I went to school at Immaculate Heart of Mary on Birchmount Road in Scarbrough, then a suburb of Toronto but now part of the GTA.
And, a short drive north, just over the bridge, was the pressing plant for Quality Records. I rode my bike over the bridge just to the east of Mack Avenue, but never imagined that decades later, what came out of that plant would end up on my radio show (not in the original 45 vinyl version but on a CD compliaton).
Birchmount was actually a subsidiary of Quality Records, though I didn’t find that out until recently.
I was born in 1962. The year many of the artists on this collection cut their tunes and Any Day Now includes early numbers by Glen Campbell and Dobie Gray, and follow-up records to hits by Danny and the Juniors and The Beau-Marks (Clap Your Hands, they hailed from Montreal).
Back in the ’70s and ’80s Quality Records meant nothing to me. What did? This hotel.
Where I caught many performances, and drank many beers, as Lee Aaron, Santers and Goddo shook the foundations. The Knob. It didn’t reek of rock like the Gasworks but I spent many a night watching Aaron and (Santers bass player and current tennis buddy) Rick Lazaroff kicking their way through originals and Zep covers.
Flash forward to 2017.
I’m at BJ’s Records in downtown Barrie, where Bill brings in very cool collections. The Rock and Roll Riot has spun many a tune from discs that came from BJ’s (and Rasputin and Amoeba Records in San Francisco and Berkeley).
And, for $9.99, the Quality Records 3-disc set is mine. It’s $13.99 on Amazon (love Amazon, and the Prime deal is a steal with free 2-day shipping and streaming of shows like Mozart in the Jungle).
As a new ball season begins…and this soon to be 55-year-old comes out of retirement after 3 years to play in the Wasaga league…I will always treasure my final year of hardball, pitching at Highview Park.
Not sure who the Scarborough Stingers were, or are, but if they played at the park where I pitched my final game of hardball, real baseball, cheers.
Highview Park was a short bike ride from Quality Records.
It’s the circle of life, Johnny Maraca style.