I was saddened to learn of the death yesterday of Max Ferguson, one of the great CBC personalities. Although I never met him face to face, we had corresponded a little when I compiled the appendix to a new edition of his Leacock Award winning memoir of his first twenty years in the CBC And Now … Here’s Max (still in print, see link below), and his was a familiar voice of my teen years. I’ve noticed that the obituaries are mentioning, of course, his satire, capable of stirring up Parliament — though the CBC one avoids mentioning how often he was in conflict with the Holy Mother Corp (the phrase is his colleague Allan McFee’s, I think) and how often the CBC itself was his target. (It’s still possible to listen to clips of his shows; there are links to various items through his publisher’s website here.) I had come to know Max when I was quite young, through my father’s copy of And Now … Here’s Max, which I read and chortled over several times, but on air, it was through folk music that I discovered him as something other than a literary character. I haven’t seen anything mentioning that after he retired from being Canada’s gadfly, he still had a weekly show, still called “The Max Ferguson Show”, on which he played what is now called world music, though back in the eighties and nineties it was just folk music from around the world. [Postscript: The full obituary in The Globe and Mail does detail his entire career; it was the CBC obits that were lacking in many details. I had not known that Max was the original voice of the Hulk!] For introducing me to The Corries, Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band, Loreena McKennitt, music from Scotland and Bulgaria, South Africa and Ireland, England, Canada, Finland, Russia and South American, I’d like to thank him once more. He greatly enriched my musical life.
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