The Liner/Sleeve Notes:
“WE COME OUT TO PLAY – and we’ve been coming out to play since March 1972 when the idea of the three Saunders brothers Don, Ted and Doug sparked and grew into what is now the York Lions Steel Band.
The spark was kindled when the group acquired a set of steel drums and Doug’s daughter Debbie joined the group to complete the music compliment. The York Lions agreed to sponsor the group and recruiting for a full orchestra began in May of 1972.
The band’s full compliment consists of 49 drums — played by 30 teenagers, all mainly residents of the Borough of York — a set of traps, two tambourines and a set of maracas.
The group spent the summer and fall of 1972 arranging, developing technique, rehearsing and getting together a repertoire before they began making public appearances at banquets and social gatherings at various Toronto Area hotels in the fall.
During 1973 the York Lions Steel Band travelled to Miami Beach, Florida to appear at the Miami Convention Centre and the Fontainbleu Hotel to represent the Lions Club of Metropolitan Toronto, the Provincial Governmet and the Borough of York at the Lions International Convention.
WE COME OUT TO PLAY was the band’s show opener at the 1974 Canadian National Exhibition. And play they did — much to the delight of thousands of spectators who were thrilled with their music for five days of performances at the world’s largest annual exhibition in Toronto.
The steel band is affiliated with the Borough of York Parks and Recreation Department — whose support has contributed to its success — and continues to highlight York’s Festival, an annual event which boasts to be one of the finest community showcases in Metropolitan Toronto.
The recording WE COME OUT TO PLAY was produced in St. Hilda’s Anglican Church in the Borough of York. The York Lions Steel Band extends its thanks to the Reverent Clifford Ward, Rector, and to the Parishioners for their continuing interest in their development.
Music Director Don Saunders takes the York Lions Steel Band through one of their fast-paced numbers during the recording session at St. Hilda’s Anglican Church, Toronto. The band requested the use of St. Hilda’s for the taping and sound reproduced on this recording is a tribute to both the talent of the youngsters and the outstanding acoustical qualities of the church.
Jerry Jerome has double duties with the band. He keeps the drums in tune — as above — and he arranges some of the numbers.
Co-ordinating the record session are the band executive and the works who made it all possible. Reading clockwise from the bottom are: Revered Clifford Ward, Rector of St. Hilda’s Anglican Church; Managing Director Douglas Saunders; Debbie Saunders, who arranges and plays lead; Music Director Don Saunders, Ron Corbett, Equipment Manager and Dave Watt, Personal Director.”
So, I’m gonna hop right into this one.
The album opens with the title track, “We Come Out to Play” and well, I’m definitely not a huge fan of the whole steel band type of thing they got going, but wow, they are talented. Next up comes the song “Killing Me Softly” and well, this doesn’t really sound like the song that I am familiar with, it’s okay, it’s still not really my type of music though. Then comes “Love’s Theme” and I find a lot of the tracks sound a lot alike. This is definitely not my type of music. After that comes “House of the Rising Sun” – and this doesn’t even really sound like the song it’s supposed to sound like, I can sort of hear it, but it’s still pretty far off. “(Don’t) Rock the Boat” follows, and still not hearing any of the songs I am familiar with. The musicianship is good to say the least, but after that, I don’t like it at all. Then comes “Matilda” which sounds exactly like every other track I’ve heard so far… and oh my God, there was just some vocals, no idea what was said, but there was definitely some vocals in there! The A-Side closes with “T.S.O.P. (Soul Train)” and, not sure if it is supposed to be the Soul Train theme, but I don’t like it, I can’t tell if my record is scratched or if it is really repetitive… nope, just super repetitive. Flipping this record over.
So, the B-Side has nine songs, and opens with the track “Yellow Bird” and well, it’s nothing special, it’s kind of like every other song on this album. I’ve heard some pretty repetitive stuff before, and some pretty bad albums, but so far this one takes the cake on everything. After that comes “Alley Cat” and I’m falling asleep, can we just make this end already? You know what. I’m done with this album.
A1 – We Come Out to Play
A2 – Killing Me Softly
A3 – Love’s Theme
A4 – House of the Rising Sun
A5 – (Don’t) Rock the Boat
A6 – Matilda
A7 – T.S.O.P. (Soul Train)
B1 – Yellow Bird
B2 – Alley Cat
B3 – Island Woman
B4 – Marianne
B5 – Eildelwiesse
B6 – Hand in the Hand
B7 – El Mar
B8 – Amazing Grace
B9 – Jamaican Farewell
Studio Musicians & Other Album Credits:
Managing Director – Doug Saunders
Musical Director – Donald Saunders
Instructors – Ted Saunders & Debbie Saunders
Personnel – David Watt
Equipment – Ron Corbett & George Banton
Leads – Debbie Saunders, Diane Messner, Julie Flaherty, Marilyn Gilbert, Lorraine Heise, Kathy Thompson & Sharon Watt
2nds – Debbie Corbett, Pam Flaherty, David Saunders, Gail Watt, Lorie West & Debbie Wright
3rds – Peggy Conaghan, Ricky Deymond, Bill Flaherty, Cindy Mifsud & Debbie Watt
Cellos – David Mifsud & David Saunders
Base – Paul Barker, Dave Rudkin & Jon Watt
Percussion – Barbara Corbett, Lynda Watt & Jacqueline Watt
Drums – Brian McGee
Other Albums I Own by York Lions Steels Band: