Sonny at the Selkirk
Alan Campbell Reid 'Sonny' Caulfield was born in 1933 in a Montreal suburb, the last of three children born to newly arrived Scottish parents. He studied classical piano from 1942-1947 and in 1955 plunged headlong into music full time. After 18 months playing with his trio in saloons in Montreal, a lucky break led to his being 'discovered' at Montreal's fabled Supper Club, El Morocco. In two separate stints, he spent almost three years at this elegant nightclub, first as pianist/singer in the cocktail lounge, then adding to his job description the title House Master of Ceremonies. It was here that the show-business education really took place, presenting the opportunity to introduce international stars and watch them work 14 shows each week. In 1968, Sonny accepted a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offer of 26 weekly issues of a live talent-development show called 'Sunday Morning' on which he led a quartet as Music Director. Thirteen weeks into 'Sunday Morning', time and budget became available for a major music show, and Sonny was offered the job of Music Director and featured performer. He also ended up writing and producing the show, 'Islands and Princesses.' It was live-to-tape, shot intentionally in black and white, and featured a blend of Classical and Pop music, sung in a variety of languages. 56 episodes were shot and played across the CBC Network. Work on the series ended by May, 1970. Then came 'Luncheon Date with Elwood Glover', which had been running as a radio show five days a week for six years in downtown Toronto. Now there was talk that the show would move to television and expand to accomodate a studio audience. Sonny Caulfield would lead the house jazz trio. For the next five years 'Welcome to Luncheon Date with Elwood Glover' was a staple of daytime television, featuring the Sonny Caulfield Trio. Over the next five years, visiting musicians included Buddy Greco, Roger Whittaker, Gene Krupa, Buddy DeFranco and Ella Fitzgerald, not to mention performers known best by the primarily Canadian audience. In August, 1975, 'Luncheon Date' went off the air and Sonny moved to London with his family. Sonny returned to Montreal and Toronto in 1982, and took engagements in smaller, less glamourous venues, content now to just play music without the hassles of the big cities. In 1986, Sonny accepted an engagement at a hotel in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, looking forward to a lazy summer on the beautiful Island. The engagement, which was to run four months, is still going strong nineteen years later. 'Sonny At The Selkirk' is a 14 song compilation of 'standards' that runs about as long as a live set you'd be likely to hear if you were dining at 'The Selkirk' in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. There is an abundance of mood, atmosphere and romance, with helpings of loneliness and much longing. These songs offer a universality and a timeless quality so absolutely lacking in most contemporary music. 'Timeless' is the key word, here. These 'classics' are part of our collective musical subconscious. As such, they might, in lesser hands, be in danger of sounding 'cliché.' In Sonny's care, however, these songs regain their heart and soul. There are no clichés on this album. Perhaps, in the right hands, these songs find their true calling: to remind us that the words 'Timeless', 'Classics' and 'Standards are really just musical words for Eternal and Forever.