Painted Ladies by Ian Thomas (Janus, 1974)


Ian Thomas decided to trade in his job at the Canadian Broadcast Center, programming CanCon and decided to pursue the other side. He was rewarded with a Juno for the most promising singer in 1974, as well as a Top 5 hit in Canada called Painted Ladies, which also crossed the border into the US Top 40, strutting up to #34. Ian was the older brother of Dave Thomas of SCTV and 1/2 of the McKenzie Brothers, who had their own US hit in 1982 with Rush’s Geddy Lee called Take Off. Neither would have additional hits in America. So how many other Canadian brothers had US Top 40 hits as completely separate artists?

Painted Ladies starts out with hard funky clavinet lick and quickly mellowing with an offbeat acoustic guitar strum. Then Ian tells a story about setting off alone into the deep dark city, ignoring the streetcars and planes and the rain pounding down. What would be the cure for such loneliness and despair? Why a good old-fashioned hooker, that’s all. And a bottle of wine…wait Ian, you don’t have to get them drunk first. You just hand them some cash. But poor Ian, they took all his money, like he knew they would. That’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The music and long fade out echo the melancholy and the bad times continue for Ian, missing home, getting drunker and poorer, although he insists he’s feeling fine, momma. What a hoser!

Leave a comment


  1. porky

     /  March 2, 2013

    great sounding record, a battle between trying to sound like Neil Young and America

  2. Porky, your description is breathtakingly on point.


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