#396: Ladano

The song “Ladano” written by Veronica Tapia, performed by Stan Climie (bass clarinet), Laurie Radford (electronics)

#396: Ladano

It looks easy to say, and it is!  LA-DA-NO.  Emphasis on the middle DA. That’s it!  That’s all!

Yet, as a kid, I knew that if I ever wanted to be a famous rock star, I’d have to change my name.  I considered “Michael Ladd” as a good stage name.  See, the problem is that most of my life, people haven’t been able to pronounce my last name.  Would Peter Criss be famous today if he went by his real name Peter Criscoula?  Would Gene Simmons still be the Demon today, if he stuck with the name Chaim Witz?  I don’t know, but it’s hard to imagine the 1960’s with Robert Zimmerman instead of Bob Dylan, right?  “Michael Balzary” is harder to say than “Flea”…and would Declan McManus had a shot at the charts if he didn’t change his name to Elvis Costello?

The ironic thing is, my grandfather changed his last name’s spelling in the early 1900’s to “Ladano” so that Canadians would be able to pronounce it easier.  I’m sure he would have been disappointed in my 2nd grade teacher who must have thought I was related to Lando Calrissian, since she pronounced it “LaLando”.

Sometimes my sister, also a musician, will be referred to simply as “Lando”, to which she would really like to respond, “You’ve got a lot of guts coming here…after what you pulled.”

She has stubbornly refused to change her name even after marriage.  In fact she has a song called “Ladano”.

Here are some more of the best variations of my last name that I have seen and heard:

  • “Ledano”
  • “Ladana” (in my dad’s first email address set up by Bell!)
  • “Ladno”
  • “Landon”
  • “Landano”
  • “Landono”
  • “Landoni”
  • “Laudon”
  • “Ladino”
  • “Ladeeno”
  • “Ladhani”
  • “Ladayno”

And finally, my favourite:

  • “Radono”

That last one was on an official cheque from a major bank!

My last name is traditionally supposed to be spelled Laudano.  I’ve traced my family back five generations to Amalfi, Italy in the mid-1800’s.  Our side of the family left Amalfi for Sicily, opening up a shop there in Porto Empedocle.  The Laudanos then left for America in the early 1900’s and changed the spelling on purpose after arrival.  I think my grandfather would be disappointed to see the many mutilations of our name, despite him simplifying it to Ladano!

There are many Laudanos still out there, some in Ontario, Canada and others in New Hampshire.  One thing we all have in common:  Whether it is spelled Ladano or Laudano, we’re all family and we call each other “Cousin”.  (Turns out the Laudanos are actually a musical family with an extensive history of musicians!) One recent “cousin” I have met is Luigi, who came here from Amalfi Italy, where the Laudanos also originated. He is a very popular server from the highly recommended local restaurant Borealis (“Think Global, Eat Local”). Luigi married into the Laudano family, so now we call ourselves “cousins”! Getting to know those Laudanos has been a lot of fun for us.

I wonder if my cousins have had their name as mangled as mine?!*


* In a strange twist, one of my former online handles used to get mangled, too.  “Geddy”.  I used to use the name “Geddy” on message boards about 20 years ago.  The majority of people misspelled it “Getty”.  I’m not kidding. 

REVIEW: Deep Purple – “Above and Beyond” (CD and 7″ singles)

It’s THE WEEK OF SINGLES!  Each day this week I’ll be bringing you reviews and images of a recent CD or vinyl single acquisition.  Today’s is fresh hot off the presses!  I received this single on Saturday (the 16th).

Yesterday:  Van Halen – “Best of Both Worlds” 7″ single

DEEP PURPLE – “Above and Beyond” (CD and 7″ singles, Edel)

This has been a banner year for Deep Purple singles!  We’ve had “All the Time in the World”, “Hell To Pay”, “Vincent Price” and now “Above and Beyond” from the excellent new album NOW What?!  There’s a “gold” edition of NOW What?! coming soon, and I believe most of the B-sides from these singles will be on it.  Most, but not all…

“Above and Beyond” is one of two songs on the new album dedicated to Jon Lord.  It’s probably the most progressive sounding of the new songs.  It’s certainly one of the most epic.  I think Jon would have loved it.  Canadian producer extraordinaire Bob Ezrin adds his shine on “Above and Beyond”, you can really hear it in the arrangement.

The second track on the CD version is “Things I Never Said” from some editions of Rapture of the Deep.  It was originally from the Japanese CD, and then the “special edition”.  It’s one of the better songs from Rapture, and I’ve always liked Steve Morse’s guitar riff.  I just didn’t need to buy it again on a single…

IMG_00001462Brand new live recordings are the real bait on this single.  The CD has two; I don’t believe either is going to be on the “gold” edition of NOW What?!.  “Space Truckin'” (Rome, Italy 07/22/2013) doesn’t seem as peppy as other live versions I’ve heard.  I suppose that’s why some versions are destined for B-sides, right?  A pair of covers close the CD:  Booker T. and the M.G.’s classic Hammond organ instrumental “Green Onions” and Joe South’s “Hush”.  “Green Onions” serves as an intro to “Hush” essentially.  It’s a great song for a band like Purple to do anyway.  These come from Sweden, 08/10/2013.  Gillan’s struggling a little bit on “Hush”, but Airey and Morse get playful during the solo section, and it’s very reminiscent of how Blackmore and Lord used to interact.

