Released in 1979, this might be one of the best little known Canadiana albums only ever.
Born Birrell Josef Mendelson on July 30th, 1944 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Joe taught himself to play his sister’s Gibson guitar at age eleven. His musical idols were Little Richard, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, and Jerry Lee Lewis making his sound a very interesting Canadian hybrid on Da Blues.
In 1964, at age nineteen, Joe became a professional singer-songwriter-musician. His debut was at The Depression coffee-house in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Four years later, he formed a bluesy rock band with Toronto guitarist Michael McKenna and ended up making five albums under the banner McKenna-Mendelson Mainline.
In 1972, Joe recorded his first of many solo albums. ‘Mr. Middle of the Road‘ (on GRT label) was very much a solo effort, in that he played all the instruments, sang, and wrote the songs. 1975 marked the beginning of Joe’s career as a painter (his most famous painting depicted Prime Minister Brian Mulroney with his face superimposed on a pair of human buttocks). He then recorded two more albums, ‘Sophisto‘, and a reunion LP with Mike McKenna entitled ‘No Substitute‘ and also switched his name to Mendelson Joe for God knows what reason.
Several of Joe’s songs have been covered by the likes of guitar-genius Amos Garrett, crooner Noel Harrison, and the characters of Sesame Street of all things.
You know you’re hot shit in Canada when, right?
Anyway, from 1979 to 1981, Mendelson recorded three more albums for the Stompin’ Tom – owned Canadian label Boot Records, including this album. Highlights on the album include ‘Bondage Boots‘, ‘Everything Is Weird‘ (pretty apropos for the weekend I’m having actually), ‘Those Who Do‘, and ‘I Blues‘.
And with this third Canada Day album in the books, I’m rounding out my lazy Sunday afternoon with a nap.