Thursday, February 9, 2012


Slightly over a gazillion years ago, I saw the Beach Boys live for the first time. While spending one of my earliest concert experiences trying to ignore the presence of Mike "Total Tool" Love, I noticed two band members that I didn't recognize, and who were definitely not Wilsons. In the ensuing months I found out that their names were Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin, and they were from South Africa. That's all I knew. The two of them were filed in the "find out later" part of my brain,...for decades. Today I was going for a daily 45 fix (at Derek's Daily 45 of all places) and ran into a thing on The Flames (who later dropped the "s" and became the Flame), the band that Fataar and Chaplin were in, before their brief stints with the Beach Boys.

The Flames 1965

In a nutshell: Their story began in South Africa in the mid-60's, where they were apparently a popular act. After releasing several albums they went to London, for a shot at the big time. While there they were "discovered" by Al Jardine and Carl Wilson, who were on tour with the Beach Boys. They were convinced to move to California, and did some recording for the Beach Boys new imprint, Brother Records, with Carl Wilson producing. The record remained in the can until the late seventies. From what I can gather, it's now out of print, but seems to be available on expensive dubious (possibly unlicensed) reissues. Haven't really looked into what happened regarding the Flame break up and how Fataar and Chaplin ended up with the Beach Boys. I'll get to that part of the story in another couple decades. For now I'm just completely amazed that there hasn't been an immense stink made about this band. While it's not entirely my thing, and might not be yours, you have to cop to the quality. These sound a lot like the late 60's Beatles, a lot. Just listen, and then go figure.

The Flames - See The Light mp3 at Raven Sings the Blues
The Flames - See The Light (streaming) at Derek's Daily 45
The Flames - Get Your Mind Made Up at The Rising Storm*
The Flames - Highs and Lows mp3 at The Rising Storm*
The Flames - Don't Worry Bill (streaming) at YouTube
*Note: The Rising Storm links might be gone quick. I seem to remember they don't see this as helping to send traffic to their site. But it is a great site. If the links do go dead, start at their home page. There's a lot of good stuff over there.
The Flame - LP Review and profile at Red Telephone
The Flames Unofficial site
The Flames at Wikipedia

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