Tell you straight – you’re never gonna get enough time

Sharon_Tandy_small(Went to see the charming Courtney Barnett last week and I mean to write about it… very soon… but in the meantime. I don’t want to let this go by unmarked…)

Sharon Tandy, freakbeat / yeh-yeh queen of the mod sixties, passed away last week, after a long illness. Really, really sad news – another voice that somehow got away. I wrote some stuff about her about a year ago when I was first arrested by her and the string of blistering records she made with the Fleur de Lys between ’67 and ’69. But there’s some rather nice lines put together by Alec Palao on the Ace Records site which you should certainly read.

A quick skim through YouTube will get you familiar with the basic stuff, but if you can’t be bothered, here’s the searing “Gotta Get Enough Time” from that period


and just to balance things out a little, here’s one from the other drawer, “One Way Street”


Beautiful, ballsy and damn sexy…

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