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

You got a grey suede coat and a soul on fire!


February already? What happened to January?

In truth, I’ve not listened to a lot of new music in the last month or so. Instead, I’ve been immersing myself in the exotic delights and fragrant scents of sixties freakbeat and British psychedelia. I’ve blown pretty much all of a month’s Emusic credits on the five volumes of the PerfumedGarden series of compilations and dipped into more than a few similar collections.

I gather “freakbeat” is a bit of modern invention and that the term didn’t exist in the mid-sixties at all, but it works as a description of a group of British bands, following in the Biff Bang Pow, Pop Art steps of the Who and the Creation.

Some great songs and sounds in there too, but unfortunately very little footage of the bands. I’ve dug up what I can, but in a couple of cases, you’ll have to make do with some quite imaginative collage work from the uploader…

Get with it!

The Smoke – “My Friend Jack”

(eats sugar lumps, apparently…)

Rupert’s People – “I Can Show You”

(massive Steve Marriott borrowing going on here, and super-rare apparently)

The Eyes – “All Rowed Out”

(probably my favourite “find” of the lot, can’t believe these lads didn’t get really, really famous…)

The Factory – “Try a Little Sunshine”

(not real footage of course, but strikes the right note…)

Les Fleur de Lys / Sharon Tandy – “Hold On”

(another really great band of the era, if you can overlook the occasional foray into ill-advised “whimsy”.)