The Flames

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The Flames
OriginDurban
GenresRock
Baroque pop
Pop rock
Psychedelic pop
Psychedelic rock
Years active1963–1970, 2000, 2011
Associated actsThe Beach Boys
Past membersThe Classic Line-up
Steve Fataar (1963–1970, 2000, 2011)
Brother Fataar (1963–1970)
Ricky Fataar (1963 or 1964–1970, 2000, 2011)
Blondie Chaplin (1967–1970, 2000, 2011)
Other members
George Faber (1963–1963 or 1964)
Eugene Champion (1963–1964)
Edries Fredericks (1964–1967)
Mitchell "Baby" Duval (1967)

The Flames was a musical rock group from Durban in South Africa.[1] The Flames would gig their way across London in the late 1960s meeting Brian Jones, Keith Moon, Keith Richards, Jerry Garcia, Miles Davis and Carl Wilson. They would later relocate to Los Angeles to record an album for the Beach Boys record label Brother, changing their name to the Flame.[2]

Biography[edit]

The Beginning of The Flames[edit]

Prior to the forming of the band, Steve Fataar would enter talent contests at the Admiral hotel and do well. According to a friend of his, "He continued entering these contests which put his mother in bit of a bother as she had to drive him there. I recall that on one occasion, Steve had heard a song by Cliff Richard just once – I’m not sure whether it was “Gee Whiz It’s You” or “I’m looking Out The Window”. I knew the song and taught it to him. That night he sang it at the talent contest and won." Eventually, Steve's brother, Edries Fataar, would join him.[3]

The Flames formally formed in 1963 by guitarist Steve Fataar, bassist Brother Fataar (real name Edries Fataar), with drummer George Faber, and guitarist Eugene Champion. Before a gig in 1964, Faber withdrew. The urgent need of a drummer was resolved with Ricky Fataar.

Steve's friend adds, "This became the line-up for the next year or so. The group concentrated on instrumentals doing covers of The Shadows’ and The Ventures’ material. Steve was the main vocalist doing most of the singing with Eugene and Brother providing harmonies. Eugene and Brother did the occasional song including “Baby My Heart”, a song recorded by The Crickets and The Shadows.

During this time a group of teenagers including members of The Flames, Derrick McDonald, myself and others formed an organisation called The Ambassadors. As part of the group’s charity fund-raising activities, a number of concerts and dances were run at The St Theresa’s Community Centre Hall and then at other places including the Effingham Road Hall. The Flames were always part of these, often being the headlining act. (Other popular groups that also performed at some of these shows were Gene Rockwell and The Falcons and The Jets.)

There was a lot of camaraderie among the groups of the day and members of The Flames and The Jets, in particular, were very close. Essop Ganie and The Rebels were another group with which The Flames shared a friendly rivalry."

Because of work commitments, Eugene Champion decided to leave the group. He was replaced by Edries Fredericks. Fredericks' vocal abilities led the band to include more vocalization. "Edries had a very soulful sound and this began the transformation within the group. We began importing records from overseas and also gained access to some recordings by the early soul singers and groups including Marvin Gaye, Solomon Burke and James Brown through friends."[3]

The Edries Fredericks Era[edit]

In early 1963, the group signed a recording contract with Trutone Records and made their first recording at a studio in Durban run by John and Margaret Cahill. Two songs were recorded; “I Saw Her Standing There”, sometimes referred to as “Just Seventeen”, and “Misery”. Trutone decided not to release it, but heavily promoted The Meteors’ version of “I Saw Her Standing There”, which became a huge hit in South Africa.

In April, the group traveled to Johannesburg to record four tracks. The first release from this recording session consisted of two instrumentals, "Mr. Moto" and "Dixie" on the Rave label. Mr. Moto premiered on Eric Egan’s morning program during the new releases segment between 7:00 and 7:15. The second single was released soon after with "Maniac" and "Modern Casanova". The label showed the artists as Steve and The Flames as Steve sang lead on both songs. In December of that year, The Flames toured Port Elizabeth. After the gigs, The Flames drove to Johannesburg to record their first album.

The band's first album was recorded over 3 days with Art Heatley as producer and Dave Erbstoesser as the sound engineer. "White Cliffs of Dover" was the song that the band thought would be the hit from the album. The only track from this album to get any air play on the radio was "Pretty Woman". It was played a few times by Peter Lotus on the evening music show. This album has been out of print but has been re-issued by Fresh Music as a part of a CD collection.

