||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (September 2011)|
|Origin||London, Ontario, Canada|
|Labels||Buddah, Revolver, Unidisc|
Motherlode was a Canadian pop rock group formed in 1969 in London. The group scored some success in the US with their single, "When I Die", which hit #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1969.
The act remain as one-hit wonders.
William Smith and Steve Kennedy had been playing together with Eric Mercury and Dianne Brooks in a Toronto band called the Soul Searchers that Mercury and Brooks fronted as lead vocalists. After the Soul Searchers broke up, first Kennedy and then Smith joined a group called Grant Smith and the Power which also featured David Clayton Thomas.
They formed Motherlode in 1969 and relocated to London, Ontario, where they struggled and stayed with friends. They finally got a break following their debut at the Image Club when Mort Ross signed them to Revolver Records that same year.
Their first single, "When I Die" that was produced by Doug Riley and Terry Brown did not make any headway on the radio. A reciprocal deal in the US with Buddah Records made the song a hit reaching Number 18 on the charts. The song sold more than 500,000 copies and it eventually climbed to Number 5 in the Canadian charts. Brooks contributed a song "Memories of A Broken Promise" as well as some background vocals to Motherlode's When I Die album. Motherlode also contributed a song and instrumental backing on Brooks album, Another Kind Of Soul that was released on Revolver Records.
The group broke up in January 1970 and their second album, Tapped Out, was released posthumously only in the United States. Steve Kennedy, Ken Marco and Wayne Stone went on to be founding members of Dr. Music in Toronto, Canada.
As Revolver Records owned the name Motherlode, they decided to reform the group, keeping William Smith making this the second version of the group. They had Smith bring in three new musicians, Doug Richardson (saxophone), Anthony Shinault (guitar) and Philip Wilson (drums). This version of Motherlode, the second released one single in late in 1970, "I'm So Glad You're You (And Not Me)" / "Whipoorwill" (instrumental). Their new single flopped and the group quickly broke up.
Mort Ross, Revolver Record's president brought in Gord Waszek, of the rock group Leigh Ashford, to begin writing for the third version of Motherlode. They recorded "All That's Necessary", with Breen Leboeuf on vocals, Mike Levine on bass plus Gord Waszek and several other members of Leigh Ashford. The B-side of this single was "My Chant" which was just a renamed version of "Hiro Smothek" from 1970's Tapped Out. To promote this record, another version of Motherlode, the fourth was created with Mike Levine (bass), Wayne St. John (vocals), Kieran Overs (guitar) and two former members of Leigh Ashford, Wally Cameron (drums) and Newton Garwood (keyboards). Despite a major promotion push the record flopped and the band broke up.
By March 1971, a fifth version of Motherlode was created from the remnants of Natural Gas, a Montreal-based group. The members were Dave Berman (saxophone),Brian Dewhurst (drums), Gerry Legault (bass, vocals), Joey Roberts [Miquelon] (guitar) and Brian Wray (keyboards). They never managed to recording anything, and became Truck with the addition of Graham Lear.
The original Motherlode members reunited in 1976, and recorded a song "Happy People" but, because of issues surrounding the name Motherlode, it had to be released as a Kenny Marco solo release. In November 1989, they used the name Motherlode for a reunion during a week of live performances at the Bluenote club in Toronto. In 1990 they recorded eight new songs, but those sessions have remained unreleased.
Breen LeBoeuf eventually relocated to Montreal in 1978 to join Offenbach. He later recorded three solo albums and did a two year stint with Celine Dion as bassist/background vocalist, before joining Canadian rockers April Wine in January 2007, replacing Jim Clench on bass.
Kennedy later joined the Canadian band Lighthouse. He first performed with Lighthouse in 1982 at the One Fine Weekend Ontario Place reunion.
Smith became a session musician and played on and contributed background vocals to recordings by artists such as Eric Mercury on his Funky Sounds Nurtured In The Fertile Soil album, Mark Tanner on his No Escape album, and Rickie Lee Jones on her Flying Cowboys album. He also released a solo album Smitty, which included a song "Sweetie Pie" that he co-wrote with Eric Mercury. He died in 1997 of a heart attack.
- Steve Kennedy – saxophone 
- Ken Marco – guitar 
- William "Smitty" Smith – keyboards 
- Wayne Stone – drums 
- Daine Brooks - Background Vocals 
- Carol Kay - Bass, Acoustic Guitar
- Dave Young - Bass
- Paul Mickey Callum - Congas
- Andy Cree - Percussion 
- Doug Richardson - saxophone - replaced Steve Kennedy 1970
- Anthony Shinault - Guitar- replaced Ken Marco 1970
- Philip Wilson - drums - replaced Wayne Stoney Stone 1970
- Wally Cameron - drums - replaced Philip Wilson 1971
- Newton Garwood - keyboards - Replaced William Smitty Smith 1971
- Gord Waszek - guitar - replaced Anthony Shinault 1971
- Dave Berman - saxophone
- Brian Dewhurst - drums
- Breen LeBeouf - Vocals
- Gerry Legault - Bass, Vocals
- Mike Levine - Bass
- Kieran Overs - guitar
- Joey Roberts (Miquelon) - Guitar
- Wayne St. John - Vocals
- Brian Wray - Keyboards
- "When I Die" / "Hard Life" - Revolver REVS 002 - 1969
- "When I Die" / "Hard Life" - Buddah BDA 131 - 1969
- "Memories Of A Broken Promise" / "What Does It Take" - Revolver REVS 004 - 1969
- "What Does It Take" / "Memories Of A Broken Promise" - Buddha BDA 144
- "Dear Old Daddy Bill" / "Living Life2 - Revolver REVS 005 - 1970
- "I'm So Glad You're You (And Not Me)" / "Whipoorwill2 - Revolver REVS 008 - 1970
- "All That's Necessary" / "Chant" - Revolver REVS 011 - 1970 or 1971
- "Dear Old Daddy Bill", "Memories Of A Broken Promise" / "Oh! See The White Light", "You Ain't Lookin' In The Right Place Baby" - Buddha 1969
- When I Die/Tapped Out [2-fer-1 CD re-issue] (Pacemaker) 
- The Best Of / When I Die - Unidisc AGEK-2246 - Canada 2001
- "AllMusic - Motherlode - Biography Overview". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "AllMusic - Motherlode - Billboard Singles Charts & Awards". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- Canadian Pop Encyclopedia - Artist: Motherlode With the exception of some of the material in the "Later Years" section, most of this Wikipedia article is a minor edit of the Canadian Pop Encyclopedia entry.
- Toronto Blues Society More About Dianne Brooks by Bill Munson
- http://www.aprilwine.ca Breen Leboef
- it came from canada.com Eric Mercury by Beau
- geocities.jp THE GREAT GROOVE MASTER JEFF PORCARO SESSION WORLD The Mark Tanner Band / No Escape
- [Answers.com Album Review: Smitty
- "Los Angeles Times - William "Smitty" Smith Obituary". LATimes.com. 1997-12-11. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- Uncredited, Newton Garwood passes on. Canadian Music Trade, November 7, 2005; www.canadianmusictrade.com.
- Answers.com When I Die Album by Motherlode
- Bad Cat Records Motherlode
- JBPCo website Canadian single's list L-R 1966-72.
- Both Sides Now Publications Buddah Album Discography, Part 1