After approximately 25 years away from the music business, The Cooper Brothers, once Canada’s answer to the Eagles, reunite for a few more kicks at the can.
Unlike many nostalgia acts content to churn out songs from their glory days, this Canadian country rock band has recorded a new album of tunes.
“Honest to God, this is fun. We’re taking it one day at a time,” says Dick Cooper, 59, the songwriter and brother to singer Brian. These days the band’s added configuration also includes Terry King, Darwin Demers, Jeff Rogers, Rob Holz and Ed Bimm.
About 30 years ago, Ottawa’s Cooper Brothers was one of the most successful Canadian bands of the 1970s. Fame came quickly when in 1978 they signed a long-term contract to Capricorn Records. Capricorn had a reputation for signing on popular southern rock bands such as The Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker.
The Cooper Brothers’ first two albums sold extremely well with singles The Dream Never Dies, Show Some Emotion and I’ll Know Her When I See Her charting on The Billboard Hot 100.
But about two weeks after the release of their second album, Capricorn folded, pushing them into a transformative stage of their career. Several other music deals soured and by 1983, the brothers called it quits. “It just got you down. We had been at it for 15 years. It felt good when we stopped.”
Fast-forward 25 years. Pacemaker, a subsidiary of EMI that puts out re-issues, obtained old tapes from The Cooper Brothers songs and in 2006 released The Best of the Cooper Brothers, a collection of their most popular tracks.
“We had a CD release at our favourite watering hole, The Prescott. You could fit in maybe 200 people. When we got there, there were 300 to 400 people crammed in the bar and a line-up down the street,” laughs Cooper.
“We had learned four songs. We didn’t have enough to play the night and lucky for us there were a bunch of musicians out there and we faked our way through the night.”
This gig led to a memorable Ottawa Bluesfest concert with the band opening for James Taylor in front of a crowd of 25,000 people. It triggered Cooper’s yen to write and soon he was cranking out 25 tunes a year. “The whole song process is a mystery to me. I go out in the back yard and come back with a song.”
After producing the new 12-track album, Linden wrote on the Internet, “When I heard the songs, I thought they sounded timeless. They were brimming with ideas. They weren’t trivial and they were musically and lyrically so well thought out.”
Working with the laid-back Linden was vastly different from previous label partnerships. “Someone from the record company was always breathing down your neck and you were always trying to write ahead. This way is more honest. To me it sounds like when we started before people started to meddle.”
For more information visit www.thecooperbrothers.com.
The Cooper Brothers<br />Friday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.<br />Arden Theatre<br />Tickets: $35. Call 780-459-1542 or visit www.ticketmaster.ca