1964 was the year that the group really started to gel into that cohesive soulful group and to make great strides on the national scene. It was the year that they won The Battle of The Bands contest and Ricky was awarded the Best Drummer title. The group toured throughout the country and began to establish their popularity in the Cape, making two tours to Cape Town  performing at The Luxarama, as well as touring the Eastern Cape with shows in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and East London.

The home scene was not forgotten with the group performing at places such as Stanger, Verulem, Tongaat, Pietermaritzburg and Richmond.While songs by The Beatles featured prominently in their repertoire, The Flames showed their versatility by including songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding and the British stars such as The Fortunes. Their popularity increased and more regular gigs came up with regular performances at Upstairs at the Downstairs and later at the Alfresco.

Although the group was very popular and had many bookings, the earnings were not good and expenses to be met to keep the group’s instrumentation modern and up-to-date. Edries Fredericks was in a serious relationship and became concerned that he would not be able to afford to provide for a family. He began to look for something that would provide a regular decent income and decided to leave the group.[3]

The Blondie Chaplin Era[edit]

Mitchell "Baby" Duval briefly replaced Edries Fredericks in 1967. In his short tenure in the band, he featured on a little of the band's second album, That's Enough.Blondie Chaplin, a young singer making a name for himself as a member of the group The Kittens, replaced Duval in the band.

To quote Steve's friend, "Blondie brought another dimension to the group with his brand of soulful singing. He also developed into a great guitarist who would share the lead guitar work with Steve.

It was this new line-up that recorded the Soul albums which were to produce the iconic Flames’ song "For Your Precious Love" featuring the famous introduction by Steve and the fabulous singing of the young Blondie. The song had been part of the group’s repertoire since they heard Oscar Tony Jr. in 1967."

According to Steve Fataar, "At the time of recording Burning Soul!, we were a tight band that had been performing continuously, so the recordings were pretty much live. They were done on a four-track analogue recorder and the sessions were quite cheerful, confident and sans stress. Essentially it was a band adventure. Soulfire was recorded similarly but there was more overdubs and brass tracking added,” he says. “All this was a learning curve and rather exciting — consider that Ricky and Blondie were only 14 and 15 years old at this time."[2]

Material for a live album was recorded at the Al Fresco in Durban by Graham Beggs. The recordings weren't released and currently hasn't located, though they're probably in the hands of Graham Beggs.

In 1965, The Flames entertained the idea of trying their luck overseas.  It didn't work out then, but the idea never left them. It seemed as if there was no real future for the group because they couldn't get the exposure that other groups seemed to be getting. This influenced them to perform in a number of venues in London and also record a song called "Streamliner". In 1969,[2] their performances gained the attention of The Beach Boys (Particularly Carl Wilson and Al Jardine)[4] and The Bee Gees.

The Beach Boys made The Flames an offer to join their Brother label and move to America; which they did. A decision was made to change the name of the group to The Flame to avoid confusion with another band. A self titled album was released in 1970.[3] It was the first ever rock album recorded in quadraphonic sound[4] and the only non-Beach Boys album on the Brother records label. It was produced by Carl Wilson.[5] One track, "See The Light" reached the Billboard Top 100. The group developed quite a following as they performed at different venues mainly in the West Coast. The group at one point, paid a visit to South Africa and performed in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

A second album was recorded but was never released. Attempts have been made, and are still being made, to finally release this album.

Here is a listing of the tracks that were recorded for this album:

  1. Mother Of The Century
  2. Sigh Baby Sigh
  3. High Overhead
  4. Sunny Skies
  5. Thank Someone
  6. Seven Sisters
  7. Have You Ever Been Happy
  8. Henry's Son
  9. Sweet Jane
  10. I'm A Man (Outtake)
  11. Hello! (Outtake)
  12. Everybody (Outtake)

Both Steve and Brother were unhappy with the situation in the US. Brother left to England and Steve to South Africa, thus disbanding the group essentially.[3]

Post-break up[edit]

In 1972, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin joined The Beach Boys.[6] Blondie’s role in The Beach Boys was as a bass guitarist and vocalist. He sang lead on a number of tracks on two Beach Boys studio albums and the live Beach Boys in Concert album. The track "Sail On, Sailor" is most associated with him. Blondie left the group in 1973 and worked with a number of other musicians, performing live as well as on records, including members of The Band and The Byrds. He also recorded two solo albums. Blondie’s talents came to the attention of The Rolling Stones and he's toured with the group for over 10 years, as well as appearing on some of their studio recordings. He is also a member of Skollie, a band formed with fellow South Africans, Keith Lentin on bass and Anton Fig.

