Doug was, and still is, a writer, arranger, musician, and conductor with roots deep in the Canadian jazz scene of the 1950s. After a lengthy spell working in England during the first half of the 1960s, he returned to Toronto and took up an in-house position at the government sanctioned Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), where in 1970 he recorded his very own What’s Going On. Commercially released by the short-lived Kanata Records label, Songs was an introspective look at ever-dominant corporations, the cutthroat advertising world, our consumer society, decaying environment, and his own personal condition.The results crossed the epic studio creations of David Axelrod’s Capitol output (or Spanish folk-rock fuelled Pride LP) with Free Design vocal harmonies from notable vocalists Tommy Ambrose and Laurie Bower (Billy Van Singers, Mutual Understanding, Laurie Bower Singers). Randle himself describes his long-forgotten efforts as, “my bitter and twisted Simon & Garfunkel songs,” and though the lyrical content is indeed weighty, Songs’ backing tracks successfully merge swinging sunshine pop and atmospheric orchestrations with a groovy backbeat performed by the cream of Toronto’s heralded studio scene (Moe Koffman, Peter Appleyard, Rob McConnell, and Guido Basso to name a few).
It’s an album like you’ve never heard, and one under the radar of even the most dedicated crate diggers.