By: Juliette Jagger (@juliettejagger)
As far as iconic Canadian pop songs go, “Sweet City Woman” from The Stampeders is a bonafide classic.
Released in 1971, the song put the Calgary group on the musical map.
Formed in 1965 as The Redbounds, the group changed their name to The Stampeders before relocating to Toronto in 1966. Throughout the 1960s, musicians and artists of all types flocked to Toronto’s Yorkville neighborhood from across Canada and the U.S. to take part in the city’s buzzing counterculture scene.
During those early days, the band was able to secure a pair of minor hits with tracks “Morning Magic” and “Crosswalk,” but it wasn’t until the decade’s end when they went from a six-piece to a trio that things really started to take off.
“Our older bandmates, Ronnie’s brother, Kim’s brother, and our bass player, decided they were getting on and wanted to leave the band and go back to Calgary,” says guitarist and vocalist Rich Dodson. “So, that left the three of us—Ronnie [King], Kim [Berly], and I—to either go on or pack it in. We definitely wanted to go on with it, so we just flipped coins to see who was going to play what instrument and took it from there so to speak.”
Without their former bandmates to rely on musically, the three remaining members of the group had no choice but to hone their songwriting skills and better their recordings if they wanted to give The Stampeders a serious go.
“At the time, we had our own independent label, MWC (Music World Creations), so we cut a distribution deal with Quality Records and decided we were going to get into the studio to write a record and sort of flog it on our own.”
Late night recording sessions meant the band could get cheap studio time, which suited their circumstances, and the resulting 12 tracks became The Stampeders’ hugely successful debut album, Against The Grain.
Continue reading via National Music Centre.