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Brutus and Crosstown Bus

Brutus (Frank on left)
brutus

Ride Cowboy Ride

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1
Ride Cowboy Ride
(Brutus)
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3:34 min
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After hearing them do 4 sets of original music, and thinking they were from Seattle, Frank agreed to join Brutus.  He was soon on a flight to Toronto.  A year in the Band saw them work with Jack Richardson who had produced the "Guess Who"  The single "Ooh Mama, Mama" was the first song that Frank was involved in to break the top 20 on the Canadian charts.

Ooh Mama Mama (excerpt)

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2
Ooh Mama Mama
(Brutus)
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3:44 min
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Frank did some songwriting in Brutus - learning a lot from Brutus songwriter Walter who sings lead on Frank's Too Much Talk

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Too Much Talk
(Brutus)
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2:57 min
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 In 1976, after leaving Brutus, Frank went briefly to record on the April Wine "Whole World's Goin' Crazy" album, with the hope of joining them. New bassist at the time Steve Lang had recommended him but Frank  failed to make the team. During the sessions, Frank stayed at the home of drummer Jerry Mercer who treated him really well..Although he has piano credits on the song "Kick Willy Rd," (rather lacklustre keyboard playing he thinks) what he considered his best piano track got replaced.  Ironically, what he played was similar to what he did shortly later on Trooper's Two For the Show, which went #1.

worldcrazy

 

Crosstown Bus
xtownbusonfence
 

In 1971, manager Bruce Allen recruited Frank to join Crosstown Bus which was his top club band.  The band consisted of Jeff Boyne on guitar, lead vocals, and congas.  Brian Anderson was the bassist - Dave Jonnson was drummer - Rob Sommerville was keyboardist along with Frank who played keys and guitar and sang some lead vocals.   Also joining the band later was Blair Thornton who would go on to be part of Bachman Turner Overdrive shortly after Bruce started managing them (initially called "Brave Belt" and included Randy's brother Tim.)

Primarily a cover band, one album was produced called "High Grass" on MCA records with the single of the same name.  I knew it was over when we heard the song in an elevator in a hotel in Sudbury; the kiss of death for a rock band. We did have an original suite called "Welcome to North America" which went over well in the clubs but didn't make it onto record.

In retrospect, the album High Grass was an exercise in how a wide-eyed band will do almost anything to get recorded.   Bruce managed to get us our first deal with MCA records but the album turned out to not really be Crosstown Bus.  The producer had managed to get credits on a top 10 hit (Ten Pound Note by Steel River) after graduating from studio janitor when a session needed an extra pair of hands.  Being from Toronto made him an expert and a big-shot compared to us.  In fairness, he did form a record company that had some moderate success, in addition to his further success as a producer.  On the songs written by his friends, the production was huge with horn arrangements by Bruce Fairburn (later to become such a huge producer that he actually turned down the Rolling Stones).  The one Jeff Boyne song that got "the treatment" got an overblown string and choir arrangement by David Foster - but most of our songs were little more than bed tracks with vocals.  I remember feeling really pressured on the piano intro as I kept making a mistake playing it ..I'm not sure but I may have been replaced by a session player who didn't bother to figure out the correct part...Either way the intro lick was butchered.... Regardless - the one song that could have used horns (the intro was supposed to be like "Got To Get You Into My Life" but ended up sounding like a beginning piano student) didn't even get guitar put on it...the line was supposed to be a guitar/horn line...I've included it below.  You can decide for yourself.. It isn't as though I think I had written a great song, but it deserved better.  We felt like pawns.  Some guitar on the album would have made it rock a little more like the band did....another learning experience, I guess.

Pass This Way Again

original piano intro

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4
Pass This Way Again - Original Piano Intro
(Frank Ludwig)
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1:10 min
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as it ended up..also notice the plodding tempo and unimaginative drums as well

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5
Pass This Way Again
(Crosstown Bus)
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2:26 min
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Singles - the first 2 singles were penned by the producer...surprise, surprise..we finally complained enough to get 1 of our songs as the next single

1971 Rochester River/Caravan (MCA) MCA-2003

1971 I'm Lost Without You/In Ten Years Time (MCA) MCA-2013

1971 High Grass/Renie (MCA) MCA-2018 - excerpt below

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6
High Grass
(Crosstown Bus)
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0:57 min
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  xtownbusonfence     xtownbusatbeach   

xtownbushigrassad

Primarily a cover band, one album was produced called "High Grass" on MCA records with the single of the same name.  I knew it was over when we heard the song in an elevator in a hotel in Sudbury; the kiss of death for a rock band. We did have an original suite called "Welcome to North America" which went over well in the clubs but didn't make it onto record.

xtownbuslivefonguit

Live Welcome to North America Suite with edit in middle where the tape ran out.  pretty preachy lyrics but at least demonstates that we were trying to be creative...the percussion break works - in the context of the Vietman war and Tricky Dick it may make more sense...also seems influenced by the Collector's "What Love Suite" and the Guess Who's "American Woman."

Due to the length of this suite I am having to cut it up into small bits

Part I

NumberNamePlayLength
7
Welcome To North America pt. 1
(Crosstown Bus)
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6:49 min
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Part II

NumberNamePlayLength
8
Welcome To North America pt. 2
(Crosstown Bus)
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11:11 min
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Original Ludwig/Boyne song performed live on June 2 1973 at the Magee (School) Grad Pavilion - a commentary on the level of musicianship required to play in a rock and roll band - Mrs. Ferguson wasn't really a music teacher but was a really kind Elementary School teacher.

Good Enough For Rock and Roll

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9
Good Enough For Rock & Roll
(Crosstown Bus)
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3:18 min
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Rockin' Robin

I forgot whose arrangement (maybe Allman Brothers) of this old song we were doing but it's no wonder my throat hurt

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0
Rockin' Robin
(Crosstown Bus)
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3:21 min
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P.S. have been on line and discovered that Jeff Boyne and Brian Anderson have re-formed and are back playing around the province..Good for them!

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