Monday, December 03, 2007

David Wiffen

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.

Coast To Coast Fever
Lucifer's Blues
Smoke Rings
Up On The Hillside


At 1:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a Tom Rush fan since the mid-1960's. When I first heard him do "Drivin' Wheel" and read the credit to "D. Wiffen", well, I set out on a mission to find out who this guy was. I finally tracked down both the self-titled "David Wiffen" and the "Coast to Coast Fever" albums and they right off became two of my favourite albums. Great song-writing and Dave's rich baritone gets you right where you live.
A few years ago, thanks to some innovative computer software, I managed to digitise both those albums and burn them onto cd, and they are still amongst my all-time favourites.
Andre Germain

At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coast to Coast Fever is one of my favorite albums of Canada and all times, Is a shame that few people known this fantastic songwriter...

At 10:56 AM, Blogger groover said...

Hello, I have the Bunkhouse LP ! GREAT !

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have the link for Coast to Coast Fever ?
If possible send me an e-mail to
Many Thanks Yahima

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Yves Perret said...

Sorry, I don't have it up anymore...

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to listen this great album:

Simon House


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