First, a programming note.
Some time in the last week, due to the programming vagaries of WordPress, the mobile version of this site suddenly stopped displaying images. It took a while to figure out why this was happening, and unfortunately – despite a couple of days of brainstorming – I was unable to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of the problem.
I eventually switched themes, and finally shut off the mobile side of the blog, which automatically reformats the blog to make it easier to read on your phone or tablet. You will still be able to see Iron Leg, but you may have to do some resizing to maximize your reading experience.
I wish there was another way to deal with it right now, but there is not.
That said, we were greeted with the sad news a few weeks back of the death of Sharon Tandy at the age of 71.
Fans of the freakbeat sound will be well acquainted with her all time classic ‘Hold On’, on which she was backed (as on several other 45s) by the mighty Les Fleur de Lys.
Though I have ‘Hold On’, and it will most certainly be featured in this space some time in the future, it is a different record that I offer up today.
I have known of ‘Hold On’for the better part of 30 years, but it was only recently that I first heard Tandy’s 1967 version of Ruby and the Romantics 1963 mega-hit ‘Our Day Will Come’.
Tandy, who was born in South Africa but had the bulk of her success in the UK, was possessed of a soulful voice and delivery, which allowed her records to move back and forth stylistically between hard edged freakbeat and blue-eyed soul (dig her version of ‘Stay With Me Baby’). With her perfect Mod girl looks, and her powerful chops, it’s a wonder that she wasn’t a much bigger star.
Her version of ‘Our Day Will Come’ is a singularly remarkable record.
It is rare to hear an artist take a very well known song and rebuild it in such a way that its presentation is altogether fresh and surprisingly new. Tandy’s ‘Our Day Will Come’ is such a record.
The first time I heard it, it sounded like an outtake from a Big Star session, recorded sometime in the early 70s. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that she had recorded it – backed once again by Les Fleur de Lys – and released it in 1967!
The guitar opening sounds like the kind of thing that Chilton and friends were hearing on ‘Abbey Road’ and reworking in Memphis. Bryn Haworth’s guitar chords – backed by Hammond organ – are very heavy indeed, and when Tandy’s sultry voice joins the proceedings, floating over a storming backbeat, it all comes together.
The arrangement is credited to Ian Green, a UK-based arranger who was married to soul singer Rosetta Hightower, and also worked with Thunderclap Newman among others.
It seems almost impossible – even considering how thick the charts were with genius – that this record wasn’t a hit.
Unlike ‘Hold On’ it never received a US release, and as far as I can tell it had no effect whatsoever on the UK charts.
You just have to sit back, let the sounds wash over you and marvel at how often great stuff like this ended up in the margins.
It’s a mindblower, and I hope you dig it as much as I do.
See you next week.