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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Comrie Smith: 1945 - 2009

Comrie Smith: 1945 - 2009

Comrie Smith, Neil Young's childhood friend and musical collaborator, passed away earlier this month.

Smith played on such key early tracks with Young such as “Hello Lonely Woman”, “Casting Me Away From You” and “There Goes My Babe”.

From interview in
UNCUT: Tell me about you and Neil before he moved away in 1960. Was he already into music?

SMITH: I remember when we were kids I’d meet Neil everyday on the corner to walk to school together and he’d have his white bucks on and his transistor radio just blaring out. He’d say, “Hey Comrie, listen to this one!” He loved the Fendermen with “Good Morning Captain”. I had a Go Bo Diddley album which had the greatest funky guitar song that we used to listen to a lot. He liked Gene Vincent and Link Wray. I had those albums and we’d listen to them all the time. We used to buy records from this little elderly lady at Robinson Radio. Once they were off the hit parade she’d sell them for 39¢. So you could get an Everly Brothers 45 and there’d always be an interesting song on the B-side and we’d listen to those. Neil and I both loved Roy Orbison. We would listen to “Only The Lonely” and “Candy Man” in my living room. We had both started playing earlier with Neil on his baritone ukulele and me with my acoustic guitar. We had thought we would form a group together when we were in junior high but then, of course, he left. I knew Rassy, too, before she and Scott split up. She was a great mom for us in that teenage time. She was very supportive of our musical interests and I understand she did the same for Neil in Winnipeg.

From Toronto Star obituary:
SMITH, Comrie Gillbert - September 29, 1945 - December 11, 2009 Peacefully, surrounded by his family, after heart failure. Dearly beloved by his partner Carol Susko. Loving father of Leslie and Michael. Dear brother of Sheila Edgar (Harry). Longtime friend of Lynda Smith. Also affectionately remembered by many relatives and friends. Cremation has taken place. A memorial and celebration of Comrie's life will be held at a later date. Donations in Comrie's memory to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family. Thanks to the wonderfully kind, supportive and efficient staff in Ajax Hospital Emergency and ICU Departments. Arrangements entrusted to The Simple Alternative, Ajax.

Also, see Broken Arrow Magazine - May 2009 (#114) "A Conversation with Comrie Smith (Neil's Toronto friend) by John Einarson.


At 12/20/2009 11:48:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

Too young to leave.....

At 12/20/2009 01:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the coolest material on the Archives are the Neil-Comrie tracks. I believe there are still a couple others that remain unreleased.

Neil, can you BluRayLive 'em for us?

At 12/20/2009 01:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Neil and Comrie cuts from the archives, a real treat!

At 12/20/2009 02:04:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Luckily Neil shared with Comrie a bit of glory on the Archives. I really enjoyed The Comrie Smith Tape.It's a pity that Betty Ann, Don't Tell My Friends and My Room Is Dark are left unreleased.Maybe the next downloads...
Andrea."So Tired"

At 12/20/2009 03:03:00 PM, Anonymous Sharry said...

I'm very saddened to hear this news. Comrie and Neil's songs are highlights on the Archives. He will be truly missed. He was taken from us too soon.

At 12/21/2009 09:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Comrie, and thank You so much

At 12/21/2009 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of Neil's friend Comrie.

Rancho Relaxo

At 1/06/2010 10:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned and played music with comrie at his cottage or at our apartment building on young street we used to fondly call the heartbreak hotel he was a great and talented musician and was always interested in learning and becoming better at what he did. I will miss him

long live the flying D.

Mark from Waubaushene Ontario

At 5/28/2011 01:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will miss you dear friend, and band mate...

You are Rock N Roll!

At 11/12/2013 03:42:00 AM, Anonymous Mel said...

Happy Birthday, Neil. Passed the Archives to my daughter A in tribute to Comrie and those that follow.

At 10/28/2019 12:13:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

RIP my old buddy Comrie, whom I grew up with, on Roe Avenue in North Toronto.(beside Old Orchard Blvd.) Comrie recorded and played bass (and lead guitar on one song) in my all-girl garage band "The Teabags" when I was 13. And yes I still have the recording he made for me. He gave us lots of his beautiful old vintage gear as well, a 60's Traynor PA with column speakers, 2 57 Sure mics plus 2 solid steel straight mic stands(still have one) He even gave away one of his vintage Hofner basses to a kid who wanted to learn. I have the only copy of the tape he made with Neil as I was such a massive Neil Young fan and still am obviously,I just loved it so much. Still have the copy he made me. My friend, Jane Hawley and I even sang our own version of 'There Goes My Babe" back in 1983 before anyone had even heard it yet - other than Neil.And I would drive around the city with Comrie every Saturday morning holding the keys for him while he climbed up into the rafters to tune the Pipe Organs in the old churches. At my insistence, he would tell me all his Neil Young stories over and over again! He even gave me Neil's 60's harmonica holder and guitar capo. The capo was stolen when I played a gig at Fat Alberts, an old underground coffee house in a church basement near Yorkville. But Neil, I have your old harmonica holder, which I use still! They don't make' em like they used to, Comrie ! Miss You. x Cat @


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