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RPM Rescues “The Sixties Sounds of Tim Andrews” On New Anthology

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Tim Andrews - SuburbiaWill the real Chris Andrews please stand up?

Well, that’s easier said than done.  Singer/songwriter Chris Andrews is known for penning hits such as Sandie Shaw’s “Girl Don’t Come” and “Long Live Love,” but there’s another Chris Andrews who rose to prominence during the same era – and also did so in Swingin’ London.  This man of the same name recorded with The Gremlins and The Fleur de Lys, and sang the lead on the 1967 hit U.K. single “Reflections of Charles Brown,” issued under the name of Rupert’s People.  This “other” Chris Andrews is the subject of RPM’s Something About Suburbia, credited to Tim Andrews – the name he took on to avoid confusion with his contemporary.   (Wikipedia – among other online sources – is still mixed up, crediting the Sandie Shaw-associated Chris with the Tim Andrews recordings.)  This 16-track anthology brings together a number of singles released under the Tim Andrews name, as well as tracks from The Gremlins, The Fleur de Lys and Rupert’s People.

Reissue co-producer Stefan Granados tells the whole Chris/Tim Andrews story in the liner notes of Something About Suburbia.  Andrews, born in London, entered show business at an early age, replacing a certain David Jones as the Artful Dodger in the London production of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! and eventually appearing in the American touring company, as well.  When Andrews returned to London in late 1965, he joined the Spencer Davis Group-esque band The Gremlins, represented here with their 1966 garage-style rendition of that band’s “High Time Baby.”  It was childhood friend Phil Sawyer – a future member of the Spencer Davis Group, in fact – who enlisted Andrews into the Fleur de Lys.  With Sawyer, he co-wrote the energetic, snarling “Mud in Your Eye,” but it soon, Sawyer departed the band ranks to join Shotgun Express.  (Trivia fans, take note: Rod Stewart is another alumnus of Shotgun Express.)

Andrews stayed onboard, recording the psychedelic Columbia single “Reflections of Charles Brown” b/w “Hold On” as a side project with members of Fleur de Lys for producer Howard Conder.  “Reflections,” however, was quickly recognized as being rather derivative of Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” so the decision was made to release it under the pseudonym of Rupert’s People.  (“Whiter Shade” was released in May 1967 and charted the following month; “Reflections” also arrived that summer.  It’s been mooted that “Reflections” may have been recorded earlier than the Procol Harum song, but “Whiter Shade” was released first, causing the trouble.)  The single was a minor hit, charting in Australia and receiving frequent play on pirate radio, but its success backfired on the Fleur de Lys.  Soon, Conder was recruiting another band to perform as Rupert’s People.  Andrews reveals to Granados that the situation “in a sense, broke the band up in a way.”  Both sides of Columbia DB 8226 are included here.

You’ll find the rest of the story after the jump, including the full track listing with discography and order links!

With the Fleur de Lys having broken up, Andrews moved onto the group Playground, but soon was signed by manager Tony Hall as Tim Andrews.  Hall signed “Tim” to Parlophone, where he teamed with another up-and-comer, Paul Korda.  (Last year, RPM reissued Korda’s 1971 solo album Passing Stranger on CD.)  Something About Suburbia collects the A and B-sides of all six singles recorded by Andrews for Parlophone between 1967 and 1970, three of which were credited to both Andrews and Korda.

These tracks show Andrews’ versatility in various idioms as both songwriter and singer.  “(Something About) Suburbia” (1968) is an orchestrated pop gem produced by Korda with a vaudeville-style arrangement, baroque strings and a melody that isn’t too far-removed from some of Tony Hatch’s finest work from the same period.  Its B-side, “Your Tea is Strong,” is a more bizarre and raucous confection, with mannered, heavily-accented vocals from Andrews.  “Smile If You Want To,” on the other hand, is a big beat production with prominent falsetto vocals seemingly inspired by the Beach Boys or the Four Seasons.  Andrews and Korda continued with bold, bright radio-friendly anthems like the dramatic brassy A-sides “Angel Face” and “How Many Hearts Must Be Broken” (the latter written not by Korda and Andrews but by Harry Barter, and somewhat recalling The Grass Roots’ “I’d Wait a Million Years,” also from 1969) before Andrews returned as a solo artist with one final single in 1970.  The baroque ballad “Tiny Goddess” was backed by a melodic ode to “Josephine.”

Though his recording career didn’t take off at Parlophone, Andrews remained in the music business, working at Decca as a staff producer and seeing his songs successfully recorded by artists including Roger Daltrey and David Essex.  He also recorded for Decca as “Kris Ryder,” returned to the musical stage, and even performed in pantomime with the post-Monkees Davy Jones.  The enjoyable pop sounds of Something About Suburbia should appeal to fans of The Foundations, The Fortunes or the numerous other bands to emerge from the fertile mid-sixties British scene.  All tracks here have been remastered by Simon Murphy, and the 12-page booklet offers plenty of insight from Andrews himself.  It’s available now from Cherry Red’s RPM imprint, and can be ordered below!

Tim Andrews, Something About Suburbia: The Sixties Sounds of Tim Andrews (RPM RETRO 928, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. High Time Baby – The Gremlins
  2. Mud in Your Eye – Fleur de Lys
  3. Hold On – Rupert’s People
  4. Reflections of Charles Brown – Rupert’s People
  5. Sad Simon Lives Again – Tim Andrews
  6. You Won’t Be Seeing Me Anymore – Tim Andrews
  7. (Something About) Suburbia – Tim Andrews
  8. Your Tea is Strong – Tim Andrews
  9. Smile If You Want To – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  10. Makin’ Love to Him – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  11. Angel Face – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  12. Waiter Get Me a Drink – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  13. How Many More Hearts Must Be Broken – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  14. Discovery – Tim Andrews and Paul Korda
  15. Tiny Goddess – Tim Andrews
  16. Josephine – Tim Andrews

Track 1 previously unissued, rec. 1966
Track 2 from Polydor single 52614-A, 1966
Tracks 3-4 from Columbia (U.K.) single DB 8226, 1967
Tracks 5-6 from Parlophone single R5656, 1967
Tracks 7-8 from Parlophone single R5695, 1968
Tracks 9-10 from Parlophone single R5714, 1968
Tracks 11-12 from Parlophone single R5746, 1968
Tracks 13-14 from Parlophone single R5769, 1969
Tracks 15-16 from Parlophone single R5824, 1970

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2013 at 13:48

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