“Duckworth Stomp”: Thundermug’s 1974 B-Side About Partying in St. John’s

thundermugIf you’ve ever been to a Newfoundland wedding or kitchen party, chances are you’ve been subjected to the dance craze of “The Newfie Stomp“. But have you ever heard of the “Duckworth Stomp“? Neither had we, until a few weeks ago.

Aside from compulsively researching local interest as a hobbyist record collector, my mission to compile and document the largely obscure side of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canadian music has become an integral part of my contribution to Secret East over the last two years. In order to cast a net and extend my prying feelers to ensure no nuggets of lost local gold slip by — as well as to indulge my niche interests with folks willing to tolerate my yammer — I feel as if I have struck an unspoken deal with my record picking friends. This is to keep my mission in mind during their diggings. I don’t expect them to cough over their findings, but it is the information (and perhaps a digital rip or dubbed cassette) that I’m looking for.

Last week I received a picture from buddy Joel, a fellow record collector in Nova Scotia, of a 45 single by a 1970’s hard rock band called Thundermug. “Is this a Newfoundland band?” he asked.

thundermug2It turns out Thundermug are not a Newfoundland band, but instead hailed from London, Ontario. With that being said, the single b-side titled “Duckworth Stomp” cites one of the central downtown streets of St. John’s, and that was enough to make me curious.

Thundermug were the Can-rock answer to the emergence of space truckin‘ infused hard rock in the early 1970s. Initially active from 1970-1976, Thundermug trudged a 6 year tenure that included three studio albums on Axe Records, a charting hit with their 1972 cut “Africa“, opening slots for the likes of Aerosmith and Rush, and extensive cross-country tours with The Stampeders.

The song in question appears on the last of their original Axe Records releases, a 1974 LP called Ta-daa!, and again as a b-side to their 1976 45 single entitled “Clap Your Hands & Stamp Your Feet”. Within 30 seconds of the ZZ Top-infused boogie rock rubber stamp about a nondescript dance move with no instructions, the namesake of “Duckworth Stomp” becomes not just confirmed, but painfully obvious.

There is a brand new dance
makes you wanna lose your pants
called the Duckworth Stomp
and they’re doing it down in an Eastern town
right out in Duckworth Street

If the name still required any further clarification, the hook goes on to describe the “dance going down in St. John’s that makes me feel like coming on“. Because after all,
there ain’t nothing better than doing the Duckworth Stomp.

How to do the Duckworth Stomp remains a mystery throughout the vague party canticle. The sexual overtones of losing your pants and “coming on” kind of incites the unsettling image of lecherous nude folk running amok in middle of Duckworth Street in the 1970s, which may not be a much of a stretch. If you take the stomping part literally you might think more of the historic street fighting district of George Street, St. John’s record-holding strip of too many bars. Perhaps this song was some guys from Ontario getting their St. John’s street names mixed up? After all, you can venture to George Street on any given night and be sure to find many inebriated folk who wouldn’t be able to tell you what street they’re on.

I’d love to know if there was a particular incident that inspired the “Duckworth Stomp”. Thundermug’s rigorous Canadian tour schedule likely landed them in the capital city numerous times throughout their six years on the road. St. John’s had notoriously lively crowds for national scale bands because the people of the city didn’t get visits from the likes of Deep Purple until 30 or so years passed their prime. Any thirst for large and live rock n’ roll was quenched primarily by Canadian bands that were willing to make the stop. But did something transpire to wow Thundermug into writing such a specific anthem? Did a gaggle of crazed rock n’ roll fans take to the streets after a second Thundermug encore and burn cars in a fit of stark raving hard rock hysteria?

We’ll keep doing our best to find out.

So, once your done “Doin’ The Newfie Stomp” at your next Newfoundland wedding, you can now suggest the DJ follows it up with a second questionable stomp thanks to your friends Thundermug. Lets just hope your Uncle Bill doesn’t lose his pants and make the whole thing weird.

– Secret Selector

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