Music & Lyrics
Pat Thompson &
Lime Bay Mutiny
"Rambles.net" May 18, 2001
On May18 at the Coast Harbourside Hotel, one of Victoria's
posh oceanside palaces, Tony Latimer launched his debut
disc, which I predict will make a very big splash! (Pardon
the pun.) Salt Over My Shoulder (Ringtail records) is a
work that has been long in the making for Tony, who has
been writing and playing his music since 1967.
Born in Australia, Tony sang in church choirs and school
operettas as a boy, then discovered the ocean, sailing
and the music that accompanies such a life - sea shanties
and "forebitters". He is a professional sailor and boat
builder, as well as a top-notch musician and composer.
As a result, Tony's songwriting has been influenced by
the places he has visited, including the island music he
heard while delivering ships between Bermuda, the
Bahamas, and the Caribbean. Some of these island
flavours and rhythms are really distinctive in his songs.
The throng awaiting him at the Coast Harbourside that
night - between 100 and 150 people packed into a
conference room - was already kindly disposed and happy
for Tony's new success. Tony has made Vancouver Island
his home base since 1977, and I hope that he will continue
to do so for a number of reasons. He has been instrumental
in reviving a number of folk music clubs around the Pacific
Northwest, including one on the island here.
Joining him for his performance were Dave Klassen (bass),
Rick Van Krugel (mandolin), Pat Thompson (concertina,
backing vocals), Sue Klassen (shaker, backing vocals),
and Alan Law (dobro). The ladies were referred to as "The
Reality Chicks", and their performance was great! They
even had a few dance steps figured out for Tony, which
added to the whole effect. Sue's vocals had their usual
effect on me - I got goose bumps all over.This woman has
a voice that is heaven personified!
Tony performed the tracks from his disc, in a very different
order and with a wee bit of a tale abouteach one, to the
delight of the amassed friends, family and of course, media.
His anthem song, "We are Kings of the Western Ocean", was
one of the last he performed; it is a well-written piece and
had the audience singing and clapping along. It's a
delightful shantey, filled with power which explodes out with
Tony's resonant vocals. This piece borrows a traditional
Australian melody but uses original lyrics: "We are Kings of
the Western Ocean / It's plain to see we are / We've left our
mark on many a bark / We stink of pitch and tar / All hands
cries the mate / And up aloft we fly / The devil take the
laggard, Jack / It's do your best or die.... " This song
encompasses so much of who and what Tony is, it is only
fitting to be his anthem number.
oddness. Although featuring a very Hawaiian melody and
lyrics it was written by a Canadian and an Australian.
However, you'd never know that it wasn't a traditional
song unless somebody told you! Rick had a lot of fun with his
mandolin on this piece, taking off for a spotlight solo.
This was followed by Alan the song's co-writer, embellishing
on his dobro. And the "Reality Chicks were giving a good
show and providing absolutely divine backup vocals as Tony
sang about "the scent of frangipanis in the air". It was a
warm trade wind blowing through the room after that number,
with all thoughts turned to the exotic and not so distant
It was a great performance, very warm and inviting. Tony's
stage presence is that of someone who is comfortable with
himself and his music, and he obviously enjoys sharing it
with those around him. It makes for a pleasant evening!
There were a few familiar faces in the crowd as well,
including Colleen from the Ecclestones and Ian from Rig-
a-jig, as well as a number of members of the Folk Society.
Of course many of Tony's songs are well-known to those
of us in the area, so the audience participation was quite
strong and added to the feelings of tranquility and
inevitability. This disc had to come along sooner or later
- it is music that demands to be heard and shared.
My companion for the evening found Tony to be a bit
of a cross between Jimmy Buffet and Roy Rogers, while
his black garb reminded me more of Johnny Cash. I
certainly agree with artistic director Mitch Podolak,
who said that despite Tony's Australian roots, his music
embodies the Canadian experience. Tony Latimer is one of
the best things to come out of Canada in a great long time,
and I hope there will be a great many more discs to capture
his wonderful songwriting talents.
As I made my departure into the cold night air of the
Victoria waterfront, the strains of the music were still
haunting my senses. And Tony's new CD, with all of it's
original gems, will make the experience last even longer.
Naomi de Bruyn