DD Fraser & The Stormy Clovers – Part 1


By DrHGuy

My interest in the Stormy Clovers, the first band to play Leonard Cohen’s songs (For more on the Stormy Clovers, see Introducing The Stormy Clovers – And Their Songwriter, Leonard Cohen) and Video: Earliest Recording Of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne – The Stormy Clovers 1966), led me to ask David Fougere, who, then known as DD Fraser, was the band’s bass player in the sixties, if he would participate in a Q&A.

David, as his biography points out, has led a hectically eclectic life with stints as a teacher, truck driver, maintenance man, repairman, writer, and musician. He is currently living in Guatemala. My hope was to post a first hand account that would expand the meager knowledge of a significant, dynamic time and place in the evolution of pop music.

David agreed but not only responded to the queries I submitted but did so in the form of a personal narrative that is by turns raucously funny, heartachingly tragic, mysterious, and provocative. Previously unpublished information is revealed, names are named – and dropped, accomplishments and sins are confessed. Leonard Cohen and Marianne play major but not dominant roles.

Today’s installment, the first of a series, deals with DD Fraser’s invitation to join the Stormy Clovers, his stint with them, and his inglorious discharge from the band.

All Installments:

  • DD Fraser & The Stormy Clovers – Part 1
  • DD Fraser & The Stormy Clovers – Part 2
  • DD Fraser & The Stormy Clovers – Part 3: Leonard Cohen, Marianne, And More

DD Fraser & The Stormy Clovers – Part 1
By David Fougere

My name is David Fougere, but 51 years ago I was known as DD Fraser. DD was my nickname from childhood. That changed to Deed, which is what my family and close friends call me today. The family surname was Fougere (meaning fern) the legacy of our paternal grandfather from Cape Breton Island. Not wanting to live with a name that no one could pronounce or spell, my father wisely assimilated into the English community by assuming the name Fraser. However my birth certificate always remained David Fougere.

I was loading trucks at the Canadian Pacific Railway depot in Galt, Ontario in 1965. Ray Perdue called me one day:

“We want you to come to Toronto and join the band.”

“Doing what?”

“Playing the bass.”

“I don’t know how to play the bass.”

‘”We’ll teach you.”

Ray was one of the most intelligent, talented, sarcastic and funny characters that ever roamed the earth. His ambition, as stated in the high school year book was “to make Duane Eddy look like a bum.” (For you youngsters, Duane was a hit-making guitar player in the late 1950s. He was responsible, for example, for the Peter Gunn theme.)

Ray admired Mark Twain and Chet Atkins. His favourite band was Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods (mine, too). He was a natural musician. His father, Jack, played saxophone in the John Kostigian Orchestra, the last big band in Ontario. They played regularly at Leisure Lodge in Preston until the club burned down in 1980.

When I was the editor of the high school student newspaper, Ray brought me a page that he’d illustrated with suggestions for a school flag. The only one I remember clearly is: “a large brown tongue licking a big black boot” with the school motto ‘Per Ardua Scientia’ (the principal’s pride and joy) inscribed below.

I was new in the editing business, didn’t know about censorship or the need to protect sources. I thought we had been and were living in a free country with free speech and all that stuff. You could call me Captain Naive.

I had to show all proposed articles to the principal. He was a World War II guy with advanced humour impairment. He looked at Ray’s flags and turned purple with rage.

“Who did this?” he demanded.

“Well … uh … you see .. It was like this … I was walking down the hall … and … I guess … somebody .. must have shoved it .. in my back pocket” (best I could do on short notice).


That article never got fed through the Gestetner.1 Too bad … Mad magazine would have loved it.


Ray Perdue, Jim Smith, Jack Mowbray, and ‘Pat’ Patterson were a band playing hit parade tunes on the bar circuit in Ontario. Ray played lead guitar and Jack, rhythm guitar. Pat was the drummer, and Jim played bass. Ray met Susan Jains, and she joined the band. These five were the first Stormy Clovers band. They recorded some of the mp3 demos on the Stormy Clovers Facebook page. I don’t know how long they worked together before breaking up. Jack and Jim left the band. That’s when Ray called me.


Two weeks after that phone call Ray, Pat and I were playing afternoon shows in the Zanzibar Tavern on Yonge Street.2

I had big blisters on the index and middle fingers of my right hand from the thick bass strings. We played Big Boss Man, Peepin and Hidin, High Heel Sneakers, Stormy Monday – all blues tunes because that was all I could play.

We backed up a stripper named Billy Hall. Billy was an elegant stripper of the Gypsy Rose Lee school – all gowns and tassels. She wanted Pat to hit the cymbal when she snapped her garter. She’d look over her shoulder at him when the time was right. He always missed his cue and played some kind of crash, bang … thud.

In one of the tunes (Caravan), Pat played an extended drum solo. Ray and I would leave the stage. The deal was that Pat would give us a sign when he wanted us to come back. Of course we ignored the signal until he was exhausted and drenched in sweat. Then we’d come back on stage smiling as if everything was all right.

This was our gig to pay the rent while we rehearsed nights and weekends to develop the Stormy Clovers’ repertoire. We rented a rehearsal space near the corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets. We wanted thirty songs to begin with.

The name of the band came from a dream that Pat had wherein he was being assailed by clovers in a high wind. (‘The Clovers’ is the name of an American rhythm and blues band. Remember Love Potion No. 9?)

After we’d been performing for a while in Toronto and Montreal we were joined by Burt Schroeder and Marc Ranger who handled the equipment and Christopher Nutter who often played oboe with us. Three very good friends.


