Thursday, May 27, 2010

Faron's Flamingos 1963 - See If She Cares

Faron's Flamingos was one of the most promising Liverpool outfits never to have a hit, even locally, this despite the fact that its members came from and went to some successful and much better remembered bands. Originally linking up under the name the Ravens (aka Robin & the Ravens) in 1959, when few people over the age of 20 even in Liverpool were paying much attention to the city's music scene, their initial lineup was Nicky Crouch (guitar, vocals), Billy Jones (guitar, vocals), Eric London (bass), and Trevor Morais (drums). Bill Ruffley (aka Faron Ruffley), who had previously sung with the Tempest Tornados, came in as lead singer two years later -- it was legendary Liverpool DJ Bob Wooler who reportedly suggested Faron's Flamingos as a successor name in 1961.
Their lineup was in a state of flux almost from the get-go, with Eric London and Billy Jones exiting in 1962 -- Dave "Mushy" Cooper, late of the Liverpool group the Undertakers, succeeded London on bass and guitarist/singer Paddy Chambers joined soon after. The group had long held a reputation for a wild and exciting stage act, featuring comedic acrobatics by Faron and Morais, and they were sufficiently successful to tour France in 1962, before the Liverpool beat boom had even taken hold. By early 1963, their lineup had changed again, with Cooper exiting and Faron taking over on bass, in addition to being lead singer. The group somehow almost managed to miss the beat explosion that came up in the wake of the Beatles' initial success. At a point where any four guys with instruments were getting screened for studio auditions, Faron's Flamingos just got in under the wire, recording "Let's Stomp," "So Fine," and "Talkin' 'Bout You," all reasonably powerful, thumping pieces of rock & roll, for the multi-artist album This Is Merseybeat.

They also got a short-lived contract with Oriole Records, the largest independent label in England, and their August 1963 single of "Do You Love Me" was reputedly the first Liverpool 45-rpm release of a Motown song, but Oriole unwisely put it out initially as the B-side of "See If She Cares." Within a matter of days, Brian Poole -- allegedly coaxing the words out of Faron at a tavern -- had covered the same song (less competently) as part of Brian Poole & the Tremeloes for England's Decca Records, and scored a major hit (though even their rendition was eclipsed by the Dave Clark Five's version). The group's October 1963 release of "Shake Sherry" b/w "Give Me Time" did no better, and by the end of the following month, they'd decided collectively to pack it in. Faron and Paddy Chambers became members of the second lineup of the Big Three (another Liverpool group, much bigger, that also never made it), Nicky Crouch became a member of the Liverpool band the Mojos, and Trevor Morais achieved success with the jazz-based trio the Peddlers. Faron, who had been known in the local music press as "the Panda-footed Prince of Prance" for his flamboyance on-stage, re-formed a version of Faron's Flamingos in 1965 and made a career in France until the late '60s, and in subsequent years had a Liverpool version of the band that included ex-Undertakers saxman Brian Jones. Faron was later sidelined by serious health problems, though he remains well-liked in Liverpool and has performed on rare occasions. Faron's Flamingos remains one of the most intriguing footnotes of the Merseybeat boom. They enjoyed a very brief, faint flash of international recognition alongside the Undertakers, Lee Curtis & the All Stars, Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, etc., in the mid-'70s when -- amid the boom of interest in '60s sounds, including the early British beat era -- various singles and anthologies devoted to the Merseybeat scene were reissued, most notably British United Artists' double-LP Merseybeat 1962-1964. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

Faron's Flamingoes - Do You Love Me.

Faron's Flamingoes - Give me time.

Faron's Flamingoes - Lets stomp (live, with spoken intro) rare!!.

Faron's Flamingoes - Let's Stomp.

Faron's Flamingoes - Secret love.

Faron's Flamingoes - See If She Cares.

Faron's Flamingoes - Shake Sherry.

Faron's Flamingoes - So fine.

Faron's Flamingoes - Talk about you.
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