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Poll
Question: Rate The Flame
5 - 18 (56.3%)
4 - 10 (31.3%)
3 - 3 (9.4%)
2 - 1 (3.1%)
1 - 0 (0%)
0 - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 30

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Author Topic: The Flame  (Read 10284 times)
Charles LePage @ ComicList
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« on: August 18, 2006, 04:17:11 PM »

Discuss, review and rate The Flame, released 1970.

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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2006, 04:30:41 PM »

Awesome ! This is probably one of the greatest rock-albums I have ever heard. The playing is superb and the voices do the rest to let you escape from the boring all-day-life and lead you to the great world of Rock'n'Roll.
carl's production is great too and the sound is just wonderful.
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2006, 12:57:53 AM »

I play the vinyl with device spatuizer (sp?) and it just is awsome. Very modern sounding, no wonder Ricky joined the Rutles VERY Beatlely but it has a little of its own special South African feel (ie the end of See The Light). GREAT
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2006, 08:28:39 AM »

Easiest 5 Ive voted for.

Great album, theres not one minute not to like.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2006, 05:39:50 PM »

A vastly underrated album. 5 all the way.
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2006, 09:02:01 AM »

I don't know if words can do justice to this album.  Aside from Pacific Ocean Blue, this is my favorite non-Beach Boys album of all time.

As a band, I think the Flame was absolutely incredible.  My understanding of the lineup is that Blondie played guitar, Ricky drums, and Brother Fataar was the bassist and Steve Fataar the other guitarist.  From listening to this album, even many times, I am often not sure who the lead singer is on various tracks (but I will give my guesses below).  Apparently Blondie and Steve Fataar shared most of the lead vocals.

The rhythm section of the Flame on this album is remarkable.  Brother Fataar's bass playing is outstanding and Ricky's drumming is truly out of this world.  The energy these two put behind all of the hard-rocking tracks on this disc is amazing.  The guitar work is also fantastic, lots of layered work and many, many inventive fills and bits.  Without liner notes I have no idea who played what, but certainly all four musicians distinguished themselves tremendously on this record.  Remarkably Ricky and Blondie were only in their late teens when this album was recorded.  I have never heard a tighter band.  The Flame seem to have combined the band tightness, togertheness, and energy of the early Beatles with a far greater instrumental virtuosity akin to Led Zeppelin.

This was Brother Records' first non-Beach Boys release, and the production values were outstanding.  Again I have no idea what Carl Wilson's actual contribution was as producer (I also would love to know if he played on the album), but the record is chock full of insteresting instrumental ideas and the overall sound is truly outstanding (most likely due to the efforts of Steve Desper).

Okay, now for a track by track review:

SEE THE LIGHT -- Maybe not the best choice off the album for the single, but an excellent song.  The guitar sound is very 1965-66 Beatle-y, with lots of cool, rather funky guitar fills and riffs.  The lead vocal sounds like Blondie to me.  The vocal harmonies (as throughout the album) seem to owe more to the simpler Beatle style than Brian's more complex arrangements.

MAKE IT EASY -- A fantastic, high-energy track.  Again, to my ears, sounds like Blondie on lead vocal.  More excellent guitar fills.  It seems like the band really worked on these songs, coming up with lots of great ideas to create background interest.  Love the outro, when Ricky really tears it up on the drums.  The energy of his playing is just incredible.

HEY LORD -- Unusual chord changes, this song is the closest to Led Zeppelin in style on the album and has a real bluesy feel.  Is the "Lord" addressed in the lyrics an English peer?  A South African overseer/landlord?  Love the lyric "leave no turn unstoned."  Sounds like a Fataar on lead vocals (?)  Love the last section of the song -- really rocks.

LADY -- The first time I heard this song I was absolutely blown away.  I had to sit down.  Then I listened to it, again and again.  Beautiful, very sweet and emotional.  Love the harmonica sound on the second and third verses.  In this one song, the Flame crystallized what Paul McCartney has spent his entire solo career trying to achieve (and not quite accomplishing).  This is one of my favorite tracks of all time.  A Fataar vocal, I think.

