Friday, December 2, 2011

Artist: Paul James Band, Album: Almost Crazy, Song: The Ugliest Girl In Town

"Her daddy was waving a 12 gauge shotgun.  What he say?  He said keep on kissing her don't run.  She's the ugliest girl in town.  He said, why you keep on coming around?"  Paul James is a well known blues musician from Toronto.  He grew up on Bloor and Bathurst and taught himself to play guitar.  He learned of the blues from hearing the Rolling Stones.  He soon started visiting coffeehouses in Yorkville at the tender age of 13 and saw bands like Luke & The Apostles (see blog 8/11/11), Mandala (see blog 8/16/11) and Sparrow.  The latter band would eventually become what we all recognize today as Steppenwolf.  Paul was actually invited on stage to jam with the band in those early years.  He also got a chance to join Rick James and Neil Young's band, The Mynah Birds, on stage as well, in those early years.  As Paul continued his musical education in the bars and coffeehouses of Toronto, he took up residency at many of the popular blues clubs in the city as the house guitarist.  He also landed a gig backing up Bo Diddley at the El Mocambo which would lead to a life long working relationship and friendship.  He started his first band during the early seventies called Lick N' Stick and was signed to Columbia Records.  Unfortunately, they wanted him to be more disco so the band folded.  He was then recruited by Mink Deville and he toured the world as their guitarist.  If you aren't familiar with Mink you need to check out the song, Spanish Stroll.  Enough said.  Paul then returned to Toronto and started his second band, The Paul James Band.  Almost Crazy was their debut album in 1984.  The song, The Ugliest Girl In Town, was actually co-written with Bo Diddley.  Paul has a very traditional approach to blues rock and is quite the entertainer, often playing the guitar behind his back and doing the Chuck Berry duck walk.  That's actually how he caught the attention of Bob Dylan.  Bob actually invited Paul to play in his band on numerous occasions including shows at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and at the Midland Arena in Buffalo.  Paul is still performing and releasing albums today.  He actually released a new album called Lazy Crazy Blues that features some tracks from his early days with Lick N' Stick.  You can purchase the album and follow Paul at  A true musician's musician who is criminally under appreciated by the general masses but not by his peers.  Unfortunately, Paul didn't release a lot of albums during his early years but rather singles because of the cost of recording.  Almost Crazy is a very rare find but there were copies trading on Ebay for $10 at the time of this blog.  You can check out the video for the song, The Ugliest Girl In Town, on You Tube (  Thanks for reading and enjoy!  

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