I can make you hold on…

Sharon+Tandy+Sharon+TAs a supposedly reputable blogger of a number of years’ standing, I should probably be agonising over my Records of the Year list and frantically hoovering up all the crucial records that other bloggers are pumping up.

I’m not, as you’ll have guessed.

Actually, if I’m honest 2013 has been a year in which I’ve been crate-digging (virtually) more than usual, and quite apart from all the Cumbia and Chicha I’ve ingested over the year, I’ve also done a load of Freakbeat.

Lucky Seven – Sharon Tandy & the Fleur de Lys

Previously, the only Fleur de Lys track I really knew was the rather silly Gong with the Luminous Nose, which is kind of OK, but you’d have to say probably sounded a lot better back in the day. Got hold of the fabulous “Reflections” compilation a while back though, which is a complete game-changer, packed full as it is with loud mod-ish pop and punctuated enthusiastically by rasping guitar breaks and punchy drums.

Apparently they had no hits at the time, and were not helped by an almost constantly fluid line up, members coming and going with disorienting speed; nor were they helped by the fact that they released records under a number of different pseudonyms, including Rupert’s People, Shyster and Chocolate Frog (!)

The added breadth to the Fleur de Lys story, though is the dazzling string of records they released with South African singer Sharon Tandy. If it’s a surprise that the Lys (can I do that?) never made it “big”, the fact that Sharon Tandy is pretty much unknown today is an absolute mystery to me. With her smoky voice, cautious charm in front of the camera and ability to tackle the really ballsy material that singer Tony Head handed over to her, what could go wrong?

Disturbingly, nothing – apparently, nobody was that fussed. Utterly baffling…

Watch this and marvel at the calm, and the storm… (Warning, the first five seconds contain images of Dave Lee Travis…)

(I’m particularly fond of the footage behind the Psychedelic FX of Sharon counting herself in after the guitar break…)

Also, there’s this clip of Take Another Little Piece of my Heart followed by Uptight filmed at the Speakeasy Club in 1968. Again, massive, surely…

So anyway, here, a brief tribute to Sharon Tandy and her epic backing band:

Lucky Seven – Sharon Tandy & the Fleur de Lys

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