Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing no games.
- Posted on Oct 5th 2011 5:00PM by David Dacks
Courtesy of DaisyDeBolt.com
"They were the original acid folk group," Blain tells Spinner of Fraser and DeBolt. "They broke a lot of new ground at a time when folk music was pretty sedate." Their two albums recorded for Columbia records -- 'Fraser & DeBolt With Ian Guenther' (1971) and 'Fraser & DeBolt With Pleasure' (1974) -- remain cult classics and are still being played on the likes of influential radio stations like New Jersey's WFMU. Now-defunct Canadian music publication 'The Record' once declared "Fraser & DeBolt were the greatest Canadian band never to have made it."
DeBolt came from a musical family and learned guitar at an early age, and in high-school studied with legendary Canadian guitarist Lenny Breau. She attended the University of Manitoba before relocating to Toronto in 1965 to pursue music.
DeBolt met Alan Fraser in 1968 at the famed Mariposa Folk Festival. Shortly afterward they formed their duo. Their music was certainly not about gentle strumming and fluttery vocals a la Donovan. Rather, their acoustic energy was much more dramatic, ragged and flat out wonky than most of their peers, with DeBolt's powerful voice -- described by the Ottawa Citizen as "the voice of an enraged angel that shatters plexiglass and melts frozen hearts" -- as a particularly distinctive element.
"I always thought the music came out of their intense romance" says Blain. "That came out in the music. There's a video clip on YouTube of them performing live at the Philadelphia folk festival. That shows it a little bit."
The duo signed with Columbia Records and released their debut album in 1971 to rave reviews in Canada and the U.S. Their followup recording contrasted their first release with a fuller production which nevertheless didn't tone down the "acid" vibe.
They represented North America at the International Song Festival in Sopot, Poland in 1974 but broke up not long afterward. "They were both brilliant artists but the extra thing came from their relationship which was so intense that it could never be sustained," says Blain.
DeBolt went on to have a thriving, multifaceted career. She wrote scores for the National Film Board of Canada, acted in theatrical productions, collaborated with poets and writers -- including 'The English Patient' author Michael Ondaatje -- and wrote music for television as well as producing five eclectic solo albums.
Still, Fraser & DeBolt continued to find new ears. The duo were recently chronicled in an audio documentary by the CBC Radio show 'Inside the Music,' which brought their legacy to yet another generation.
DeBolt's death comes just three weeks after Fraser lost his wife Donna Louthood. "It's been quite an ordeal in the Fraser & DeBolt camp," says Blain.
"They hit with something people had never seen," he adds, "they blew people's minds."