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Ah, the Brothers in Law …

01 Mar

 

The Brothers-in-Law was a Canadian satirical musical group active in the 1960s and early 1970s, recording many popular record albums and creating the occasional controversy.

The group was born in 1963 by four police officers in Windsor, Ontario (hence the name Brothers-in-Law). The group’s collection consisted of musical satire making fun at the Canadian government, the law, and buyer issues. They performed and recorded a mix of original songs and adaptations of folk and stage tunes.

The band’s most popular recording was the album Oh! Oh! Canada, which was released in 1965, which sold between 100,000 and 275,000 copies (sources differ as to the exact number). The album’s best-known songs included “Rally Around the New Flag“, which lampooned the extensive political discussions over the “Maple Leaf” national flag design.

The band recorded five albums of songs and a number of singles in Canada. They also recorded an album for release in the United States which included a new rendition of “The Pill” and “Canada-U.S.A.”, a song about Canadian-American similarities and the long-standing debate over whether Canada should become the 51st state.

The original members of the band included songwriter Alec Somerville on banjo, Howard Duffy on the guitar, Larry Reaume on the guitar, and Ken Clarke on bass. In 1965, Clarke left the band and replaced by schoolteacher Bob Lee. But a year later when Duffy left the band in 1966, he was not replaced. The group members maintained their regular jobs, treating their musical career as a sideline and only giving intermittent concerts.

The group officially disbanded in the early 1970s, but in the early 1980s, a compilation album named, Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh? was released. (The appending of the phrase “Eh?” to the title suggests its release was inspired by the success of Bob and Doug MacKenzie.).

In 2008, the Quebec-based label Unidisc reissued most of the group’s albums over a three-volume CD series. Volume 1 collected Oh! Oh! Canada and Strike AgainVolume 2 featured Expose ’67 and Onward the Establishment, while Volume 3 presented The Pill and the previously never released recordings featured in the 1980s compilation Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh?

 

Discography

  • Oh! Oh! Canada (1965)
  • The Brothers-in-Law Strike Again (1966)
  • Expose ’67 (1967)
  • Expose ’67 Plus (1967) – same album as above, with extra tracks
  • The Pill (US release; year unknown, c.1967)
  • Onward the Establishment (1969)
  • Oh! Oh! Canada, Eh? (early 1980s compilation)
  • The Brothers in Law (2008) – three-volume CD series collecting most of the group’s albums
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7 responses to “Ah, the Brothers in Law …

  1. terrythecensor

    June 9, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    We used to play their LPs on the University of Windsor radio station back in the late ’80s.

     
  2. Yvonne

    March 2, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Thank you so much for the history, and the songs. We moved from Canada around the time they hit their stride.

     
    • tkmorin

      March 2, 2016 at 8:16 am

      🙂 So I take it that, Yvonne, once they disbanded, there was no reason to stay!? 🙂 🙂

       
      • Yvonne

        March 2, 2016 at 3:04 pm

        When people asked me why we left Canada, that’s exactly what I said! 🙂

         
  3. Gypsy Bev

    March 2, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Didn’t the Blues Brothers also do some Canadian humor? My son used to listen to them. Eh!

     

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