This week’s “Lost Treasure” is an album track from the 1968 Liberty album “Stink” the first (official) LP by Canadian blues-rock group McKenna Mendelson Mainline
Blues guitarist Mike McKenna met acoustic blues guitar player Joe Mendelson in Toronto in early 1968 & put the band together with Mike Harrison (bass) & Tony Nolasco (drums), all musicians who had played several years on the Toronto bar scene. The band headed to England to score a record deal & ended up touring & playing as opening band for Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Family, Keef Hartley Band & the newly formed Led Zeppelin in addition to a number of name European music festivals. They landed a deal with United Artists/Liberty & recorded their debut album “Stink”. “Think I’m Losing My Marbles” written & sung by Joe Mendelson became a staple track on Canada’s new “underground/progressive rock” stations including Toronto’s CHUM-FM, Montreal’s CHOM-FM, & in our region on “LGFM” 99.3 CKLG-FM Vancouver. Meanwhile, some demos MMM had recorded in Toronto to try & attract record companies got released as an unauthorized bootleg – “McKenna Mendelson Blues”. Homesickness, dissension within the band brought them back home to Canada in 1969 just as “Stink” was gaining some success, sales & airplay. They were signed by Canada’s GRT Records in 1971 & released new material. adding a studio horn section to their gritty blues/folk sound. However, subsequent releases failed to chart or make much impact on record buyers. Differences between McKenna & Mendelson resulted in disbanding in 1972.
After a lack of success as solo artists or leading other bands, the two patched up their differences & recorded an album in 1975 on Taurus Records called “No Substitute” However, differences between Mike McKenna & Joe Mendelson resurfaced during the recording leading to some heated fights & the album was finished with minimal tracks & lack of over-dubbing or embelishment. The LP failed & the group called it quits once again. A reformed band with original members minus Joe Mendelson did some live gigs in the late 1990’s at Toronto’s famous El Macambo Club before putting the band to rest for good. “Think I’m Losing My Marbles” was never released as a single but likely was the song most played by radio considering the band only released 5 singles, none of which gained much chart success or airplay. Enjoy this acoustic blues track as we kick off another weekend in the great Northwest!