DON'T WORRY BILL -- This song is even more remarkable than "Lady," in my book.  One of the very few rock songs that accomplishes what "Stairway to Heaven" tried to do -- go through different movements.  This song takes you to so many places in three and a quarter minutes.  The brief solo after the "Don't Worry Bill" part is utterly orgasmic.  The second half of this song has as much energy as I have ever heard a band put down on record.  The Beach Boys live version ("Wonderbill") on the Endless Harmony CD does not do this song justice.  By the way, I believe John Lennon ripped off the opening verses when he wrote "Free as a Bird" in 1977.  Another Fataar vocal?

GET YOUR MIND MADE UP -- This song epitomizes the unique sound of the Flame.  Very high energy, hard rocking, with quite a bit of funk and a little blues thrown in.  I think Steve (?) Fataar sings the verses and Blondie the "honey don't send me your pictures" part.  God, the band is tight on this song.  Incredible guitar work -- love the harmonizing guitar solo.

HIGHS AND LOWS -- This is the most Beatlesque song on the album in my book (which is saying something).  The verses share more than a passing resemblance to Lennon's "Julia," but the funky chorus is all the Flame, and the verses have their own style as well.  Brother seems to be channeling Macca on bass for this song.  Sounds like another Fataar vocal to me.  Love the line "even the guitar's sad, strike a new chord, your feelings could change."

I'M SO HAPPY -- Another great high energy song, fantastic acoustic guitar sound.  Somehow this has an Allman Brothers feel, I think.  More great guitar work.  Fataar vocal?

DOVE -- An absolutely beautiful song, the only track on the album without Ricky's drums.  I find I'm attributing all the vocals to Steve Fataar, but I give this one to him as well.

ANOTHER DAY LIKE HEAVEN -- Another epic song like "Don't Worry Bill."  The Moog really adds a nice dimension here.  This track could fit in on the Beatles' "Let It Be" album -- is it heretical to say I like it better than anything on that LP?  Just a beautiful, stately melody -- again something else McCartney probably wishes he wrote, or would if he knew about it.  I'm gonna say this is another Fataar lead vocal.  I absolutely love the heavy section ("it's a long road it's a long road") before the outro -- god these guys could rock.

SEE THE LIGHT REPRISE -- A fine track, but I would prefer they had just ended the album with "Another Day Like Heaven," which would have been perfect.

It is a crime that there is a second Flame album out there, completed and unreleased.  These guys deserved so much more recognition than they ever got.  I would pay a lot of money to hear that second album.  Anyway, I'm glad there are folks on this site keeping "The Flame" alive.
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2007, 03:45:45 PM »

I just got this CD today.  WOW!!!  What a sin that this group didn't get more recognition.  As a whole, this album may just be better than anything released in the last 30 years.  It's solid as a rock all the way through. 

"Beatlesque" is an apt description; the album certainly makes you instantly think "Beatles".    It's an awesome job by The Flame, Carl Wilson, and Steve Desper. 

Listening to the album just makes me shake my head.  Both in amazement for how great it is, and in sadness that nothing being recorded today even comes close.

Jim
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 04:14:37 PM »

I think it's okay, maybe a 3. Sometimes I wonder if serious Beach Boys fans' love for Beach Boys music skews opinions, as I played it for a friend of mine who is into some sort of funky-yet-(and I hate this word) "Beatlesque" stuff, and he really disliked it (specifically the lyrics fell under his critical tongue). I don't hate it, but I am lukewarm on it. 

allmusic.com agrees with those who like it a lot, though, with 4.5 of 5 stars and this review.

