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The Ugly Ducklings

The Ugly Ducklings - Nothin' / I Can Tell - 7

Nothin' / I Can Tell - 7"
Yorktown - 1966

Michael Panontin
Under the droll moniker the Strolling Bones, Dave Bingham, Roger Mayne and company weren't getting very far as a local Rolling Stones cover band. So the guys changed their name to the grittier sounding Ugly Ducklings and began writing some of their own songs. The group hit pay dirt on their first attempt with the snarling swagger of garage classic 'Nothin'. As Bingham remembers it in Before the Gold Rush, "Like all of our songs, it evolved out of Roger or Glynn (Bell) working up some riff on the guitar and me just singing along to it. In those days I'd make up the lyrics in like fifteen minutes. It was all pretty spontaneous stuff."

Ditto, it would seem, for the business end of it. 'Nothin' was recorded for 300 bucks on a two-track machine and was on regular rotation on Toronto's AM powerhouse CHUM in a matter of weeks, thanks in part to pushes by DJs Jungle Jay Nelson and Bob McAdorey. When the song was entered in the station's on-air battle of the bands contest, listeners voted it on top thirteen weeks in a row. By June 29th they were backing up Mick and their heroes at the cavernous Maple Leaf Gardens, with the boys no doubt pinching themselves when Jagger later referred to the Ducks as his favourite Canadian band.

Paired with a raving version of Bo Diddley's 'I Can Tell', the record sold well, leading to follow-up singles '10:30 Train', 'Just in Case You Wonder' and 'Postman's Fancy', as well as the easier-to-find long-player Somewhere Outside. (Anorak's may want to take note that the pictured record is the original first pressing, with the second - and harder-to-find - version showing the standard multi-coloured Yorktown design.)

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