Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Treatise on My Fealty to Canada's Doug and The Slugs

I put together a selection of my favorite songs by these fellows, and you may listen to it HERE. After you've enjoyed the songs, how about giving them some money and getting more Doug and The Slugs in return? Go HERE.

It's a damn shame Doug and The Slugs were never bigger in the states, or anywhere else...but Canada.

Formed in 1977 by the brilliant-and-not-just-for-a-Canadian-newspaper editor/cartoonist Doug Bennett, in
 Vancouver, Canada, Doug and The Slugs was an antediluvian big-band romance and sardonic boogie band, with the heart of an alt-Manilow, and blahblahblah something to do with W. Somerset Maugham.

Their first album, titled Cognac and Bologna, was released in 1980. Paid for by a second mortgage on their managers home, it yielded hits in the top 20 and 75 in Canada, zilch of course, in The States. But, my apartment back in those heady '80s days, in spite of my deep abiding love, my abiding love for early Costello, Doug and The Slugs often rivaled Costello and Joe Jackson, both lyrically and musically. Hell, they could have kicked the ass of Huey Lewis AND The News, but for their Canadianess.

The Slugs' songs were hooky as hell, clever, witty, sharp, a little too smart, and often quite poignant, but for some reason in spite of a top twenty album that sold over 100,000 albums in Canada their mix of R & B, ska, and often archaic in pop forms, Doug and The Slugs barely crossed over here in the U.S. I suppose it's because I lived in the Pacific Northwest, closer to the well-spring of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Unless you live close to Canada, you'll rarely have heard Canadian bands, beyond Neil and Geddy. That's nothing new for Canadian bands. Considering the Canadian sense of humour for band names- Doug and The Slugs, The Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams, Geddy, Neil...it can't be easy. Perhaps the songs were a little too witty for yanks. Like Canadian Bacon.

They did score the theme for comedian and fellow Canuck Norm MacDonald's short lived tv show, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Doug and The Slugs has always been my happily and occasionally heartbroken little secret. Nobody knows about 'em and nobody knows I like 'em. Except, my wife, who hates them. And now you.

The Slugs released six albums, not including a hits package and Doug's solo stuff, and all but the first album and a "Hits" package are long out of print in the U.S.

Doug Bennett passed on in 2004, the victim of a bad heart and a worse liver at age fifty-three. He left behind a fine, intelligent, thoughtful, and most of all a witty and fun musical legacy. Hail Canada! This American bows to your gift.


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