Dakus, Brought To You By Canada
:: You Just Keep Me Hangin' On ::
:: Armful of Teddy Bears ::
:: Love Is Just A Word ::
:: Mission Bell ::
:: Sad Souvenirs ::
:: Big-City People ::
Canadian rock bands are funny. Actually, I should just leave it at that. No further explanation necessary. But that wouldn't be fair, would it? For every Barenaked Ladies, there's an Arcade Fire, or Neil Young. Still though, there is something inherently funny about Canadian rock. It's very similar to American rock, and in some ways it resembles Brit rock as well. It's somewhere in between. One thing for sure: It's pretty dog gone white.
I bought this album because of the cover. How could I resist? Also, the name of the band didn't really make sense to me. "Wes Dakus' Rebels"? What the hell is that? Turns out the real name of the band was Wes Dakus and the Rebels. I guess they just shortened it to be cool or something. They came down from Edmonton, Alberta to record with Norman Petty in his Clovis, New Mexico studio in 1966. Apparently Petty, who produced and co-wrote most of Buddy Holly's hits and was the man behind the scenes with The Fireballs, saw some commercial potential in the Rebels. Unfortunately, no hits were to be had and Wes Dakus retired the Rebels in 1967.
This album is not at all bad however. They cover a variety of styles, all of which are very good examples of what 60s pop/rock sounded like. Their cover of "You Just Keep Me Hangin' On" sounds at first like it's being played at the wrong speed, but then it settles into a competently played and sung cracker-soul workout. I certainly do luv me an "Armful of Teddy Bears", and many of the other covers and original compositions on the album reflect a group of musicians firmly rooted in 50s and early 60s torch rock.
Besides Dakus, who I assume was the guitar player, the Rebels featured Barry Allen, Dennis Paul, Maurice Marshall and Stu Mitchell, all of whom took turns as lead vocalist. Marshall wrote "Love Is Just A Word" and "Big City People", and Mitchell wrote the childlike and haunting "Sad Souvenirs", proving these guys were not merely a decent bar cover band from the Great White North. There is nothing on this record however that would be good to listen to while driving a motorcycle through a wall of fire (except maybe their cover of "Mockingbird" which I have mercifully omitted), so I have no explanation for the cover art, except to say that it's the only reason I bought the album in the first place. FIRE! heh heh.