#1023: Give It Up ~ Colin James
Colin James Munn was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1964. He is a neo-swing artist who mixes swing, jump blues, rockabilly, ska and contemporary rock ‘n roll into his performances and recordings. In 1984 he was playing with a Regina. As luck would have it American rocker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, was in town to appear in concert. Vaughan was fresh from the releases of his 1983 album, Texas Flood, and his 1984 album, Couldn’t Stand The Weather. Vaughan had also been given a spotlight as a guitarist playing numbers of songs on David Bowie’s 1983 Let’s Dance album. The opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan was unable to perform, and with just a few hours to prepare, Colin James Munn was asked to be the opener for the Regina concert with members of a local band called Flying Colours. James knocked it out of the ballpark and was asked by Stevie Ray Vaughan to join him for the rest of the tour as the opening act. James played the rest of the tour with his backing band, the Hoodoo Men. But it was Stevie Ray Vaughan who suggested that Munn drop his last name and just go by Colin James. Munn sounded too much like “mud” over the distortion from the loudspeakers at the concert venues.
By 1988 James released his own self-titled album, Colin James. The album featured the hit single “Why’d You Lie“, and won him a Juno Award for Most Promising Artist. Another track, “Voodoo Thing”, made the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. His second album, Sudden Stop, was released in 1990. It contained the Top Ten single, “Just Came Back“, which won a Juno Award for Single of the Year. A second single “Keep On Loving Me Baby”, also sold well in Canada. His third single from Sudden Stop featured Bonnie Rait on “Give It Up”. The song peaked in Vancouver at #18 during a ten week chart run in February 1991. That same year Bonnie Rait would have a Top Ten hit called “Something To Talk About”.
In the English language there is a saying that goes “strike while the iron is still hot.” The saying comes from the wisdom of blacksmiths to strike a hot piece of metal, especially iron, with a mallet or other tool before it cools, while it is still hot enough to be shaped. As a saying, “strike while the iron is still hot,” has come to mean to act on an opportunity promptly while favorable conditions exist; to avoid waiting. Colin James’ “Give It Up” is a song about striking while the iron is still hot. Noticing that there is a hot spark when two lovers kiss is an auspicious signal of desire strong enough to kindle a lasting fire between them. And while there are other qualities that are important to discern before one ties the knot, such as trustworthiness and respect, without some noticeable expression of desire most people who start dating will decide it is better to “just be friends.” For the tracks on Sudden Stop, Colin James won the 1991 Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year. (A feat he would repeat in 1996 for his blues album, Bad Habits).
Since Sudden Stop, Colin James has released four neo-swing albums between 1993 and 2007 by Colin James and the Little Big Band. Of these, James won a 1998 Juno Award for Best Producer for a number of tracks on Colin James and the Little Big Band II. That year he also won a Juno Award for Best Blues Album for National Steel. James backing band has included several members of the Vancouver indie-rock band The Odds. As of 2017, Colin James has released fifteen studio albums. He has also made a guest appearance in 2005 in the Canadian TV sitcom Corner Gas.
April 27, 2017
Colin James bio, Colin James.com
Colin James, Colin James bio, Canadian Bands.com
Dirk Johnson, “Stevie Ray Vaughan Killed, Blues Guitar Player Was 35,” New York Times, August 28, 1990.
Colin James, Corner Gas, CBC, 2005
“Colin James Journeys On The Blues Highways,” CBC, February 14, 2017
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