"I do have some info regarding a band, largely forgotten, that was around in 1970 and has some part in the creation of Blues Union. In, I'd say, mid-1970, there was a group, a blues trio, named Lem Motlow that was comprised of Bill Burdick (bass), Mike Balfe (drums) and Richard Payne (guitar & vocals). As you know, Burdick and Balfe later were original Blues Union members. Payne was a original member of City Blues Band (pre-Victoria version). Lem Motlow opened for Bayside Blues at The Purple Onion in 1970. This band also had played a few private/legion type gigs prior to this. After the Purple Onion gig it was decided by some members of both bands to combine and become Blues Union, hence; "a union of blues musicians". I remember the discussion, set forth in the kitchen of the house I lived in, on Niagara St. in James Bay.
What came of all of this was the first Blues Union line-up: Bryan Hunt (guitar), Bill Burdick (bass), Mike Balfe (drums) and Bob Lesher (harmonica/vocals). The band's first steady gig was at the Taj Mahal (later The Brown Jug) on Broad St.
Re: Lem Motlow; There is no know photos of the band, which probably existed as a unit for about five months...but if it had not existed, there is a very good chance blues Union would have never evolved at all.
I am in touch with Payne, who now lives in Toronto, to see if he has any more info on Lem Motlow. Lem Motlow, BTW, was a famous American whiskey brewer". Bob Lesher Jan 2012