Around the Vue office, not a week goes by here Stompin’ Tom doesn’t get a spin on the office stereo. Let’s face it: the dude is about as indie as they come. When a band says, “Yeah, we’re indie, we’re keeping it real,” Stompin’ Tom ought to come around the corner and smash those babies up with an empty whiskey bottle. He’s traveled across the country, played in every stinking hole from here to Etobicoke and still makes that same ol’ shuffling rhythm seem fresh. He’s the Canadian identity personified, simply because he never gives up.
Which is why Calgary ’s finest have assembled to pay tribute to him with this mix of reverential readings and off-the-wall interpretations. On the worshipful side, we have Allen Baekeland (“Ripped Off Winkle”) and Matt Masters and the Gentlemen of the Rodeo (“Rubberhead”), while radical reworks are handed in by the Dudes (“Luke’s Guitar”), Jackson Phibes (“She Don’t Speak English”) and Falconhawk (“I Don’t Know How to Fix the Damn Thing Blues”). There are also interesting bits by the Spam Avenger, who mangles telephone sales operators into his subversive reading of “The Consumer,” U of C professor Andrew King and writer Sean Marchetto.
The real revelation, though, is Laurie [sic] Matheson’s version of “Margo’s Got the Cargo,” which transforms the ditty into a Maritime dirge and exposes the sad, sad heart lying at its core. Like everything else on this disc, it’s not a perfect rendition, but it’s done with a lot of love and respect. Funny that no one did “The Hockey Song,” though. I guess you can’t top that kind of perfection.