Homage to Stompin’ Tom

Posted March 8, 2013 on 6:49 pm | In the category Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

It’s not so easy to explain to outsiders why Canada has become such a different place from the United States in the last couple of decades, but the pause that was taken in the Ottawa-Toronto hockey Game last evening in toronto would be a good place to start. News had come through that Stompin Tom Connors had died and that was reason enough to stop playing hockey and play aloud one of the songs that Stompin Tom had written in his 50 years of singing that was probably better known in Canada than the national anthem : The Hockey Song. As the deep-throated version of “The good old hockey game, it’s the best game you can name” rumbled out over the jammed arena, most people stood up silently to pay tribute to a figure who will be the last of his kind.

He was 77 but almost everyone was shocked to find out he had become  mortal so fast; his songs dealt with the whole country – even French Quebec in his sparkling “Susanne de Lafayette” , dealing with the deportations of the Acadians to Louisiana – and did not come with a best before shelf time. My brother Doug says that one of his aboriginal Nuuchalnuut friends from the remote west coast of Vancouver Island had only ever spoken positively about one “Canadian” entertainer who sang about the things that also defined much of his own life – hard work in hard places: “Tillsonburg, my back still hurts when I hear its name, “Sudbury Saturday Night”, “Bud the Spud”  who was”flying down the 401 smilin with the  best damn spuds cause they’re from Prince Edward Island” and outwitting the Ontario Provincial Police to get them safe to Toronto, “Red River Jane”, “Okanagan Okee” and “A real Canadian Girl” who could do things the Yanks never dreamed of: drinking, fighting, smoking, dancing, playing the guitar, indulging in all those pleasures that political correctness crowd has deemed unworthy of sanctioning.  Tom spent his early years criss-crossing the country from Saint John’s to Victoria to Yukon,  picking up free beers and then some dollars in bars for singing his songs before moving along to write new ones about the place he had just been.  He spent the later ones making 50 albums of them.  Here is the last thing he wrote, to be opened only after his death.

Hello friends,

I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.   It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.   I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.

Sincerely,Your Friend always,

Stompin’ Tom Connors

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