Stompin’ Tom and “Sudbury Saturday Night”
Stompin' Tom Connors first album

Stompin’ Tom Connors’s first album from 1967. “Sudbury Saturday Night” was the 7th track.

Stompin’ Tom’s big break happened in Timmins. He was down to his last .35¢ and he needed .40¢ to buy a beer at the Maple Leaf Hotel where he had stopped. The bartender Gaetan Lepine noticed his guitar case and asked if he could play so Tom pulled out his guitar and played a few tunes. Gaetan told him he could play the bar for the weekend for tips and he could get a room for free and one meal a day.

Tom agreed and that sole weekend turned into 14 months of playing. He earned $35 a week. Though he had a falling out with the owner of the bar Tom and Gaetan became life long friends and partners.

Tom left Timmins in 1965 and drove to North Bay looking for a bar to play in. Finding nothing he drove toward Sudbury and stopped at the Hanmer Hotel where he played for a weekend. He made it to Sudbury and was hired at The Townehouse Tavern for a three week term where he was to play in the lounge upstairs. There was a big country danceband playing downstairs in the bar and Tom had a hard time competing against them for an audience. By the second week people who had seen him were bringing back their friends and the place was filling up. The owner of The Townehouse at the time renewed his contract. By the third week he had made his mark and it was at the end of that week that he wrote “Sudbury Saturday Night”.

In the meantime The Townehouse was sold and the new owner did not want to renew his contract so Tom got a job at the Welcome Motor Hotel in Chelmsford. The new owner had just redone the interior including putting shag carpeting on the stage. Tom set up for the first night and brought his board to stomp on. The owner didn’t like the stomping and insisted Tom not use it. Tom spent the rest of the contract as a “thumper” instead of a stomper as he wrote in his autobiography. He managed to wear through that new shag carpet leaving several holes. He had hoped the owner wouldn’t notice but he did the morning Tom was to leave and so Tom had to forfeit the balance of his contract owed, $45.

Stompin’ Tom’s Sudbury Saturday Night was played at The Townehouse for the first time sometime in September 1966 – almost exactly 50 years ago

From there Tom drove to the Sault Ste. Marie but there were no jobs and so he finally found work at the Wawa Motor Hotel. In September 1966 he made his way back to Sudbury and immediately got hired at The Townehouse again as another band had cancelled. According to his autobiography, he was finally able to play “Sudbury Saturday Night” for the first time.

For those of you planning on joining Sudbury Celebrates Stompin’ Tom tomorrow evening at The Townehouse we thought we’d give you the words to Sudbury Saturday Night to practice and you can sing along to this video from the Horseshoe Tavern, the earliest video recording of the song. You can find out all the details here.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – Sudbury Saturday Night

Well the girls are out to bingo and the boys are gettin stinko
We think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday Night
The glasses they will tinkle while our eyes begin to twinkle
And we think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday Night

With Irish Jim O’Connell there & Scotty Jack McDonald
There’s hunky Frederic Hergal gettin tight but that’s alright
There’s happy German Frixie there with Frenchie gettin tipsy
And even Joe the gypsy knows it’s Saturday tonight

Now when Maryanne and Mabel come to join us at the table,
And tell us how the bingo went tonight we’ll look a fright
But if they won the money we’ll be lappin’ up the honey boys
‘Cause everything is funny for it’s Saturday tonight

We’ll drink the loot we borrowed and recuperate tomorrow
‘Cause everything is wonderful tonite-we had a good fight
We ate the deli pickle and we forgot about the nickel
And everybody’s tickled for it’s Saturday tonight

The songs that we’ll be singin They might be wrong but they’ll be ringin’
But all the lights of town are shinin bright-and we’re all
Tight -We’ll get to work on Monday-but tomorrow’s only Sunday and we are out to have a fun day for it Saturday tonight.

Sacred Heart College, Sudbury's first post-secondary institution opened in 1913.
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