Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Wyckham!

This turning into a stellar year, for Victoria-born Commercial Drive resident, Wyckham Porteous.
Recently his label, Cordova Bay Records, announced the UK release of Please Please Me, Wyckham Porteous (distributed in the UK by Pinnacle Distribution). If the title seems familiar, well that's because it's a cover version of The Beatles smash hit of 1963. Except, you've never heard it like this before! The single has been produced and arranged by no less a music business legend than Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of The Rolling Stones, and MD of one of the first British Independent record labels, Immediate. Andrew Oldham worked with The Beatles in their early days, and his recollection of the recording of Please Please Me was that the song was originally composed as a ballad, in tribute to the great Roy Orbison. Hearing the obvious qualities in the song, the band's esteemed producer George Martin nonetheless encouraged the band to whip up the pace, until it became the defining Merseybeat anthem we now know and love. In the spirit of the song's original incarnation, however, Oldham has took the song back to its gentler tempo, adding layers of plangent steel guitar, pizzicato strings and tasteful sitar, whilst Porteous contributes a vocal of aching poignancy and deep emotive appeal, and the result is one of the most striking reworkings of a Beatles song ever.

The Wyckham Porteous version of Please Please Me has already caused quite a stir on UK radio; when Bob Harris and Mark Lamarr (deputising for Jonathan Ross) played a 'white label' copy of the single on their respective radio shows late last year, Porteous' website received over five hundred hits, with browsers demanding to know where they can get a copy. Well, with the final UK release of this truly magnificent single, those wishes will be finally fulfilled.
rarely straying from the West Coast of Canada ("The sole pinprick of temperate weather in all of Canada"), Wyckham Porteous realized very early in life that his path would be that of a writer and in particular a singer/songwriter.

"I knew I had to be a songwriter. I knew I wanted to sing. But, The beach bum - Wyckham enjoying the beach at Cordova Baywhere I was living, there was no Nashville, no Tin Pan Alley, no L. A., there was really no place to put your focus."

So he played a lot of festivals. He did his songs in the clubs. He logged a lot of miles. He did everything he was supposed to do. And finally, his break came when he wrote and starred in the hit play Joe's Cafe which enjoyed an extended run at Vancouver's prestigious Arts Club Theatre. Soon afterward, more out of romance than design, he and his long-time partner Patty Fraser, well known for her work in live theatre, wrote and performed a very cool radio play brimming with songs about these journeys for the nationwide Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). Well, the CBC loved it... and everyone that mattered seemed to have tuned right in. Soon, an angel financed an '89 album that was picked up by Bryan Adams' management firm, and charted Top 20 on Canadian radio. Leading to a 17-song CD, independently distributed in Canada, and a slot on Rod Kennedy's Kerrville Festival, down Texas way......

Read his full bio here...

Wyckham Porteous will release his new album, '3 AM' on August 20th.

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