When I was a kid growing up in Winnipeg, I played in a few bands along with Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, Randy Bachman of BTO, and the legendary Neil Young. Although I did start out singing with a vocal group first called Shayne and The Devines. However, not being much of a singer and would much rather be in a band, I began to recruit some pretty good players like Pete Proskurnik, Gordy Duke, Rolly and Lawrence Blaquiere and before long we became a band known as The Rebel Raiders. (see below left) At some point, we finally came to the realization that our name sounded a little too southern for a northern band so we changed it to The Phantoms (see below middle)but after picking up a bad reputation as a party band, we quickly morphed into The Jury.
When we lost our singer Donny Burns to Arc records in Toronto,(see below right) we went into the studio to cut pur own demo hoping to come up with something decent enough to send to the dance promoters like J Robert Wood in hopes of getting some more gigs. Seeing as our new singer, Bruce Walker, was still a few more rehearsals away from being ready to rock, we were only in the studio on this cold career-changing day to cut some instrumentals.
While waiting for Chuck Dann and Dayrl ‘B’ to set up all the equipment, Terry and I helped Bruce finish up a tune he was working on. Our plan if we had studio time left, was to tack it on the end of the session.
We had gone into that session as The Phantoms but came out as The Jury with a brand new sound. The weird part about all this is that I can remember every detail of that recording session but very little of those that followed. When Hal Ross of London Records heard the tune we’d come up with at the last moment, “Until You Do,” he said those memorable words I’ll never forget, “Hell I’ll release that.” And just like that, we became London Recording artists.
The best part of all this came the day we were headed out of town and heard Jimmy Darin play “Until You Do” on the radio. We almost blew the speakers out in the car we had it cranked up so loud.
When “Until You Do” started slipping down the charts we went back into the studio where our new sound continued with the recording of, “I Tried To Tell Her.”
When we went back into the studio to record “Back In My World” everything was beginning to change and before long so would we.
When “Back In My World” came off the charts we decided not only to change recording studios but also record companies and our look. Down to Minneapolis we went and cut what turned out to be the #1 Canadian record in Canada called “Please Forget Her” which was big enough to give us an American release.
On the flip side of “Please Forget her was a tune called “Who Dat?” Who Dat? was not only a very different sound for us, it became a cult favorite and was even covered by a punk band some twenty-five years later. A recent magazine article even recently claimed that “Who Dat? was fifty years ahead of its time.
PLaying with The Jury was a wonderful experience, but I turned out to be much better at radio than I ever was at being a musician. Twenty years later though when I got the call that the author of the book “Shakin’ All Over,” John Einarson was putting a sixties band reunion together, I must admit that I got very excited.
I hadn’t seen my bandmates since I left the band some twenty years before so I was looking forward to our own reunion. The 60’s reunion thing was being held at the Winnipeg Convention Center and was not only sold out, it was being broadcast on TV. Hey when you’ve got Neil, Randy, and Burton on stage together, TV is always there.
The whole night was mind boggling and I’m proud to say that even today, all The Jury guys are still alive but I must admit that our look has changed somewhat as you can see in the pictures from the reunion below.
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