Jack Kingston, The Canadian Playboy

The British Archive of Country Music has added Jack Kingston to their roster: JACK KINGSTON The Canadian Playboy CD D 296. One of the cool design features of B.A.C.M. CD releases is their graphic CD imprint which simulates a 45.

B.A.C.M. 45 style CD imprint

An earlier article I showed you a little bit about restoring screened images with one of the images I restored for this B.A.C.M. CD. As it turned out, they selected this image I restored for the cover of their CD release of Jack’s music.   (I’m not surprised because this is clearly a better portrait.)  Click on it to see the original.

A a black & white photograph pf Jack Kingston at a CHML radio microphones of the day is inset in a colour photograph of a lonely prairie that forms the background image.

It is great to see B.A.C.M.’s commitment to preserving and restoring this music that was originally recorded on 78’s. During the golden age of Canadian Country music, Jack Kingston was a very successful Canadian recording artist. A talent contest led to his launch as a CKNX Barndance Headliner, and he had a long and successful career appearing on CHML’s Mainstreet Jamboree radio show, appearances on television and many recordings.

Unfortunately, Jack Kingston is not very well known today. Although he was an important Canadian star, my guess is that Jack’s music remained locked behind copyright until fairly recently, yet the copyright holders never saw fit to release his music on CD. You’ll find very little about him on the Internet; most references to Jack Kingston refer to the other Jack Kingston, the politician of the same name. Unfortunately I fear that a lot of great music is lost because by the time the music comes into the public domain, nobody remembers the artist. Fortunately this deficiency has now been rectified by B.A.C.M. who have given Jack’s work a new lease on life.

But Jack Kingston was lucky to be Canadian recording artist since copyright terms run much longer in some other countries. The danger of very long copyright terms is that if no one is left alive who remembers the art or music, there is no one to keep the flame burning. By the time the work reaches the public domain there may be no one left alive who cares to publish it. That’s bad for society, bad for our culture, but most especially it’s bad for the artist. More than anything, most artists want their art to live on.

You can order the B.A.C.M. recording here. In the meantime, if you’ve never heard Jack Kingston’s music you might want to check out this nicely done music video I found on YouTube:

It’s good to that the work of this important contributor to Canadian Culture is not going to be lost forever anytime soon. Thanks B.A.C.M.

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9 Responses to “Jack Kingston, The Canadian Playboy”

  1. 1 Barbie Kingston September 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    This is my grandfather!!! I remember him very well, he was a great man and a great musician

    • 2 lothlaurien September 10, 2010 at 9:36 am

      Happy to help 🙂

      What is sad is that at a time when digital copying has become so easy and inexpensive we are faced with losing so much of our heritage through repressive copyright laws like the proposed “Canadian DMCA,” Bill C-32. If you own the last existing copy of a rare record, why would you transfer it to a digital format and post it on the Internet if it means you’re going to be hit with a lawsuit? I have to wonder how much art and culture will be lost as a direct result of the DMCA law chilling effects that discourage people from preserving and sharing this art.

      The reason B.A.C.M. can release a Jack Kingston CD is because we are at the point where music recorded on 78s are in the public domain under Canadian and UK copyright law. This is not true in the United States, where I believe copyright terms run twenty years longer than ours, and efforts are being made to extend this by additional twenty years. I’ve read that the extra twenty years means that nothing in current popular culture will enter the public domain during the lifetime of anyone alive today in America.

      Without the B.A.C.M. release, in 40 years will anyone remember Jack Kingston? Would there be any market to release his music?

      I think it’s important that our culture doesn’t lose the creative legacy forged by people like your grandfather. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to find Jack Kingston material online. Or how little was out there.

      Which is why I celebrate the work of B.A.C.M. in preserving and keeping alive this wonderful culture, not only for us but for generations to come.

  2. 3 Teddy Morrison November 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Nice CD release of Jack Kingston. There is more out there though…..somewhere. My favorite was Maple Sugar Sweetheart sung by Jack but it is NOT on this collection. Buy and listen to a great Canadian talent.

  3. 4 Rosanne Bellaire June 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    My mother recently passed away and in her personal effects I found an autographed Jack Kingston song book. “Folio No. 1”

    • 5 lothlaurien June 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Jack Kingston created some important Canadian culture, which is in danger of being lost due to extensions in copyright law. When copyrights outlive the creators, the following generations don’t have access. We’re fortunate Jack Kingston’s work hasn’t yet been lost, as so much else has.

  4. 6 ed shaver September 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I am jacks great nefew I am trying to collect any and all of his recordings , my grand mother was his sister (Gladies Kingston-Shaver)

    • 7 lothlaurien October 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      I’m sorry, I am not personally acquainted with Jack Kingston or his family. Many of Mr. Kingston’s recordings were included on the British Archive CD issue. You can find the Jack Kingston BACM listing here.

      Other than that, you might want to consider checking out vinyl record shows, which are held throughout the year in various venues. I believe there is one upcoming in Toronto this weekend.

  5. 8 bobbysns November 12, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I am Jack Kingston’s youngest son and owner of all of his music as published under Wentworth Music, Socan/BMI Canada. His music is very much alive and periodically I am contacted by someone wishing to re-record something. Most recently, CNR Special was recorded by the Good Brothers. I receive royalties on his writings to this day. Sometimes, I even perform his music and have covered quite a few of his songs on two different CDs that I released. You can even find his music still available on eBay as part of a cd release compilation or even used old vinyl records. Amazing to see it there being the last release of his was some 45 years ago around 1970!

  6. 9 Marc Coulavin December 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm


    Your cousin Bobby (who was living in Las Vegas, when last I heard) has a number of his dad’s recordings on 78.
    I know, because he outbid me on ebay a while back!



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