The Toronto Soul Scene
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After George left the Mandala he went on to form George Olliver and His Children which evolved into Natural Gas. The band in those days toured Ontario and Quebec constantly but home based at The Commodore in Kingston Ontario. "It was a real nice spot" says Olliver. "And when I made the Natural Gas album many musicians from the area were covering the songs from it." It was fame without the riches according to George, but an excellent musical period that he carries on to the present. As a founding member of Toronto’s Mandala, George was not only present at the birth but played an integral part in the formation of Canada’s musical landscape.
Back when Yorkville was the centre of Toronto’s counterculture revolution, George was known for spectacular shows that whipped teenaged audiences into a frenzy; in ‘66 they were fired from the CNE for George’s “dangerous” display of emotion. Olliver captured this energy and emotion with his classic recording Natural Gas. George later recorded two solo singles, 'I May Never Get To See You Again/Shine' for Much Records and 'Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You' for the Corner Stone label before playing and recording with Toronto band The Royals in the late '70s,
Toronto's Famous 'Bluenote' Club
From 1982 -92 George co-owned and was the musical director for Toronto's Bluenote Club. It immediately became known as the "Home of Rhythm & Blues" in the city. He brought such greats as Sam and Dave, Solomon Burke, Martha Reeves, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Mary Wells and the list goes on. It was a great musical scene, with George treating his patrons weekly to great local guest artists and once a month bringing in prominent international classis R&B recording stars to perform.
During this period George recorded Live at the Bluenote and Dream Girl, the latter of which was nominated for a Juno in 1987. "I would say my inspiration was always Diane Brooks" states George. "She's the one that really moved me, and made me seriously think about R&B professionally." Also during this time hundreds of hours were recorded live at the Bluenote, capturing the energy of the music and performances of many timeless moments in R&B music. Live at the Bluenote is now available on CD!