The Toronto Historical Jukebox: "It's Alright (This Feeling)" by Crack Of Dawn

In 1970s Toronto, there were plenty of bands mixing Canadian and Caribbean sounds. Crack Of Dawn was one of the best. When they formed, the group had members from Toronto, Nova Scotia, Jamaica and Grenada. Three of them had already played in The Cougars — a Toronto R&B band featuring the legendary Jamaican reggae musician Jackie Mittoo — and the new group carried on that tradition. Crack Of Dawn blended funk with R&B and a bit of reggae — a dance floor-friendly mix that earned them a reputation for an incredible live show.

By 1977, Crack Of Dawn had become the very first Black band from Canada to ever be signed to a major label, releasing a self-titled debut with Columbia Records. "It's Alright (This Feeling)" was one of the singles off that album — and it became a hit.

"I remember pulling into Edmonton and seeing thousands of people waiting for us and all these girls screaming," guitarist Rupert Harvey recently told the Toronto Star, "We were shocked that all those people were there for us." The band was breaking new ground by touring Canada at a time when a lot of the country hadn't seen many Black immigrants yet. "The first time we played in Saskatoon," Harvey says, "I remember walking back to the hotel early in the morning and a van came up beside us really slowly. This guy looked at us and said 'Howdy, never seen one of you guys before, only on TV.' It was friendly but strange."

Crack Of Dawn broke up only a year after releasing their debut record, but would have a lasting impact. Some of the members would go on to play for bands like Toots & The Maytals and Messenjah, while others became record producers, managers and music professors, passing down their experiences to the next generation of Torontonian musicians.

The band has also reunited a few times in one form or another: to record a second album in the early '80s; to play a reunion show at the Club Bluenote (an after hours soul club on Yonge Street); and again for a few shows in 2012.



Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and the Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at


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