|The Handsome Neds: Live At The Horseshoe EP launches at The Horseshoe on Sunday, January 29th.|
If not for some good old fashioned dumb luck, a collection of peak-period live recordings by Toronto roots rock legend Handsome Ned may never have seen the light of day. The forthcoming release of The Handsome Neds: Live At The Horseshoe is actually the result of a serendipitous reunion of former Horseshoe Tavern co-manager X-Ray Macrae and Ned’s brother, Jim Masyk, at a Toronto ATM. Here's the scoop:
Way back in 1985, The Handsome Neds were set to share a bill with fellow roots rock rising stars Blue Rodeo who'd just played their first show at the Rivoli on February 7th of that year. A 24-track mobile recording truck and veteran producer Terry Brown were hired in the hopes that a Blue Rodeo live demo would cement a record deal with Warner Music Canada. Fortunately, the tape was rolling during the Handsome Neds set and some real magic was captured on two-inch tape. Ned, who died tragically on January 10, 1987 at age 29, never got to hear that tape as the recording costs were never paid. As a result the tapes stayed in the possession of X-Ray who stored them in a Napanee farmhouse until the aforementioned ATM encounter. X-Ray generously donated the recording to the Masyks which made the current release possible.
You have to wonder whatever became of the early Blue Rodeo live document made on the same night. There's no question that any pre-Outskirts recording would be of interest to longtime Blue Rodeo fans – especially a professional quality 24-track job overseen by Terry Brown – so some further investigation into the whereabouts and condition of the tapes seems like a worthwhile pursuit.
In any case, Cameron House Records is launching the re-mixed and re-mastered Handsome Neds recording as the six-song Live At The Horseshoe EP – including the previously unissued original “Little Miss Lonely Heart” – at The Horseshoe Tavern on Sunday January 29th at 8:30 pm. Set to perform songs from the Handsome Ned catalogue on the very same stage where the original performance was captured are: John Borra (Rattlesnake Choir), Steve Koch (Handsome Neds, One-Eyed Jacks), Cleave Anderson (Blue Rodeo), Screamin' Sam Ferrara (Rattlesnake Choir), Tony Benattar (Rattlesnake Choir), Johnny MacLeod (Johnny & The G-Rays), Tony Kenny (Razorbacks), Devin Cuddy and some special guests.
Watch Handsome Ned performing "No Room For Cheating" on Ottawa's Capital City Hayride followed by the trailer for You Left Me Blue: The Handsome Ned Story below.