A Foot In Coldwater, Nov. 21 @ The  Phoenix Concert Hall. Pic: Grant W. Martin
A Foot In Coldwater, Nov. 21 @ The Phoenix Concert Hall. Pic: Grant W. Martin

Larry Green's Gift To Frank Davies

Very sorry to hear the news about Larry Green.

I used to regularly listen to Larry Green’s nightly show on CHUM-FM. Larry had the occasional feature on an emerging local artist of note that he felt deserved attention.

In late 1971 one of the artists Larry featured caught my attention. At that time the band was still called Nucleus. 

Nucleus had recently added to their core lineup of Danny Taylor, Bob Horne, and Hughie Leggat from the Lords of London, with guitarist Paul Naumann and vocalist Alex Machin from the band Leather (which latter band had in turn recently been produced by Felix Pappalardi, a founding member of Mountain, and the producer of Cream). 

Despite their youth, Nucleus’s core members already had impressive music pedigrees - with Leggat, Taylor and Horne having made up ¾ of the Lords Of London, one of the big local pop groups of the era (who had a #1 single in Canada with the song Cornflakes & Ice Cream in 1967) - and thereafter, likely in reaction to that hit ‘commercial’ status, they had formed the very adventurous Nucleus.  

Nucleus had then been signed to Bob Shad’s Mainstream label in New York and had its debut album produced by none other than legendary producer Phil Ramone. Larry's leanings to jazz music and the more freeform expressions of it no doubt drew him to this band's more recent music. While Nucleus and its album had attracted a lot of great press and fan reverence, its music was highly progressive and was not that ‘commercially’ accessible with its rock fusion stylings.

Anyway, Nucleus with Machin/Naumann aboard had done some demos of new material financed in part by a CHUM-AM DJ called Johnny Mitchell and it was these that Larry was playing on his show that night I was listening. The tracks included Dream On and Heartbreaker – which years later I released commercially for the very first time. I called Larry immediately, hooked up with Mitchell and his manager partner Shelley Saffran on November 19th, 1971, got a copy of the demos to listen to further, and then being satisfied that the band still sounded as good on tape as I had heard them that night on the radio, I arranged to meet the group at the home of one of its members.

It was true love at first listen. An incredible group of players with some great songs on top of what I had heard on Larry's show. I bought out their contracts with Mitchell/Saffran, signed them to Daffodil Records and renamed them A Foot In Coldwater.

Thank you Larry. RIP

–– Editor's note: The accompanying picture was taken at a Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Hall on Nov. 21, 2019. Pictured, original Foot In Coldwater drummer Danny Taylor, singer Alex Machin, and bassist Huey Leggat.

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