Songs For The New Industrial State


"'A stunning collection of new songs for and about the time we live in,' billed the text on the backside of composer Doug Randle's 1971 release, Songs For The New Industrial State. In 2009, the same holds true. 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. Songs For The New Industrial State's much-needed re-release was spearheaded by Canadian music historian and Jamaica-Toronto series producer Kevin Howes (aka Sipreano) and comes replete with OG liner notes from legendary jazz scribe, one-time Downbeat editor, singer, and songwriter Gene Lees, archival images courtesy of Randle, audio taken from the original CBC master tapes, complete lyrics, and stellar art direction courtesy of Vincent Cook (2Step Tokyo, Jamaica-Toronto) that remains faithful to the period issue. In spite of the reductive pop sensibilities and fashion-conscious trends that dominate our modern marketplace, we are ecstatic to reintroduce Songs' insubordinate cry to a global audience. Let's all ensure Randle's lost letter gets read nice and loud on this go-'round."