Crosstown Bus

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1965-69)  

- Jeff Boyne -- lead vocals, guitar, percussion

- Roger Henthorne -- bass

- Rick Gannon -- drums, percussion

- Don Siemens --

- Rob Sommerville - vocals, keyboards, percussion


  line up 2 (1969-71)  

- Jeff Boyne -- lead vocals, guitar, percussion

- Roger Henthorne -- bass

NEW - David Jonsson -- drums, percussion (replaced Rick Gannon)

- Rob Sommerville - vocals, keyboards, percussion


  line up 3 (1971)

NEW- Brian Anderson -- vocals, bass (replaced Roger Henthorne)

- Jeff Boyne -- lead vocals, guitar, percussion

NEW - Mike Killeen -- drums, percussion (replaced David Jonsson)

NEW - Frank Ludwig -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Rob Sommerville - vocals, keyboards, percussion


  supporting musicians: (1971)

- Bruce Fariburn -- horns

- Sharmon King -- horns

- Ian Sinkewicz -- horns


  line up 4 (1971)

- Nick Doktor -- drums, percussion (replaced Mike Killeen)

- Frank Ludwig -- vocals, keyboards, guitar

- Rob Sommerville - vocals, keyboards, percussion

NEW - Blair Thornton -- vocals, guitar (replaced Jeff Boyne)


  line up 5

- Bobby Blow -- keyboards (replaced Frank Ludwig)

- Jim Grant -- vocals, guitar (replaced Blair Thornton)

- Nick Doktor -- drums, percussion 

- Blair Thornton -- vocals, guitar (replaced Jeff Boyne)





- The 004's (Nick Doktor)

- Bachman Turner Overdrive (Blair Thornton)

- Body Electric (Frank Ludwig)

- Brutus (Frank Ludwig)

- Charlotte Diamond (David Jonsson)

- The 5 Man Cargo (Nick Doktor and David Jonsson)

- Hammersmith (Jeff Boyne)

- Ironhorse (Frank Ludwig)

- Jet (David Jonsson)

- Mike Killeen (solo efforts)

- Frank Ludwig (solo efforts)

- Self Portrait (Frank Ludwig)

- The Shockers (David Jonsson)

- Trilogy (David Jonsson)

- Trooper (Frank Ludwig)

- Union (Frank Ludwig)







Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  High Grass

Company: MCA

Catalog:  MCA 7015

Year: 1971

Country/State: Nelson, Canada

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: bullet hole lower left corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $50.oo

The Mark IV formed in 1965.  Calling Nelson, British Columbia home the group featured the talents of singer/guitarist Jeff Boyne, drummer Rick Gannon, bassist Roger Henthorne, Don Siemens, and keyboardist Rob Sommerville.  They spent a couple of years working on the high school dance and local club scene, opting on changing their name to Crosstown Bus and eventually relocating to Vancouver.  Manager and mentor Bruce Allen convinced them to move to Los Angeles where they eventually scored a contract with MCA.  


Returning to Canada, they band underwent a string of personnel changes with bassist Henthorne replaced by Brian Anderson, drummer Gannon replaced by David Jonsson who was then replaced with Mike Killeen and singer/keyboard player Frank Ludwig joining the line-up.  MCA subsequently financed an instantly obscure single produced by Tom Northcott:


- 1971's 'Rochester River' b/w 'Caravan' (MCA catalog number 2003)





Even though the debut 45 vanished into cutout bins, MCA agree to finance an album, teaming them with producer Greg Hambleton.  Recorded in Vancouver's Studio 3, musically 1971's "High Grass" offered up a mixture of sappy ballads and more up-tempo, if largely forgettable boogie-rockers.  Lead singer Boyne was credited with two original tracks, with keyboardist Ludwig contributing one song - the album highlight 'Pass This Way Again.'  In addition to the earlier single, the rest of the album featured outside material, including three songs penned by producer Hambleton.  In the band's defense, they apparently had little say in the recording sessions.  Hambleton was riding high on earlier successes with  Canadian bands like A Passing Fancy, Rain, and Steel River and his tastes and production decisions ruled the day - including adding horns to some of the tracks and the ill-advised decision to let a young David Foster bury ballads like the title track and the single 'I'm Lost without You' in waves of strings.  Certainly nothing more than coincidence, but as mentioned the album included three Hambleton-penned tunes, including 'I'm Lost without You' which was released as their third and final single.  And as was frequently the case, studio musicians were brought in to augment the recording sessions.  Against that backdrop the album should have been a total disaster.  Admittedly parts of it were horrible, but there were a couple of keepers.  Ludwig's 'Pass This Way Again' was a strong pop-rocker. while 'She Don't Care', 'In Ten Years Time' and their Van Morrison cover 'Caravan' were all enjoyable performances.


