One of the original Canada Company streets laid out in the 1830s, St. David Street, is shown on an old Canada Company map in the Canadian Archives in Ottawa title Plan of the Town of Stratford on Avon in the Huron Tract.
Canada Company officials apparently decided Stratford should have a street named after the four patron saints of Britain: St. Andrew, St. David, St. George and St. Patrick.
This street was named for St. David, the Patron Saint of Wales. He was a monk and bishop of the 6th century, who died in about the year 600. He is the only Welsh saint to be canonized. By Stanford Dingman
The five white angels
The five white angels Google 2021
Five white angels, St. David Street, 1871 Stratford-Perth Archives
Charlie Trethewey, cello
A Musical Memory of Charlie by Dean Robinson
The house at 265 St. David St., with its columns
Photo 2021 Fred Gonder
The white house
Row house 1888
105-109 St. David St.
John Till, guitarist. Photo posted by Dave Roberts If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB
John Till, musician . . . friend of Ken Kalmusky and Richard Manuel
John Till (Dec. 24, 1945-Sept. 4, 2020), grew up in Stratford near Ken Kalmusky (see Queen Street) and not far from Richard Manuel (see Well Street). He lived at 57 St. David St., and met Richard through Richard's younger brother, Don, at Romeo Public School. Till's parents were musicians who loved to play Dixieland. They had a band, so John was always around live music. His mother played classical and ragtime piano and his father Spanish guitar, tenor banjo, and string bass.
Till recalled Saturday night jam sessions at the trumpet player's house, where there was a rec room with a stage and a pool table turned into a buffet table. His parents' band would party and jam till dawn. The other musicians' kids would be there, too, and they'd fall asleep to the live sounds of Indiana, the Birth of the Blues, and Stardust.
Thank you for this! The only change is that John did play Woodstock with Janis but the band was Kosmic Blues, before Full Tilt was formed and Full Tilt was not all Canadian. The drummer Clark Pierson was American.
Till's parents would also take their young son to local clubs to hear Dixieland if they could arrange to get him in the door. One of the clubs, Campbell's in London, Ont., is where he played with Ronnie Hawkins 15 years later.
Till's family never pushed him into music or forced him to take lessons. They told him years later that their philosophy was to just have the musical instruments "around," and to make sure there was lots of music to be heard in the house. Till describes his parents as being "totally supportive" when he showed an interest in playing. His father taught him to play the four-string tenor guitar and banjo by ear, and also taught him the concept of improvisation -- taking off on the chords -- which is such a big part of Dixieland. They weren't rich, but when John became interested in rock and roll, when he was about 11, they managed to buy him his first electric guitar and amp.
“I first met Richard Manuel (see Well Street) through his younger brother Donald when we went to Romeo Public School, Grade 8. I’d walk over to the Manuel’s every morning on Well Street to meet Donald and we’d walk to school together, and back home in the afternoon. Richard was playing piano in their front room one day and Donald mentioned that I was a guitar player. I was invited to go home and get my guitar and, within a few days, I had joined the "Rebels." We were not named the "Revols" yet. A year later, I became friends with Ken Kalmusky who lived a few blocks from me. Ken was learning to play bass and soon became the Revols’ first bassist. All three houses had a piano, so we rehearsed at everyone’s place eventually. All of our parents were very supportive and it was a wonderful time for us.”
While attending Stratford Central Secondary School, Till formed a rock and roll band, the Revols, with classmates Richard Manuel and Ken Kalmusky. Manuel coined the name Revols, short for "revolution." The Revols (see Richard Monette Way) played local dance halls and schools throughout southern Ontario, but within a few years Manuel became a member of Ronnie Hawkins' Hawks, who later achieved fame as The Band, and Kalmusky would go on to play with Ian and Sylvia Tyson's Great Speckled Bird.
In 1958, the Revols were offered an opportunity to play some dates in Arkansas, gigs that Ronnie Hawkins had arranged. The Revols went south, but without Till, who at age 13 chose to remain in school. His interests at the time were pretty much girls and cars, when he knew every automobile's make, model and year. Music was his refuge from the daily grind while still in high school.
In 1960, Kalmusky told Till about the band Larry Lee and the Leesures, who were going to need a guitarist. So Till hitched a ride to Le Coq d'Or Tavern on Yonge Street in Toronto to audition, and he landed the job. He then spent the summer of 1960 playing on Yonge Street at Le Coq d'Or, and later just up the street at the Zanzibar with Max Falcon and the Falcons before returning to Stratford and school in the fall.
But he didn't stay in high school long. He got a call early in 1961 from Kelly Jay, later of Crowbar, and toured for several months through places such as Madison, Wis., and Gulfport, Ill., with Kelly Jay and the Jamies. Upon returning to Toronto, he played the summer of 1961 at the Zanzibar Tavern with a performer known as Johnny Rhythm. It was at the Zanzibar that Till met David Clayton-Thomas, later of Blood, Sweat and Tears. Clayton-Thomas would regularly sit in at various Yonge Street clubs on Saturdays, and Till joined him for a month of dates around Bay City, Mich., before returning to high school (yet again) in the fall of 1961.
By then, Manuel had left the Revols to join the Hawks and Ken Kalmusky had also returned to school. Within a year or so, Till and Kalmusky journeyed to Toronto and Le Coq d'Or, this time to audition for Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins was without a regular band after the Hawks had ventured off on their own, so he hired Robbie Lane and the Disciples for a while. But he was also putting together a new band in the summer of 1965. They jammed one day at "the Hawks nest" upstairs at Le Coq d'Or, and Hawkins hired Till to play guitar and Kalmusky to play bass.
Till recalled the famous power blackout of 1965 on Saturday, Nov. 9. Hawkins and his band had just finished their matinee at Le Coq d'Or. Kalmusky, who had left Hawkins by then to join Great Speckled Bird, came by the club to catch some tunes. Till and Kalmusky were sitting by the stage having a drink when the stage lights dimmed for a moment, came back on for a second or two, and then went totally out. They walked out onto Yonge Street to find the crowded city in darkness -- no neon lights, no traffic signals, no moving streetcars. The band didn't play that Saturday night because the power didn't come back on for 24 hours, but that's how Till remembered the year he joined Ronnie Hawkins and his Hawks. He can be heard on Hawkins' 1967 single, Home from the Forest. Till stayed with Hawkins until July 1969, when he left to replace Sam Andrew in Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band. At a concert in Forest Hills, N.Y., Andrew and Till played guitar on-stage together for the first and only time. Andrew then left and Till became the guitarist for Joplin throughout the rest of her career. When Joplin formed her Full Tilt Boogie Band it was the creation of a perfect unit with which she could express herself. Till played with Joplin at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival in 1969.
John Till (right) with Janis Joplin and her band. Till was the founder and guitarist of Cosmic Band that played Woodstock in 1969. Canadian Records and Artists Appreciation Society
Ken Kalmusky (left), Richard Manuel and John Till (right). Photo posted by Dorcas Till, spouse of John Till, on If You Grew Up in Stratford . . . FB.