Song of Our City cover

Song of Our City


This special recording project about Gordon’s home town of Guelph Ontario was commissioned by the Guelph Civic Museum, and was produced as a fundraiser for them. In exploring The Royal City’s heritage and culture, James used a combination of original songs and some works collected from early Guelphites. Other Guelph performers were featured including Ken Brown, Kat and Michael Calihoo, Lois Cherry, Harry Cullen, The Guelph Youth Singers, Sandy Horne, Edward Johnson, Daniel Pelletier, Jude Vadala, the “of Chords we are” Barbershop Quartet, The Eramosa Brass and the students of Ottawa Crescent School.

Pipe Street Records, 2002

SKU: JG2602 Tags: ,

Product Description

Song Of Our City
Performed by Guelph’s famous Youth Singers, James wrote this about the artistic nature of his hometown.

Kahkewaquonoby — lyrics
About the first nations peoples who inhabited the land before the Scots settlers arrived in Guelph.

Far From Our Shieling
James adapted this song from one written by Guelph’s founder, John Galt, in the 1820s. It describes the Scots arriving in Canada after being evicted in the Highland Clearances.

Charles Coghlin
About the first hanging in Guelph in the 1830s. Young Charles Coghlin, convicted of killing Richard Oliver in a brawl on Eramosa Road, was a victim himself of the Protestant/Catholic tensions brought to this new city by the Irish settlers.

Journey To Guelph
Written and performed by the students of Ottawa Crescent School as part of James’ “Rhyme Capsules” Songwriting-in-the-schools programme…this song describes the arrival of some of Guelph’s first settlers.

Selling Apples in Guelph Market in the Palmy Days of 1879
This lengthy title pretty well explains the song! James set music to a delightful poem written by an early Guelphite.

My Ain Folk
Sometimes known as “Guelph’s Bard,” James had some prominent predecessors in the Guelph songwriting scene. This song became an international classic hit over a century ago and was written by Laura Lemon, whose house still stands along the banks of the Speed River. About her Scottish roots, it’s performed by another Scot, Guelph’s own singing tenor Harry Cullen.

The Unconquered Dead
John McRae is perhaps Guelphs’ most famous citizen. He wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” For this recording project James decided to visit one of McRae’s lessor known but equally powerful works about the First World War.

Elinor Glyn
Elinor Glyn was born in Guelph and became the original “IT GIRL” in the 1920s. A hugely successful romance novelist, adventurer, reporter and screen writer, Elinor lived the glamorous life and after she moved to Hollywood she became good friends with Charlie Chaplin and other movie pioneers. Another famous Guelphite, pop star Sandy Horne, performs this Gordon original.

Two Beautiful Rivers — mp3
James is a river guy, and this song describes Guelph’s location at the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers.

When Every Parlour Had A Piano
Guelph’s largest employer for many years was the Bell Piano Factory, and this true story by Gordon describes a door-to-door piano salesman from the early 1900s.

When St. George’s Square Was Pretty
Guelph is famous for its fine limestone buildings and European-style architecture. In the drive for modernization, many of our finest edifices were lost in the 1960s and 70s. This song mentions this as well as documenting the early social and entertainment life in Guelph.

Promise To Gow’s Bridge — lyrics
Drew Lamm is a well-known children’s author, currently living in Connecticut. She went to high school in Guelph with James, and grew up within a stone’s throw of the lovely stone “Gow’s Bridge” over the Speed River. When James reminded drew that the 100th anniversary of the bridge was approaching, the two of them collaborated on this birthday song for the bridge. Performed by another great Guelph singer-songwriter, Jude Vadala.

The Wet/Dry Blues
James wrote this rather silly song after Guelph’s new and sometimes baffling garbage disposal system came into place.

Home’s Not Just Where The Heart Is
Commissioned by the city of Guelph to mark the opening of the River Run Centre, the town’s premiere concert hall.

O Come With Me In The Summer Night
An archival recording of another famous Guelph son, Edward Johnson. Edward became an international opera-singing sensation in the early years of the last century. He went on to manage the Met in New York and returned to Guelph in his old age to help revitalize the local music scene.