"High Grass" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) High Grass   (Jeff Boyne) - 2:40  rating: ** stars

The title track had me thinking this was going to be a slice of nod-nod, wink-wink counter-culture rock and roll.  LOL, was I ever wrong.  Instead, 'High Grass' was a painful, middle-of-the-road, over-orchestrated ballad.  Insipid readily comes to mind making you wonder why MCA tapped it as a single:





- 1971's 'High Grass' b/w 'Renie' (MCA catalog number 2018)







2.) Too Many Mornings   (Jeff Boyne) - 2:32  rating: ** stars

Geez, who would have dream about a mash-up of Herman's Hermits and Blood, Sweat and Tears?   Even more to the point, listening to the forgettable 'Too Many Mornings', why would anyone have bothered?

3.) Pass This Way Again  (Frank Ludwig) - 2:30   rating: **** stars

Written by keyboardist Ludwig, 'Pass This Way Again' was easily side one's best performance.  Showcasing a bouncy, keyboard-based melody and Ludwig's nice voice, the tune would have made a nice single - certainly better than the track MCA picked.

4.) Pretty Millie   (J. Houston) - 2:41  rating: ** stars

'Pretty Millie' showed the band stepping into boogie-rock territory.  The performance was certainly better than their pop oriented efforts, but hardly memorable.

5.) Overcoats   (Greg Hambleton) - 4:42  rating: ** stars

Written by producer Greg Hambleton, 'Overcoats; found the band taking another stab at over-orchestrated pop-ballads.  Bland song, made worse by Boyne's weak and waivery lead vocals.


(side 2)

1.) Rochester River   (W. Erwin) - 2:49   rating: **** stars

Previously released as a single, the Tom Northcott produced 'Rochester River' was a taunt rocker that benefited from a stripped down arrangement and a nice vocal.   Not sure who handled vocals on the song.   

2.) She Don't Care   (Greg Hambleton) - 2:23   rating: **** stars

The album's most "fun" performance, 'She Don't Care' sounded like David Clayton Thomas trying to cover The Beatles covering Arthur Crudup's 'That's Alright Mama.'

3.) Renie   (Jeff Boyne) - 3:23  rating: *** stars

Boyne's best composition, 'Renie' at least had a nice commercial melody and benefited from the "group" vocals on the refrain.  

4.) In Ten Years Time   (J. Telfer) - 2:42   rating: **** stars

'In Ten Years Time' was rollicking pop tune that had some commercial potential.  It would have been even stronger without the horn arrangement.

5.) I'm Lost without You   (Greg Hambleton) - 1:56  rating: * star

Pop dribble that showcased Boyne's waivery voice...  ' I'm Lost without You' was as bad as the title track.  And like the title track, MCA elected to release it as a single.  What were they thinking?




- 1971's 'I'm Lost without You' b/w 'In Ten Years Time' (MCA catalog number 2013)





6.) Caravan   (Van Morrison) - 2:53  rating: **** stars

As a big Van Morrison fan (well, until he went off the rails with respect to his views on COVID-19 restrictions), I was curious to hear the band's cover of 'Caravan.'  The performance wasn't bad.  They increased the "pop" quotient, but didn't stray too far from the original arrangement.  I'll give an extra star for their good taste in cover tunes.



While the third single cracked the Canadian top-100 charts, the parent album did little.  The band continued to tour the local club circuit, but underwent a string of personnel changes.  First out the door was front band Boyne; replaced by Blair Thornton.  Thornton was then replaced by guitarist JIm Grant.  Keyboard player Ludwig was replaced by Bobby Blow.  Drummer Killeen was replaced by Nick Dokto.  Doktor was replaced by Dave Jonsson.  The final line-up called it quits in 1974.



Ludwig has a nice website at:


Following a 35th anniversary high school reunion, Anderson, Boyne and original drummer Rick Gannon began playing occasional reunion dates.  They retired the nameplate in October 2018.