The exclusive bonus track on the 7″ vinyl single is a different recording of “Space Truckin'”.  This one is from Majano, Italy, two days after the other version.  I actually prefer this version to the one from Rome.  I’m not sure why; maybe it’s just that audio illusion of warm vinyl.  Maybe Morse just sounds dirtier.   This single is absolutely beautiful, on purple clear vinyl complete with limited numbered stamp.  Mine?  #1934 of 2000.  I’ll consider myself lucky.  It’s kind of mind blowing to think that there’s an exclusive Deep Purple live recording out there, only 2000 copies made, and I have one of them.

4.5/5 stars

More Purple at

Live at Inglewood 1968Deep Purple (1969), Machine Head (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition + vinyl + In Concert ’72 vinyl), Perks and Tit (Live in San Diego 1974), Stormbringer (35th Anniversary Edition), Come Taste the Band (35th Anniversary edition), Power House (1977), The Battle Rages On (1993), Shades 1968-1998, Collector’s Edition: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 (12 CD), Listen, Learn, Read On (6 CD), Rapture of the Deep (2 CD Special Edition), “All the Time in the World” (2013 CD single), NOW What?! (2013) Record Store Tales Part 32: Live In Japan, STEVE MORSE BAND – StressFest (1996), ROCK AID ARMENIA – Smoke on the Water: The Metropolis Sessions.

Part 233: Dr Stompin’ Tom Road

RECORD STORE TALES Part 233:  Dr Stompin’ Tom Road

One of the biggest thrills during the record store days was the last vacation I ever took from that place!  I’ve always wanted to go to Eastern Canada, and see the ocean.  I have always been drawn to the sea.  I think this is because of my Italian side, it must be in my blood and DNA.  We came to Canada in 1904 from Porto Empedocle, Sicily.  It is a fishing village on the coast, and my great-grandfather Luigi owned a shop there around the turn of the century.  My great-great grandfather Salvatore was from Amalfi, near Naples.  If you ever see pictures of Amalfi, you might understand why I have always loved the sight of water.

In May 2002, I finally visited the beautiful province of Prince Edward Island.  I got to see the ocean, the harbors and the lobster boats.  We checked out a lot of cool sideroad shops, walked a lot of trails, and played with the vibrant red sand.  We met some of the friendliest people we’d ever encountered.  But there was no way I was leaving Prince Edward Island without doing three important things:

1. Eating lobster in some form every single day.

2. Visiting the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium, one of only two in Canada.

3. Setting foot in Skinners Pond, home of Dr Stompin’ Tom Road.

Obviously, I had to pay my respects to the boyhood home of one of the greatest Canadians (# 13) and folk musicians of all time, Stompin’ Tom Connors.  In the end, I accomplished all three of my goals.  Of the five days I spent on the island, I had lobster on every one of them, even having the bizarre McLobster on one of those days.  As an added bonus, I found an interesting piece of guitar-shaped folk art, made by a fellow named Keirras Jeffery, that I had to buy.  It looks awesome on the wall.

Photos of Stompin’ Tom’s eponymous road are difficult to find online, so I proudly present to you a selection of my holiday snaps, May 2002.

Here’s another great site with info on Stompin’ Tom’s home in PEI:  PEI Heritage Buildings – Skinners Pond and Stompin’ Tom Connors

Part 191 / REVIEW: Respighi – Pines of Rome

RECORD STORE TALES Part 191:  Respighi

In the early 2000’s I was very interested in growing a little bit of a classical music collection.  Classical music can be had in reasonably priced but expansive box sets, but I wanted to be a little more discerning.  There were some things I knew I wanted to get just based on reputation, such as Niccolò Paganini and Glenn Gould.  I knew the CBC had a lot of classical programming so I used to tune into them driving home from work after the night shift.

The first time I did so was a turning point.  I heard some music, but I didn’t have a clue what it was.  It sounded dramatic and soundtrack-esque to me.  I could picture a sprawling epic such as Spartacus unfolding in front of me.  It wasn’t until I stopped at the red lights that the announcer came back on the air and told me that the piece I heard was “The Pines of Rome” composed by Ottorino Respighi.  Respighi…Italian!  My countryman!

I went into work the next morning, and checked the computer for anything by Respighi.  Turns out, we had one in stock, a London Records recording of Pines of Rome.  It was my first true classical purchase, not counting movie soundtracks.  Working at a record store enabled me to cheaply expand into any genre of music I wished.  I’m strongly in favour of trying new music, no matter what section of the store you find it in.

RESPIGHI FRONTOTTORINO RESPIGHI – Pines of Rome / Fountains of Rome / The Birds (1969 Decca / London)

Reviewing classical music is tough for me because it’s way out of my zone of expertise.  All I know is what I like and what sounds good to my ears.  This old recording, conducted by István Kertész, fit the bill for me.  “The Pines of Rome” is such an incredible piece.  Apparently this is considered a “symphonic poem”.  In other words, the classical music equivalent of a concept album!  It has majestic moments that phase into romantic interludes; scenes, basically.  By the end, it is a triumphant anthem worthy of the most awe-inspiring movie soundtrack.  You can easily visualize the sun rising over the tall pines; apparently that was the composer’s intention.  It works!

“The Birds” starts as jaunty piece, perfect for a fancy dinner or event!  What I enjoy about music like this is that it enables me to travel back in time, in my mind.  It is easy to place yourself at the hearth of a warm fire, almost 100 years ago.  This piece’s different sections attempt to transcribe birdsong into a musical arrangement:  doves, hens, nightingale, and the cuckoo.  I can’t help it, I like the cuckoo best.  It’s whimsical.

“Fountains of Rome” is another symphonic poem, this one beginning at daybreak.  The second movement sounds like a summoning, as creatures begin to frolick.  The piece paints a picture, allowing the listener to really just sink in.

Great gateway album.

4.5/5 stars

Next time on Record Store Tales…

Do you still have the first mix CD you ever made?