Chalk Circle - 1986 The Great Lake

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Chalk Circle
ALBUM: The Great Lake
LABEL: Duke Street
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1988, Duke Street, DSMD-41024


LINEUP: Chris Tait - vocals, guitar * Brad Hopkins - bass * Derrick Murphy - drums * Tad Winklarz - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 April Fool * 02 Trains * 03 Big White Clouds * 04 Me, Myself & I * 05 The Great Lake * 06 Superman (Meets The Man Of Steel) * 07 20th Century Boy (Bonustrack) * 08 Come With Me (Bonustrack) * 09 Believe In Something (Bonustrack)


This band had been known by a number of different names, but by the mid 80's, the Canadians had settled on the moniker Chalk Circle.

Depending which side of the melodic divide you live on, CC could have been thrown into the alternative rock pigeon-hole, but that would've been a waste of time. They would've been forgotten in an instant.

Instead, I think you'll find this lot are better served in the AOR/melodic rock sub-genre.

From the town of Newcastle, east of Toronto on highway 401 heading out of the big smoke, they've been classed as U2 wannabes.

But if you dig deeper into their music, you'll find snippets of Glass Tiger, Boulevard - especially the sax work) and a dribble of Eight Seconds.

Mind you, there were plenty of other Canadian bands following this path, and I'm wondering whether a full-on in-depth GDM research project is required to dig out all these maple-leaf laden gems? I think so.

Formed in 1982, the band finally secured a deal with Duke Street Records (Stan Meissner, Brian Plummer) and released three albums between 1986 and 1989, the first of which was this EP 'The Great Lake'.

The Songs

The lead-off track 'April Fool' became their biggest hit, entering the Canadian top 10 singles chart. It's very representative of the mid 80's era, and there's a lot of similarity to a band like Glass Tiger for mine.

'Trains' has that big rickenbacker bass sound made popular by fellow Canucks Frozen Ghost around this same era, and is carried along by that bit of 4-string thunder.

Lots of sound effects roll in on 'Big White Clouds'. It's a very spacious sounding track, notwithstanding the percussive bell sound and emotive vocals. A very likeable song.

'Me Myself I' is the other song which made it out as a single. The title-track 'The Great Lake' is an easy paced sweet sounding tune, and good for sing-a-long value too.

'Superman (Meets the Man of Steel)' bangs off the walls in the same way that Eight Seconds did in the same year. Very percussive, with strong bass lines as well.

In Summary

'The Great Lake' was released as an EP during 1986 containing the above named six tracks.

In 1988, the album was reissued as a CD, with three bonus tracks, including a version of T Rex's 1973 single '20th Century Boy'.

As their reward, the band were nominated in the 1986 Juno Awards for most promising group.

Chalk Circle would release 'Mending Walls' and 'As The Crow Flies' in 1987 and 1989 respectively, but broke up in 1990 citing the oft given excuse 'creative differences'.. lol!

In recent times, the band has reformed and played a series of reunion gigs in both Ontario and Quebec.

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