. You will note that I use these quotations in opening the song.
City of Dauphin
I did the Dauphin three-day Exhibition last year and they have booked me again for their centennial show. I thought I would like to do a number about their own city and so the song tells about Dauphin lying as it does between the Duck and Riding Mountains. Many wanted to buy the record right on the spot but having just written it I was unable to oblige.
This is an old English song my father loved to sing as he went about his farm work. He would sing it at the top of his voice. I thought I would like to tell the story of my dad and work the song in just as he sang it. This I have done by using it as a chorus while telling the story.
The Bull and the Goat Song
This is true in every detail though it sounds funny.
It's Midnight At Niagara
I wrote this song while sitting on the banks of the Niagara one night just watching the beauty of the falls.
The Threshermans Ball
The Board of Directors of the Threshermans Reunion asked if I would write them a song about the old farm engines. The National Film Board heard me sing it a year ago while they filmed the big show and they have now bought the right to use it in their Labyrinth Project. I wanted to re-do it in a studio but they insisted in using it just as they taped it outside in all the dust, etc. You might check with them. My dealings have been direct with Montreal.
The Beauty of Rainbow Bridge
A song on the famous Rainbow Bridge over the Niagara River.
Swiss Moonlight Lullaby
This is Wilf Carter's famous song, of course, and I put it on the tape merely to indicate another very difficult type of yodel that I do. This is taken off an old worn-out tape that I ran onto and is pretty badly distorted as you will notice. I cut the band portion out in order to get it on the tape.
My wife always likes to tape my TV shows and I have included a couple of Hymns with which I concluded all my programs. This was done a the request of my sponsor. These are also badly distorted as they were just taken off our TV set in the front room. In "How Great Thou Art" - you will notice someone talking in the live studio audience and a delay in the tape in "The Lord's Prayer." However, they will indicate that I also sing the other field of music.
ON OUR STAGE
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