Monday, December 8, 2008

The Flame - See The Light

(Brother, 1970)

In 1969, the Beach Boys signed up these South African sharpies and brought ’em over to the U.S. to record for the band’s new Brother label. A Carl Wilson-produced album later, guitarist Blondie Chaplin and drummer Ricky Fataar (a.k.a. Stig O’Hara) would join up with Da Boys themselves and play on the So Tough, Holland, and In Concert records, and this single does a fine job of showing why the flailing Beach Boys would be interested in enlisting such tuff-rockin’ pals in a bid for continued credibility. “See the Light” and “Get Your Mind Made Up” are both a slightly funkier take on the Badfinger success formula, and their hooky, harmony-spanked groove-pop would sit well among the best of albums like Straight Up and No Dice. The Beach Boys had hinted at a similar direction on “It’s About Time” and “Got to Know the Woman,” but the Flame sounds far more effortless and seamless in its stinging boogie here, and it’s fairly clear that the successful rockers of So Tough and Holland – some of which were actually written by the new members – owed plenty to the introduction of Chaplin-Fataar. Unfortunate that excellent songs such as these two end up getting footnoted due to the sexy Wilson connection; a reissue and wider objective (re-) appraisal is in order. Rhino…?

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