Friday, June 8, 2012

Artist: Basic English, Album: Sweet Panic!, Song: Lost In The Shadows

Basic English were a band from the Maritimes who caught some brief success when they migrated west to Toronto.  They were formed in 1986 in Halifax, Nova Scotia by childhood friends, Tim Armour and John Davis.  They added Roger Leblanc on drums and settled in Toronto before recruiting bassist, Sean Ryan.  In 1987, the band entered one of their songs in FM station, Q107's Homegrown Contest and won.  They also picked up an independent award sponsored by local alternative station, CFNY 102.1, for best non-recording act that same year.  They signed with indie label, Risque Disque, which was home to Blue Rodeo.  The band then used their winnings from the radio contest to release their first single in 1988 which was produced by former Blue Rodeo member, Bob Wiseman (see blog 1/6/11).  The band opened for Blue Rodeo a number of times and toured across Canada.  They finally released their debut album, Sweet Panic!, in 1990.  If you like roots rock you will appreciate this album.  Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo lends his vocals to a track on this album as well.  There are some really good songs and one of my personal favourites is the song, Lost In The Shadows.  There is some footage from a show in 1990 where they opened up for National Velvet (see blog 12/16/10) at the Concert Hall in Toronto, posted on You Tube.  You can hear the song, Lost In The Shadows, around the 7 minute mark  during this live footage (  Unfortunately, the band had a really difficult time getting these same radio stations that had showered them with awards a few years earlier, to play their music.  Once their label, Risque Disque, folded in 1991, the band followed shortly thereafter.  Armour and Davis have continued to record with a number of other bands.  Messiah Inc., Gran Torino and Train Wreck are all bands that they have formed and recorded material with over the last 20 years.  They've actually reunited as Basic English and are currently signed to Sugar Moon Music (  You can follow them at  Sweet Panic! is a difficult album to find these days.  At the time of this blog there were copies trading on Amazon and Ebay between $5 and $10 .  Thanks for reading and enjoy!