We played at The Penny Farthing coffee house on Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. (A few years before this my buddy Willie and I used to drive 60 miles to Yorkville in my ’52 Austin to hear people like Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, and Carolyn Hester. Once we saw Bill Cosby perform. We thought it was the coolest place in the world.) In the late 1960s Yorkville was folk music and hippie heaven.

The Stormy Clovers were too old to be hippies and too young to be beatniks, but it was a vibrant time to be in the music business. There were many coffee houses with live music, and the people came to listen. Talking during a performance would get you in trouble with other members of the audience. Clubs in which people yell at each other over volume levels that damage their hearing had not been invented yet.3

There was as much bad music as good: performing music stoned, like piloting an airliner stoned, rarely works out well. But one thing makes me nostalgic for the sixties, the one great and glorious thing – in the entire world there was no rap music.

Yorkville today is a very expensive shopping district. I can find no trace of the Penny Farthing but there is a post (a historical marker) to show where The Riverboat Cafe used to be. There Ritchie Havens sang, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, and Joni Mitchell. I regret that I never got to meet Joni. She has given us a lifetime of inspiration and beauty.

We stayed at the Westmorland Hotel on Jarvis Street south of Carlton. That building too is long gone.

Westmorland’s not the best hotel in town
still it ain’t by far the worst one I’ve found
When I stayed there life was flowers and rain
You were young and you fell for my game
Westmorland, Westmorland, Westmorland Hotel

I said I love another but she’s far away
If you and I are lovers it’s just for today
But I felt so heavy when we said farewell
We said our goodbye in the Westmorland Hotel
Westmorland, Westmorland, Westmorland Hotel

The days have passed and the years have flown
Now these memories are all that I own
And I can’t keep from wondering if you are well
And if you remember the Westmorland Hotel
Westmorland, Westmorland, Westmorland Hotel

And if I didn’t love you I treated you well
Till we said goodbye in the Westmorland Hotel
Westmorland, Westmorland, Westmorland Hotel

In Montreal we played at The Venus de Milo Lounge and at the New Penelope. We stayed in a rooming house on the Rue St Famille (near Sherbrooke Street) run by a wonderful woman – Mrs. Evelyn Gordon.

The Mothers of Invention came to town to play at the New Penelope, and they too stayed at Mrs Gordon’s rooming house. One of the Mothers invented a hole in the thin wall with a pocket knife much to the consternation of the young woman in the next room. Mrs. Gordon was not amused.

The man pleaded innocent on the grounds that he was drunk and ordinarily would never do such a thing.

One day in the rooming house I answered a knock on my door. A girl was there asking for someone. She spoke in French and I did not understand most of it. I tried to be helpful. Maybe that room? Or that one? After checking down the hall she came back and asked if she could write a note.

“Sure. Sit there to write. Here’s some paper and a pen.” She wrote several pages, handed them to me, and left.

“Merci de m’avoir accorde … your little table at which to write. You are very tired right now and you need to rest. You must not drink coffee. Especially not coffee. Just rest my dear and you will see everything will work out for the best. Do not try to find me because I will not be here for at least a month ….”

There was much more. My past, present and future, and it was signed….from “une jeune fille qui t’aime de tout sa cœur”

I never saw her again.

My nephew Ryan tells a good story about a name dropper from Ethiopia. His claim to fame was that his cousin spilled soup on Haile Selassie. In that spirit here is a list of interesting and talented people we met on the coffee house circuit: Amos Garrett, Garth Hudson, Arlo Guthrie, Bill Hawkins, David Wiffen, Brent Titcomb, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Bruce Cockburn, Peter Hodgson (who later would marry Susan), D.C.Thomas, Jesse Winchester, Elise Weinberg, Adrienne Clarkson, and Neil Young.

Neil was hunting a job. We turned him down. He was forced to join Buffalo Springfield and after that Crosby, Stills and Nash. It is good that we didn’t get in his way.

After three years I left the band. More accurately, the band left me. I was fired, and probably for good enough reasons. I remember showing up stoned to a gig at Expo 67. Ray said it was the worst playing he had ever heard.

We played the last song of the last set in the Venus de Milo lounge and climbed the stairs to the dressing room. I can’t remember anything that we said.

Hey. That’s no way

Ray, then Susan, then Pat… left to go home.

to say

I had tears in my eyes. I could not believe what was happening. Marc Ranger watched silently. I was always grateful to him for being there.


I don’t know what happened in the band after that. I was catching chickens on the night shift in St Lin des Laurentides, Quebec.

Credit Due Department: The photo of the Stormy Clovers in front of the Penny Farthing is from Before the Gold Rush by Nicholas Jennings. Penguin Canada 1997.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted May 1, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.


  1. A primitive hand cranked copying machine – our printer []
  2. DrHGuy Note: Yongue Street was the center of Toronto’s music scene in the 1960s with performers like Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell – and the Stormy Clovers appearing regularly in the clubs. Yonge Street was one of the first places the genres of rock & roll and folk music merged and where rock & roll bands could be found on the same bill as folk singes. Eventually, however, successful Toronto musicians inevitably outgrew Toronto, most migrating to the U.S. An interactive site, Yonge Street Rock and Roll Stories, offers information about and graphics describing the era. []
  3. Jerimiah McCaw Budnark: “Never went over to Charlie Brown’s, ’bout block south of the Penny Farthing on Cumberland, didja? Volume was so loud you had to go in while the band was playing; if they started up while you were in front of them, it’d knock you over!” []

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