gezerville_big_blogheader.jpg

Kid full of dreams forty years on

Roy Forbes  in a photo by Suzannah Forbes

 Betsy, she's singin' just like Patsy Cline                                       

Sendin’ shivers chasin' each other up and down my spine...

Roy Forbes is banging that battered old Gurian guitar and almost dancing as he taps his feet to the music.  He’s crowding 60, but the kid can still rock.

    The smoke haze is risin', the liquor goes down                                  The feet start tappin’,  let's order a round

Roy is celebrating forty years in the music business with a pair of packed concerts at the Deep Cove Theatre.  Typically, the crowd knows all the words, and half of them are singing along.  And typically, the two concerts are benefits for the theatre.  In fact the mixing board, microphones and some other equipment being used in this concert were bought with proceeds from other benefits Roy has done here. 

The music business doesn’t always treat nice guys well.  It’s a racket that Hunter S. Thompson called a “...cruel and shallow money trench...  where... good men die like dogs.  There’s also a negative side.”   

 

 

Roy Forbes grew up in Dawson Creek listening to records the way other kids grew up playing hockey.   He soaked up all kinds of music, from country to torch, then spent his early teens playing twangy psychedelic rock with his high school band The Crystal Ship.   

The summer after high school he headed to the coast as a solo act -- just him, his guitar and his songs.  He made a pretty big splash and even caught the attention of the late Chuck Davis, who wrote in the July 1971 section of The Greater Vancouver Book:

“He called himself Bim.  He was sensational.”   

 

 

It’s the voice that gets your attention first – a high lonesome keening that can plunge down into a sultry contralto so fast you get butterflies.  In an autotuned world it stands out as genuine and unmistakeable.  His first record, Kid Full of Dreams, came out in 1975, and got a Juno nomination. 

Bim played the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, lived in LA for a couple of years in the early seventies, and toured all over North America opening for megastars like Supertramp and Santana.  It wasn’t as glamourous as it sounds.  The rock fans were often impatient for their idols, and didn’t always appreciate Bim’s music.  Things may have even been thrown onto the stage on occasion.  Sometimes brevity was the soul of wit.

“We got through our half-hour set in twenty minutes and got off the stage,” Roy recalls.

More in Geezerville

Poet George Bowering talks baseball

The official Loudmouth Fan of the Vancouver Canadians keeps the season alive -- George Bowering offers up a beer and a dog and a damn good baseball story.

Literary stars sparkle at Vancouver International Writers Festival

Progress, a family tragedy, armed resistance, the fur trade, celebrity journalism and an earthquake -- a day in the life at the Writers Festival

Rain City

The rain returns. We can either cower under our umbrellas, or embrace one of the defining features of our city.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.