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Doomsday Machine

Doomsday Machine - Ain't Nobody Else / Toe Nails - 7

Ain't Nobody Else / Toe Nails - 7"
Dot - 1969

Michael Panontin
Doomsday Machine put out a couple of professionally recorded singles for the Dot label in 1969. The five-piece from Kingsville, just to the south of Windsor (ON), consisted of guitarist Jerry Alice, singer Robert Alice and keyboardist Wally Glass, with bassist Bob Matlack and drummer Art Quick bringing up the rhythm end of things. Bob Nixon, though actually a member of Kingsville's other big claim to fame at the time, the Dorians, wrote three of the band's four sides. Nixon sheds a little light on the mystery of Doomsday Machine. "Gunther Funkenhauser was the one who initially asked me to write some tunes for a band called the Living Ends, whom he was managing for his popular dances at the Kingsville Pavillion called Surfside," he writes. "When we started recording, they became the Doomsday Machine. That was back in '67."

Doomsday Machine had the good fortune of having access to the talented Detroit hit-making machine across the river, in this case Ralph Terrana and Al Sherman's fabled Tera Shirma Studios near the corner of Livernois and Fenkell. "Funkenhauser also paid for the initial productions at Tera Shirma," Nixon recalls. "The session men on those early tunes were Bob Babbitt from Motown and the drummer from Rare Earth and the strings and horns were players in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. And, as well, the background singers Telma and Joyce, who went on to become Dawn of Tony Orlando and Dawn, graced a few of the tunes."

Those glistening harmonies and that searing guitar on 'Ain't Nobody Else', it would appear, didn't come out of nowhere. The record is a very early co-production of the Motor City duo of Denis Coffey and Mike Theodore, who would go on to produce Sixto Rodriguez's Cold Fact the following year. In fact, a closer look at the label reveals that this was one of the very first productions for Clarence Avant and his newly created Avant Garde Music Publishing (whom astute film-goers will recognize as the villainous record exec in Malik Bendjelloul's Oscar-winning Searching for Sugar Man). Even more curious is that 'Ain't Nobody Else' was written by Detroit songwriter Paul Parrish, who was also a product of the Avant/Theodore/Cofffey team and whose little known psych-pop gem The Forest of My Mind has been reissued onto CD by the Now Sounds label.

And, just to add to the whole mystique here, 'Ain't Nobody Else' comes dirt cheap, with near-mint copies out there going for little more than a ten-spot. (Though tougher to find, at least a few copies of 'Ain't Nobody Else' were issued in Germany sheathed in a nifty blue-and-white picture sleeve.)

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