Ricky remained with the Beach Boys for 3 years before branching out into other fields. In 1978, he featured in the film All You Need Is Cash, a spoof on the Beatles. He played the role Stig O’Hara, a character based on George Harrison.[3] He also featured on the Rutles' two albums. He became a producer and his production of Rene Geyer’s Say You Love Me, which also featured Blondie on guitar, was his first success in the role. He later emigrated to Australia where he produced a number of successful artists including Tim Finn, Kate Cebrano, Dragon, and Wendy Mathews. Ricky wrote the scores for a few Australian films. Ricky met Bonnie Raitt in 1978 and has since accompanied her on many tours as well as appearing on most of her later recordings.

Steve Fataar and Edries Fredericks later teamed up with some other artists to form In Formation.

In the 1970's,[4] almost all The Flames’ masters were destroyed in a fire. It is only through the restoration done by Bas Mollenkramer from physical records that we have almost the complete Flames recordings available.[3]

Brother Fataar died on September 10, 1978 and Baby Duval died on an unknown date.

The Flames have reunited a few times. In 2000 and 2011, the three surviving members of the band reunited for a few shows in South Africa.[7]

Steve Fataar died on January 18, 2020, having performed at a show hours before. It's believed he died in his sleep from lung complications.[8]

Members[edit]

  • Steve Fataar - lead guitar (1963-1970, 2000, 2011), lead vocals (confirmed 1963-1964, 1967-1970) (March 14, 1943[9]-January 18th, 2020 (aged 76)[10])
    • Featured on all recordings and the 2000 and 2011 reunions (1963-1970, 2000, 2011)
  • Edries "Brother" Fataar - bass (1963-1970) (July 6, 1945-September 10, 1978, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (aged 33))[11]
    • Featured on all recordings (1963-1970)
  • George Faber - drums (1963-1963 or 1964)
    • Possibly featured on early singles, but likely not (1963)
      • There is some dispute over when Faber left the group. Some say it was in 1964, with George and Eugene Champion leaving in a similar time frame. Other sources say he left in 1963. According to Steve's friend, the lineup with Eugene Champion and Ricky Fataar lasted about a year.[12]
  • Eugene Champion - rhythm guitar (1963-1964)
    • Possibly featured on early singles (1963-1964)
  • Ricky Fataar - drums (1963 or 1964-1970, 2000, 2011) (September 5, 1952-)
    • Featured on all albums, most or all singles (all singles from 1964), and the 2000 and 2011 reunions (1964-1970, 2000, 2011)
  • Edries Fredericks - rhythm guitar, lead vocals (1964-1967)
    • Featured on most singles (all singles from 1964) and Ummm! Ummm! Oh Yeah!!! (1964-1967)
  • Mitchell "Baby" Duval - rhythm guitar (1967) (deceased)[11]
    • Featured on some of That's Enough (1967)
  • Blondie Chaplin - rhythm guitar, lead vocals (1967-1970, 2000, 2011) (July 7, 1951-)
    • Featured from That's Enough to The Flame and the 2000 and 2011 reunions (1967-1970, 2000, 2011)
Member Timeline 1963 1963-64 1964-67 1967 1967-70 2000, 2011 Reunions
Steve Fataar lead guitar,

lead vocals

lead guitar,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals

lead guitar,

backing vocals,

lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

lead guitar,

lead vocals,

backing vocals

lead guitar,

backing vocals,

lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

Edries "Brother" Fataar bass,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

bass,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals

bass,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

bass,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals

George Faber drums
Eugene Champion rhythm guitar,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

rhythm guitar,

backing vocals,

occasional lead vocals

Ricky Fataar drums drums,

backing vocals, occasional lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

Edries Fredericks rhythm guitar,

lead vocals,

backing vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

Mitchell "Baby" Duval rhythm guitar,

backing vocals, lead vocals (presumed, not confirmed)[13]

Blondie Chaplin rhythm guitar,

lead vocals,

backing vocals

rhythm guitar,

lead vocals,

backing vocals (presumed, not confirmed)

