Papa Bear's, as they were commonly called, were a good time band that borrowed form previous eras, coming off like a cross between Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks and the New Vaudeville Band. Rhythm guitarist/banjoist Craig Wood was "Papa Bear". They had some very serious musicians in their ranks, including drummer Kat Hendrickse, who would play on countless sessions and groups coming out of Vancouver, including Tom Northcott and Heart. Organist Robbie King is one of the kingpins in the Vancouver music scenes, with considerable talent on his instrument and as an arranger/producer.
Lead guitarist John Murray played wonderful inventive guitar in a large range of styles. I had the privilege of being in his circle of friends, and jammed with him and his brother and drummer Pete, another excellent musician. John Murray would start another long playing Vancouver band after leaving Papa Bear's. Called Weather, they were club regulars in Western Canada for well over a decade.
Their other secret weapon was "The Golden Voice", or "Den Gyldne Stemme" in his native Danish. He sang European songs and played the accordion and told jokes, reminding me a bit of Victor Borge.
"Den Gyldne Stemme" Henry Bilde ~ Accordion, Vocals
Kat Hendrikse ~ Drums
Robbie King ~ Piano, Organ
John Murray ~ Guitar
Vic Stewart ~ Vocals
Toni Still ~ Drums
Lee Taylor ~ Bass
Craig Wood ~ Guitar, Banjo
PBMS played all the important gigs, and got to open the show for visiting headliners during their short time (1967-1970 by my memory). They released at least one single on Capitol Records, and did a 4 song EP for CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. They also released a couple of singles on 6th Avenue Records, the future Mushroom Studios.
Live you could expect a banjo driven "Alabama Bound", a funky "Slo Moshun", or the beautiful ballad "Golden Girl", which was released as a single, and re-recorded for the "Benefit" album.
Craig Wood hosted a half hour music-variety show called "Banjo Parlor" in the early 1970s.
There is a limited edition 12" vinyl album released in the late 1990s, but it is very hard (and expensive) to get. I am also lucky enough to have a video clip of the band from around 1968 from their appearance on "Where It's At", a CBC TV show.--- Roger Stomperud, December 2002
I was in a band titled Papa Bear's Medecine Show and we were from Seattle, but moved to Burnaby just outside of Vancouver in 1966. We played in Dante's Inferno as the warmup band for Country Joe and the Fish and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy (LA group with 1 album) plus other groups during 1966 in Dante's Inferno. I also saw the Doors when they played the ballroom. This was mostly a hippie club during this period.--- Toni Still, March 2006
Den Gyldne Stemme's (The Golden Voice) real name is Henry Bilde. He and his wife, Erna, were next door neighbours of ours in New Westminster when we all lived in the big white house across the street from the Queensboro Bridge. --- Sandi Nicoll, March 2008