#774: Save It by Shari Ulrich

Peak Month: January 1982
12 weeks on Vancouver’s CFUN chart
Peak Position #13
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com: “Save It

Shari Ulrich was born in 1951 in San Raphael, a half an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay Area California. Born into a musical family, Ulrich started playing the violin at the age of four. She first appeared on stage with her two older siblings at the San Francisco Free Theatre. After the Kent State shooting of four unarmed university students by Ohio State National Guard on May 4, 1970, Shari Ulrich moved to Vancouver, Canada. The Kent State students had been protesting the Vietnam War. It was in Vancouver, at the age of 18, she became part of the coffeehouse circuit playing her folk inspired set at what was Vancouver’s new vegetarian restaurant, The Naam, which opened in 1968. In 1973, Ulrich became part of the folk trio Pied Pumpkin, along with Rick Scott and Joe Mock. On the two albums Pied Pumpkin released the next few years she was featured playing guitar, violin, mandolin, flute, saxophone and vocals. In 1976 she toured with another British Columbian folk star, Valdy, with his group The Hometown Band.

The Hometown Band won the 1979 Juno award for Most Promising Group. Ulrich launched her own solo career in 1980 with a debut album, Long Nights. Her follow up album, One Step Ahead, featured her single “Save It”. The song was a departure from her folk roots and showcased the typical pop sounds and instrumentation of the early ‘80’s. At the time other women were having success on the pop charts were Dolly Parton, Sheena Easton, Kim Carnes, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John. Many of their songs included use of synthesizers. In 1981, Shari Ulrich won the Juno Award in Canada for the Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year.

“Save It” is a song about longing and desire for a romantic partner. However, in the face of one person in the new relationship wanting to quickly have sex, the other person wants to take their time and embrace the mystery of who each of them are. The song suggests that moving things forward by taking things slow is a better path. Being “too quick to give it all away” tarnishes the mystery. In “Save It” were given a perspective suggesting there’s wisdom in paying attention to, and finding, the right pace in getting to know someone else. Saving the sex for later, even in the face of evident passion for each other, may preserve and honor the mystery of the love that’s in bloom.

“Save It” peaked at #13 in Vancouver and spent twelve weeks on the chart. In 1982 Ulrich won a Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist. While her single also charted in Regina and Toronto, “Save It” failed to crack the RPM Canadian Singles Chart.

On her website, Shari Ulrich reflects on her diverse talents and experiences: “This life in music has lead me down dozens of tangential paths I never would have pursued otherwise: Scoring documentaries; TV hosting (including co-hosting CBC’s Futurescan with David Suzuki & writing and hosting Inside Trax for BCTV); teaching songwriting – both in the workshop setting and Humber College, UBC and VSO School of Music); musical theatre (starring in Carole King’s Tapestry and writing and starring in Baby Boomer Blues; and been able to give voice to many causes & crusades over the years.” An example of Shari Ulrich’s causes is a fundraiser where she performed on October 30, 1988, at the Burnaby Central Secondary School. The event was in support of the sitting Member of Parliament in the Burnaby Riding, Svend Robinson, who was running for his fourth time to represent his constituents. Robinson, who was first elected in 1979, had come out as gay, the first member of the Canadian House of Parliament to do so, in the spring of 1988. In addition to Shari Ulrich, environmentalist David Suzuki, justice Tom Berger and folk singer Ferron, were other special guests. A limited edition Native Art print with the names of the special guests at the October 30th fundraiser was also sold. Svend Robinson was re-elected in 1988 and again in 1993, 1997 and 2000. He was succeeded by another openly gay candidate for the New Democratic Party, Bill Siksay. In an interview with the Parksville Qualicum Beach News in 2017, Shari Ulrich related that after all these years “I still have a hippie heart hiding in there.” Her concerns for social justice keep her eye on how to lend her music toward wellbeing for the world we inhabit.

Shari Ulrich has more recently been part of a trio named BTU consisting of Barney Bentall, Tom Taylor and Shari Ulrich. The trio’s surnames lending a clever twist of BTU on Canada’s well known Bachman-Turner Overdrive, or BTO for short. Ulrich has also been part of another trio named UHF, with Bill Henderson of Chilliwack and folk singer Roy Forbes. She’s also shared the stage in collaboration with American folk performers Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman at the Northern Lights Folk Club in Edmonton, Alberta, and elsewhere. She is one of the musical treasures on Canada’s west coast.

Shari Ulrich continues to tour with a loyal fan base returning to concert after concert in towns and cities across British Columbia, and beyond. As of August 2018, Ulrich has nine upcoming events scheduled in August and September 2018. It will find her performing in Nashville (TN), Brandon (MB), in three towns in Alberta and in four locales in British Columbia.

August 27, 2018
Ray McGinnis

Shari Ulrich Tour Dates,” Shari Ulrich.com
Shari Ulrich bio,” Shari Ulrich.com
Campaign to Re-elect Svend Robinson, MP, “A GALA FUND RAISER for SVEND ROBINSON’S Re-Election Campaign,” The Ubyssey, Vancouver, BC, October 25, 1988, page 11.
Kent State Shootings, Wikipedia.org
Christopher Sun, “Salmon Festival: You Won’t Get Bored at the Main Stage Gig: Ulrich,” Richmond News, Richmond, BC, 2016
Jim Barber, Ulrich’s Voice and Songs Continue to Enchant, Kingston This Week.com, Kingston, Ontario, May 31, 2012
Doug Gallant, “Folk Trio BTU Serves Up a Solid Set of New Material on Tightrope Walk,” The Guardian, Charlottetown, PEI, February 19, 2016
Ulrich Enriches Civic Centre Audience,” Merritt Herald, Merritt, BC, November 21, 2001
Cross Pollination: Karen Savoca & Pete Heitzman and The Shari Ulrich Trio at NLFC,” Folk On The Road.ca, February 20, 2017
Adam Kveton, “Music’s Power: Emotional and Political – Shari Ulrich Trio Coming to Knox United,” Parksville Qualicum Beach News, Parksville, BC, May 3, 2017.
C-FUN Top 30,” CFUN 1410 AM, Vancouver, BC, January 23, 1982.

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