One of Carl Wilson’s inspired contributions to the Beach Boys, lead singer Blondie Chaplin and percussionist Ricky Fataar form the core of this under recognized group. The album was recorded for the Beach Boys’ own Brother Records in 1970.
Before this record they were The Flames and fairly popular in South Africa. They even released six records before being spotted by Al Jardine and Carl Wilson in a UK nightclub. The band moved to California, changed their name to The Flame (avoiding confusion with James Brown’s Famous Flames), and recorded this solid but long neglected record. After this record, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin would join with the Beach Boys for Carl & The Passions “So Tough” and Holland, Fataar going on to become one of the Rutles (the awesome mock Beatles act). Chaplin would later perform with the Band, the Byrds, and the Stones.
“See The Light” kicks it off high — this track even had enough to scrape the national charts. “Make it Easy Baby” and “Hey Lord” propel the album’s sensitive hard-rock mood with relentless multi-tracked guitar riffing. “Lady” reveals a Harry Nilsson influence and “Don’t Worry Bill” dives heavily into Abbey Road territory. But on tracks like “Get Your Mind Made Up” and “Highs and Lows” you can hear similarities to artists as diverse as Frank Zappa and Ernie Graham.
Unbelievably, the Flame recorded a follow-up record that has never been released. Both records are in desperate need of a reissue. The currently available Fallout CD is a blatant act of piracy and should be avoided at all costs. Why the Flame recorded such pure-hearted kick ass classic rock that hasn’t been reissued and never gets an ounce of airplay evades me. words/ b mcgrath
MP3: The Flames :: Highs And Lows