Molly Oliver

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Molly Oliver

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Molly Oliver was a Nova Scotia rock band formed in 1976. The band's origins began after Bruce Wheaton (vocals/guitars) and Carson Richards (bass/vocals) had left Everyday People a year earlier. They formed the band with former Pepper Tree members Tim Garagan (drums/vocals) and Bob Quinn (keyboards/vocals).

According to the first album sleeve, the band's name was inspired from Molly Reed, a madame who came to Halifax in 1798 from England. While here she married an English sea captain by the name of Charles Oliver and set sail with him. Following his death during the War of 1812 she took command of his ship and raided and looted the Eastern Seaboard, known as the pirate, "Molly Oliver." The story is fictitious, however, and "Molly" and "Oliver" were actually two cocker spaniels that lived near the band's practice house in Purcell's Cove, Nova Scotia

The band had barely begun touring when Ken (Dutch) Schultz replaced Garagan and Tony Quinn (no relation to Bob), formerly of Moon Minglewood and The Universal Power, was added as a second guitarist. Bob Quinn was soon replaced by Mike Leggat. This lineup released a pair of independent singles, the Wheaton had penned called "Straight To My Head," backed by Tony Quinn's "Rainbow Woman." Shortly after its release, Quinn left and was replaced by new guitarist Larry Maillet.

The band signed a deal with London Records. Their revolving door policy continued while cutting tracks in Morin Heights, Quebec. Schultz left in the middle of the sessions and was replaced by Ian MacMillan. Their eponymous debut hit the shelves in the summer of 1978, polished and with a flare, with Wheaton acting as chief songwriter. "Greet Your Neighbour" became the band's first single and got some airplay across the country, backed with "Living A Dream." Other notable tracks from the album included the other singles "You Didn't Listen To Me" and "Somebody New In My Eyes," and a cover of Crosby Still Nash & Young's "Carry On."

But troubles were abrew back at London Records headquarters, and the label closed its doors. The band continued on the circuit for a couple of years while searching out a new deal. The revolving door continued to spin, and when they went back to Le Studio in Morin Heights in '81 the lineup was Wheaton, Richards, Shultz, Leggat and Maillet. But before the recordings were done, Scultz was replaced by Terry Hopkins on drums and Richards had bowed out of the group, replaced by new bassist Bo Hanson. Paul Northfield, whose credentials included the likes of Rush and The Bee Gees was hired to lend a hand to Wheaton with production. They came out with a self-titled 4-track independent EP, released the following spring. Along with a rehashing of "Greet Your Neighbour," it contained the lead-off track "Apology." The song was released as a single and received extensive airplay in the Maritimes. The relative success of the song landed them a set of opening gigs for The Beach Boys across eastern Canada. But by then Peter Jackson had replaced Leggat on keyboards, and he himself was out shortly after, replaced by Don Rodgers by 1984.

The band carried on a for a few more years, with more personnel coming and going. Neil Robertson was the new drummer and Mike Gaudet and then Ian MacDougall was the new bassist. In 1987 Wheaton's song "Keep On Giving," about Africans' continuing need for aid debuted when he and 60 other musicians held a benefit show in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. All door proceeds went to the Red Cross.

The band finally packed it in while everyone went on to there own individual projects. Wheaton, Molly Oliver's co-founder would start up his own home studio and enjoy a modestly successful solo career. He reunited with with Maillet and Gaudet in 1999 for a series of benefit concerts, adding Andre Leblanc on keyboards and drummer Doug MacKay and various versions of the group still get together for the on-again, off-again dates. The '78 debut was remastered and re-released in 2003 as MOLLY OLIVER IN THE STUDIO, along with four bonus tracks - "Apology" and "Go Back Home" from the '83 EP, the previously unreleased "Open Up" and "Straight In My Head," the band's first independent single.


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