The Stampeders – Still Carrying On

We enjoyed seeing The Stampeders on tour when they made a stop at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre recently. The years have been good to this trio’s vocal cords – those number one tunes from the early 70’s sound just as good as they did 40 years ago.

All the original band members are still together – yes, they broke up during the 80’s, but reunited in the 90’s and have been singing and playing together ever since. It may be, as it says in one of their later recordings, that it “sure beats working”.

The group began in the 60’s with six members – they did the bar scene in Alberta and then moved to Toronto to try to make it big. When three members of the band left, the trio of Kim Berley, Ronnie King and Rich Dodson carried on. “Carry Me” was successful across Canada, and then in 1972 “Sweet City Woman” became a hit across North America, then spread around the world.

Today, they put on a great show, mixing those golden oldies with later creations. Kim Berley (born Kim Meyers) plays the drums and sings the beautiful ballads with a soaring voice. He amazes the audience with the ability to give full energy to the drums and still have a powerful voice, never losing his breath. Ronnie King (who during the show refers to himself by his original Dutch name Cornelis Van Sprang) entertains the crowd with humour, and has the voice for the rockin’ numbers. He plays bass in the first act, and switches to lead guitar for a few numbers in act two. He even does an impersonation of his friend, the late great Wolfman Jack. Rich Dodson has nimble fingers on the guitar and a great voice. All three blend their voices for excellent harmonies, sounding really sweet, despite all the jokes about aging!

Hits include “Devil You”, “Then Came the White Man”, “Wild Eyes”, and audience participation with “Hit the Road, Jack”. Their repertoire comprises hard rock, beautiful ballads, love songs and protest songs. A great night out, a wonderful nostalgia trip – makes you feel like a sweet city woman!

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