Monday, June 28, 2021
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Email from Charles Dowson Jun 4, 2021, 12:49
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Al Hepburn Richard Dowson and Wick Drewry went out west to Alberta to become cowboys in 1959 They worked on the ranch in Brooks Alberta until the fall,
Al left shortly after they arrived and I remember him saying “they round up cattle with a pick-up truck”
Wick went back to Ontario after round up
Richard moved in with my brother Bill Dowson who was living in Drumheller Alta where he worked on the local Radio station CJDV The voice of the big country” He went back to high school in Drumheller and graduated after a year of selling insurance he married and went to University of Alberta Edmonton became a school teacher and high school principal
Wick went back to the Ranch every year after that and worked on the ranch from branding in the spring to roundup in the fall and spent the winter with his mother in Willowdale.
Richard now lives in Moose Jaw Sask
Al Hepburn joined the North York Fire department where he worked until his death and Wick later became a horse wrangler at Pioneer Village in Ontario and retired with a government pension. He passed away a few years ago.
An now you know the rest of the story. - John Dowson
Al Hepburn and His 56 Caddy
Al bought it in 1958 while he was living down the street from us on Parkview with Kenny Beaton’s family. Kenny’s Dad had been blown up in the War – never adapted to life after combat – so was in the hospital most of the time and Kenny’s mom took in boarders to make ends meet.
Kenny had one sister – older – who lived at home at the time.
Kenny Beaton was well known because he survived Polio – but he was also known for getting hit by a car while crossing Yonge Street. At the time our school, McKee Avenue School had the Elmer the Safety Elephant flag on the flag pole at the front of the school. When Kenny got hit they took away our Elmer Flag – assholes.
While Al was living at Beaton’s and working for the Township driving garbage truck, a guy named Joey Alkie was also there. Joey loved the booze. Joey had worked as a cook for a well known Deli on Bathurst (it’s still there). One day Joey told Al that they kept money overnight in the Deli and where it was located.
The two went down one night and Al broke in, found the money and got out. Joey asked for a share and Al told him he couldn’t find the money – so there was no share.
Al had managed to get over $1,000 - later investing it in his Cadillac.
Our mother thought he was a great saver and an example for all us on how to save and invest.
Al told me the story while we were working at the 7L7 in 1959. He had the Cadillac at the ranch for a month – then the Finance Company boys showed up from Calgary and repossessed it.
Hepburn was a scoundrel through and through – but great fun to be with.
The last time I saw Joey and Al together they were on the subway coming back from a Dog Show at the CNE. Joey was loaded.
Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw
Al Hepburn & The Hound Dogs (1954)
Al Hepburn lived in a bungalow 2 streets north of Finch Ave, (which was the northern boundary of Willowdale) at 15 Bishop Ave. He asked me to play in his band, The Hound Dogs. Apparently he got my name from Danny Antonacci, who was one of my high school classmate. Hepburn never went to Earl Haig.
Al was a couple of years older than me and his profession during the day was what he called a “Sanitary Engineer” for the Township of North York – a garbage collector. He had a younger brother Ken and the two of them played guitar and sang Rock and Roll music.
Al played mostly rhythm guitar while Kenny played lead (solos) on his brand new gold sparkle Gibson “Les Paul” guitar. That guitar was quite special back then and it became a classic. Al had a really nice guitar too. It was a Martin.
Hound dog!They call them Rhythm and BluesHound dog!Two dogs named Rhythm and BluesHound dog!Rompin' ol' Rhythm and BluesHound dog!Rockin' ol' Rhythm and BluesHound dog!Crazy ol' Rhythm and BluesHound dog! Hound dog! Hound dog! Hound dog!
Al, The Instigator
Dancing on Top of Cars
Al always instigated things. I remember Al pinched a few cases of beer from the back of a bootleggers van and created a need for a bush party. I cannot remember who the other guest were. As events progressed we decided that jumping from the roofs of our autos to the roof of the next one was indeed great fun. Monday morning I looked at my sagging looking Chev and vowed to never partake in alcohol again...
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Apr 18, 2020, 2:39 PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Sunday, February 28, 2016
I’m reading Jerry Lee Lewis’s autobiography and there it is in the book saying he played Le coq’dor in Toronto.
For years people have been telling me I was nuts, I began to believe myself that it didn’t happen and now there it is in writing in his book.
I was playing with Tommy Danton and the Echoes at the Zanzibar Tavern just up the street. We had just returned to Toronto from Quebec city where we played at the Bal’Taberan. We were at the Zanzibar all summer July and August 1959. We heard that Jerry Lee Lewis was playing at Le coq’dor and between sets we would go down to catch his act, but because his marriage to his 13 year old cousin had taken place in 1958 and his England trip with his teenager bride was a disaster his star had fallen and he was playing, what he called “Beer Joints” so not many people were in the room during the week.
As I remember it was just a trio piano, bass and drums, we even had the chance to speak with him. He was there for a week and we saw him at Bassels restaurant where all the waiters, and musicians would go to eat after the bars closed.
As the years passed I wasn’t sure if he really played Toronto before he went to England or after but he says in his biography that it was after his career spiraled down.
He writes, "I played juke joints in Chicago, Iowa and even Le Coq’dor in Toronto".
So there it is.
Did you or anyone else see him when he played la coq’dor Tavern in Toronto in 1959?
About ten years ago I met the owner of The Simcoe Arms hotel in Sutton Ontario Gord Josie. He as a country singer and later manager of Le coq’dor and he confirmed that Jerry Lee Lewis played the tavern downstairs.
So Russ you can put that on the site.
- John Dowson