Dave Woodward

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Dave Woodward was from Virginia. When he immigrated to Canada he first went to Winnipeg, Manitoba and from there to Toronto. He arrived at the TADP hostel on John Street at the same time Jimmy and Pat Wilson arrived from New York City. He met Greg Sperry, Bruce and Colleen Anderson and Philip Mullins at the hostel. Philip, Dave, Jimmy and Patty Wilson discussed the idea of going into business for themselves. None of them had a specific idea in mind but they knew it would involve making and selling some product. The only one of the four who knew how to make anything was Jimmy Wilson. He said that he knew how to make “Indian headdresses”. But Jimmy often talked about Peter Pan and Never-Never Land too so it was hard to take him seriously. Nevertheless three months after his arrival in Toronto Dave joined Bruce and Colleen Anderson, Philip Mullins and Jimmy and Pat Wilson to lease the house at 224 McCaul Street.

The living room of the house was set apart for a retail store. Dave suggested that the store be called SEA meaning “a socio-economic alternative”. Jimmy wanted to call it “a liberation tribal store” just as the house was “a liberation tribal commune” because both pertained to “the liberation tribe”. Jimmy said that “after the revolution” the “tribe” would become the basis for social organization and the American exiles would be part of the “liberation tribe.” Philip suggested that the store be named after some concrete object like so many of the rock and roll bands of the day. Since Jimmy had a “yellow Ford truck”, the name “Yellow Ford Truck” seemed like a good name too. The living room turned out to be an illegal location for the store and it was soon moved to a storefront on Baldwin Street.

In October the Union of American Exiles organized a demonstration in front of the US Consulate on University Avenue during the International Days of Protest against the War. Dave and the other residents of the house participated in the demonstration. Toronto used mounted police for crowd control, walking the horses sideways into crowds to move the crowds and keep the people confined to the approved demonstration area. Anyone who touched the horses was arrested. The American exiles had never seen horses used in this way and several individuals were arrested for pushing the horses with their hands. Dave was one of those arrested. He spent the night in jail. His companions believed that he and the other Americans would be deported to the US where they would then be arrested for violating the military draft laws. The Toronto City Mayor and the local newspaper editorialists loudly denounced the violence-prone Americans. However the Canadian authorities had not intention of returning either deserters or draft dodgers to the US and Dave was released the next day after posting bond and hiring a lawyer.

The following month the Kansas City “family” (to use Jimmy Wilson’s term) moved into the house at 224 McCaul. Several of them had left Toronto temporarily and when they returned there were 12 residents at 224 McCaul Street including Philip Mullins, Randy Rauton, Jim and Pat Wilson, Steve Blossom, Dave Woodward, Don Holman, Margaret Thurlow, Greg Sperry, Janice Spellerberg and Chuck Wall. In December the Kansas City people with Dave Woodward and Myra Kaplan (from Philadelphia, Pa.) leased the house at 418 Dundas Street. Since Don Holman was the only one of the group that had a job, he agreed to put the lease in his name. The following April Chuck Wall teamed up with the Walsh brothers to form what became the Downchild Blues Band.

When the leather shop rented the upstairs of the building at 11 Baldwin Street in July Dave moved into the upstairs with Steve Spring, Randy, Mary, Philip and Margaret Thurlow. In August, when Frank Tettermer left the Ragnarokr commune, Dave joined it. In October Dave’s girlfriend Carol Huebner arrived in Toronto after having spent the last year in Lebanon. Dave and Carol both left Toronto for the hotel the leather shop had rented at Stoney Lake. Carol soon moved back to the leather shop in Toronto and Dave lived at the Stoney Lake hotel until the leather shop regrouped in Toronto in January 1970.

After Dave returned to Toronto, he and Philip researched light shows and electronic devices with the idea of opening another business involving stage lighting. Dave began to play with and then joined the Downchild Blues Band playing the tenor saxophone. He became one of the signature players of the original band. He played tenor sax on Downchild’s 1975 hit “Flip, Flop and Fly” which was their most famous song. The original band consisted of Donnie Walsh on lead guitar, his brother Rick Walsh (the Hog) on vocals, Cash Wall on drums, Jim Milne on bass guitar and Dave Woodward on tenor saxophone. The band split in1978 and Donnie Walsh revived it a few years later. After the Downchild band split, Dave joined the Powder Blues Band, originally a house band in the Gastown area of Vancouver, B.C. He stayed with the band until after 2001. In 2004 is listed as an alumni on Powder Blues website. In 2001 the Toronto Blues Society nominated him “Horn Player of the Year”. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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