Singer-songwriter David Wiffen was born in England in 1942, and moved to Canada when he was 16. During the '60's he made a name for himself playing coffee houses in Yorkville, then the epicentre of Toronto's bohemian scene, and recorded a solo live album (Live At The Bunkhouse) in Vancouver in 1965. After travelling across Canada for a while, he settled in Ottawa, where he joined the folk rock trio Three's A Crowd and co-hosted a TV variety show named "Both Sides Now" with Anne Mortifee. During the 1970's and '80's he released a self-titled album and played folk festivals, coffee houses and universities, but his career was hampered by a back injury and an ongoing battle with the bottle, and after 1973's Coast To Coast Fever he didn't release another album until 1999 (South Of Somewhere).
Coast To Coast Fever was recorded at Eastern Sound and Thunder Sound, both of which were in Toronto. The Eastern Sound tunes were engineered by Chris Skene, while the Thunder Sound material was engineered by Bill Seddon and Bruce Cockburn. The album's lineup varied somewhat, but the core group was Wiffen on guitar and vocals, Cockburn on guitar, Dennis Pendrith on bass, Bill Usher or Andy Cree on drums and Pat Godfrey on piano. Of the four tracks I've posted here, all but "Up On The Hillside" (which was written by Cockburn) are Wiffen originals. The melancholy title track is a couple of classic rock and country archetypes rolled up into one; the "on the road" song, with a side order of regret over a life wasted on "good times, whiskey and wine." "Lucifer's Blues" and "Smoke Rings" are bluesier tunes, the first of which includes work on saxophone by Bruce Pennycook. Lastly, "Up On The Hillside" is a more up-tempo number somewhat reminiscent of The Band's work.
Up On The Hillside