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "Dixie" b/w "Mr. Moto" (Rave 45 R219) (1963)
  • "Maniac" b/w "Modern Casanova" (Rave 45 R220) (1963)
    • Note: Credited to "Steve & the Flames"
  • "Is It You" b/w "Nobody Tells Me (What To Do)" (Rave 45 R239) (1964)
  • "One Of These Days" b/w "Don't Play That Song" (Rave 45 R276) (July 1965)
  • "Like A Baby" b/w "Glory Of Love" (Rave R285) (August 1966)
  • "He'll Only Hurt You" b/w "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" (Rave R286) (August 1966)
    • Note: Credited to "Zane Adams & the Flames"
  • "If You Need Me" b/w "You Better Move On" (Rave R292) (February 1967)
  • "Respect" b/w "Down In The Valley" (Rave R295) (March 1967)
  • "Streamliner" b/w "Follow the Sun" (1968)
    • Note: "Follow the Sun" was recorded by The Several. The Flames were not featured on its recording.
  • "Lost" b/w "Restless" (Rave R301) (April 1968)
  • "For Your Precious Love" b/w "A Place In The Sun" (Rave R307) (August 1968)
  • "Don't Make Your Children Pay" b/w "Purple Haze" (Rave R309) (September 1968)
  • "Can't Help Myself" b/w "Purple Raindrops" (Rave R310) (September 1968)
  • "Tell It Like It Is" b/w "Don't Fight It" (Trutone TOS539) (April 1969)
  • "See The Light" b/w "Get Your Mind Made Up" (Brother 45-3500) (October 1970)
  • "Another Day Like Heaven" b/w "I'm So Happy" (Brother D45-3501) (January 1971)
  • "If You Need Me" b/w "You Got It Made" (Rave TOS958) (January 1974)[14]

In the recording session that produced "Nobody" and "Is It You?" two other tracks were recorded, "Boys" and "Claudette". According to Rob Allingham from Gallos in 2002, he found the tracks and was intending to release them. They were included on a re-release of Ummm! Ummm! Oh Yeah!!!.[3]

Studio Albums[edit]

  • Ummm! Ummm! Oh Yeah!!! (1965)
    • Steve Fataar - guitar
    • Brother Fataar - bass
    • Ricky Fataar - drums
    • Edries Fredericks - guitar[15]
  • That's Enough (1967)
    • Steve Fataar - guitar
    • Brother Fataar - bass
    • Ricky Fataar - drums
    • Blondie Chaplin - guitar[16]
    • Baby Duval - guitar
      • It was speculated if Duval ever appeared on a recording. However, Steve Fataar confirmed that he did on some of this album.
  • Burning Soul! (1967)
    • Steve Fataar - guitar
    • Brother Fataar - bass
    • Ricky Fataar - drums
    • Blondie Chaplin - guitar
  • Soulfire!! (1968)
    • Steve Fataar - guitar
    • Brother Fataar - bass
    • Ricky Fataar - drums
    • Blondie Chaplin - guitar
  • The Flame (1970)
    • Steve Fataar - guitar
    • Brother Fataar - bass
    • Ricky Fataar - drums
    • Blondie Chaplin - guitar

Backing Albums[edit]

  • Soul Meeting!! (1968)
    • The Flames backed Una Valli, though the band only featured on six of the album's twelve songs.

Compilation Albums[17][edit]

  • The Best Of The Flames (1969)
  • Ball of Flames (1970)
  • The Best Of The Flames (1994)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Leon. "The Flames". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Reigniting the Flames". The Mail & Guardian. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Flames". www.thekinseyreport.com. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "The Flames - Burning Soul! & Soulfire!!". Fresh Music. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  5. ^ The Flames – Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group | Soul Safari
  6. ^ Bush, John. "The Beach Boys". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  7. ^ says, K. J. "Flames Reunion Show! « Cabin Essence Blog". Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ "Tributes pour in for SA music legend, Steve Fataar". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Blondie Chaplin". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Renowned SA musician Steve Fataar has died". TimesLIVE. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  11. ^ a b "THE FLAME BIOGRAPHY". Music Minder. Archived from the original on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  12. ^ "The Flames". www.thekinseyreport.com. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  13. ^ "South Africa's Rock Legends - The Flames". www.rock.co.za. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  14. ^ "the Flames website". www.mollenkramer.nl. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  15. ^ link, Get; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; Email; Apps, Other. "The Flames - Ummm! Ummm! Oh Yeah!!! (1965) [South Africa, Beat/Pop Rock]". Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  16. ^ link, Get; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; Email; Apps, Other. "The Flames - That's Enough (1967) [South Africa, Beat/Pop Rock]". Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  17. ^ "The Flames (6)". Discogs. Retrieved 30 April 2020.