Review   by Jon Pruett
The Flame's eponymous, sole American release is one of the greater, unsung pop records of the '70s. The band had released a few albums under the name the Flames in its native home of South Africa, but fearing confusion with James Brown & His Famous Flames, the band's name became singular. The band had a huge hit in South Africa with "For Your Precious Love" and was gradually beginning to make a name with its R&B-styled pop when Carl Wilson caught the band live and persuaded it to join the roster over at the new Beach Boys label, Brother Records. The result may not have sold too many copies, but it definitely stands out as one of the better pop records you're going to find. From the soulful stomp of "See the Light" to the slow, lazy build of "I'm So Happy," there is no shortage of amazing twists and turns. The melodies manage to be familiar and yet strangely unique -- a mix of the Honeybus performing segments of Abbey Road but infused with an easy, soulful vibe that really pulls the pieces together. The band's excellence as musicians provides a toughness and muscle that is missing in most pop records from this period. This is most obvious on a track like "Get Your Mind Made Up," which is as solid as anything by the Raspberries, the Faces, or even Humble Pie. A solid effort from end to end, this is a record that deserves to be heard by more than just the Beach Boys diehards.



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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2007, 06:44:39 AM »

http://www.cdreviews.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1832&Itemid=27
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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2007, 06:46:32 AM »

To anyone who owns the recent CD issue of this album:

How is the sound quality?  I'm aware that it's a needle drop, but is it very noticeable?  It's a great album and I was just wondering if it's worth shelling out $20+ for this current release?

Thanks in advance for any insight,
Geoff
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2007, 04:19:23 PM »

I just got this album the other day and it only cost me $10 Australian which I think was a bargain. I like this album from the first couple of listens. Ill give it a 4. A very good album.
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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2007, 08:36:43 PM »

For the question regarding the quality of the CD transfer:

This release is completely acceptable for fans of their work especially considering it has never been available on CD before.  You can hear a slight muffle possibly due to some 'cleanup' but nothing that distracts from the overall sharpness of the work and nothing a little EQ adjustment couldn't minimize.   Good bass too.  The clicks and pops have all been cleaned up and it probably sounds better than an amatuer needle drop.  To buy an LP and have it professionally transferred would cost much more than 20.00.

The CD also includes 2 pages of decent liner notes and another page with a color reproduction of the rear of the original LP album which displays the track listing along with 9 color pictures of The Flame in concert.  The tray behind the CD also has a color publicity shot of each individual band member.  Pretty nice package for an import. 

If you haven't heard the album before, I would definately recommend picking it up before it goes out of print and becomes impossible to find, like the 2002 CD release of Blondie's 1977 solo album(another great, lost, must have album!!).  I don't have too much faith in Brothers Records doing anything with their unreleased catalouge stuff at this point.

I'll also take the opportunity to plug Blondie's 2005 solo acoustic album Between Us available from BigkarmaRecords>com. Great stuff from Mr. Chaplin.  Althoug he has played and sang on at least a dozen other folks albums,  it's a shame he does not have a larger catalouge of solo work available...
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2009, 10:49:53 AM »

A beautiful album,I just found it a couples of weeks ago,I can't stop listening it!
I wanna hear the Blondie chaplin lp now! Wink
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2010, 08:15:04 PM »

Hope Andrew Doe sees all this praise for the Flame, after ripping their music to shreds repeatedly in the "Complete Guide"....
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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 09:36:49 PM »

Hope Andrew Doe sees all this praise for the Flame, after ripping their music to shreds repeatedly in the "Complete Guide"....

Might I kindly inquire as to what you're trying to prove by all of these posts directed at Andrew?
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2010, 05:37:19 AM »

Thought I would bump this... any news on release of their 2nd album?  I know such a release has been discussed but nothing has ever come of it thus far... their first album is super, I go in spurts where I play it a lot...
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2013, 08:35:04 PM »

Took a little while to find, but oh man is this a good record.

Every single song is likeable, and the guitar work is clever and always appropriate. Production by Carl is great too.

Another Day Like Heaven is my favorite song by far. That big ending reminds me of something blur would be do.

Great record, I'll be spinning a lot in the coming months.

5/5
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2013, 09:10:50 PM »

Recently got this on Spotify. Amazed at how good it is!
Sounds a lot like the Beatles.
A must-get for any fan of the CATP-Holland era. You won't regret it!
4.5 out of 5.
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2013, 04:34:52 PM »

4/5  A highly recommended record .. Used to come with a poster..!
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2013, 06:34:35 AM »

good one - very beatlesque, but not dated. Sounds fresh everytime i give it a listen.
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