(5 / 5)
Coventry band The Sorrows were part of the 1960s British beat boom scene, the mods loved ‘em and they have been labelled “freakbeat” in more modern times.
They had the chart hit with the brooding “Take A Heart” in 1965, were produced by Joe Meek and their front man Don Fardon went on to have a successful solo career, with chart hits of his own.
While Don trod his own path, the rest of the band moved to Italy and released a few singles and an album, and collaborated with legendary composer Ennio Morricone on a film soundtrack.
They formed in 1963 to tour Germany before cutting a cover of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, making that recording in legendary producer Joe Meek’s bathroom! They signed to the Pye label imprint Piccadilly Records.
The original line-up was Philip (Pip) Whitcher on lead guitar and vocals., Don Fardon – born Donald Arthur Maughn – on lead vocals, Philip (Phil) Packham on bass, Terry Juckes on rhythm guitar and vocals and drummer Bruce Finlay.
Debut album “Take A Heart” was released in 1965 by Piccadilly. After the band dented the UK singles chart with “Take A Heart”, Phil Packham and Don Fardon left the group in 1966.
Fardon scored a million-selling solo hit (# 20 in US Billboard chart, # 3 in UK chart and # 4 in Australia)) with “Indian Reservation”. His single “Belfast Boy”, in tribute to footballing icon George Best, reached # 32 in the UK. “Follow Your Drum” reached # 16 on the chart in 1972.
In 1973,Don’s “Delta Queen” peaked at # 86 on the US chart. His recording of the song “I’m Alive” was used for the UK TV ad’ for Five Alive drinks, and a Vodafone ad’ in The Netherlands. “I’m Alive” was reissued in the Netherlands and reached the Top 20 of the Dutch singles chart.
Check out the original of “I’m Alive” by Tommy James and the Shondells, next to Fardon’s version. When I heard it on the TV advert, his vocal prompted me to search for it on the ‘net to find out who was singing. For me, the Fardon version is miles better than the original.
After Packham and Fardon left The Sorrows, Wez Price joined the group on bass, Roger Lomas became lead guitarist, Pip Whitcher took on lead vocals and the band moved to Italy where they released the ‘psych-rock’ album “Old Songs, New Songs”, before calling it a day at the end of the decade.
Roger Lomas became a record producer in the 1980s, producing ska bands such as Bad Manners. In 2003, he produced the Grammy-winning album, “Jamaican E.T.” for Lee “Scratch” Perry
While the two distinct phases of the band have been individually anthologised before, this four-disc “Pink Purple Yellow And Red” box set is the first time that they have been assembled under one roof.
In addition to those pivotal mid-Sixties singles, the 94-track package includes the entire “Take A Heart” album – in mono and stereo, the “Old Songs, New Songs” LP and an earlier acetate-only demo album that was scrapped when two members of the band left.
The set also features their collaborations with soundtrack maestro Ennio Morricone, their title song to the Italian spy movie “Ypotron”, an acetate-only early 1968 single, spin-off singles by The Eggy and Renegade and a 1980 live show from the reformed band.
There’s a new archival find too; four previously unissued 1964 recordings with legendary producer Joe Meek. The set comes in a in a clamshell box, and includes a lavish booklet which features rare photos and a detailed essay on the band’s activities
This band never really got the respect they deserved, and singer Don Fardon was one of the UK’s best vocalists back in the day. This new box set is for any fan of 60s British beat music/r&b/rock/pop who fancy a trip down memory lane….and for anyone with “good ears” who has yet to discover The Sorrows and Mr Fardon. Love it.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’