Sunday, December 20, 2015

P F Sloan and The Fantastic Baggys - a postscript

Looking through my 45s today I came across one by The Fantastic Baggys on the Imperial label. This clearly was not a US issue as the record has a solid centre and a label credit to the Teal Record Company (of South Africa). Digging further I discovered that the recording artists are not what they seem and found some extra info which might be of  interest to those of us who saw P F Sloan shortly
before his death last month and who have read his autobiography 'What's Exactly the Matter With Me?'.
The Fantastic Baggys were a studio group comprising P F Sloan and Steve Barri who recorded a single and LP called Tell 'Em I'm Surfing in 1964.  This was successful in a number of countries where surfing was big, such as South Africa where the single reached number two, but Lou Adler of Dunhill Records, for whom Sloan worked, was not keen on losing his production and songwriting talents so insisted that the Baggys be sidelined. This inevitably caused friction not just with PF Sloan and Steve Barri, who would probably have wanted to be pop stars, but with record companies around the world which wanted a follow up to the hit.
The single I found was Anywhere The Girls Are coupled with Pa Pa Do Ron Ron ( New Girl In School) and it turns out that although the former is by the US Baggys, the flip was by a South African group called the Falling Leaves who were given the name by their local record company to cash in on the success of Tell 'Em I'm Surfing'.
According to the South African Rock website:
'Teal Record Company in South Africa was so eager to issue new Baggys albums that, when none were forthcoming, they created their own indigenous version of The Fantastic Baggys. They subsequently signed one of their own bands, The Falling Leaves, to do the job. Their first single
release was Papa do ro ron with Anywhere the girls are by the US Baggys on the b side. Papa do ron ron peaked at no 10 on the Springbok charts in November 1966.
Sloan explained in an interview that ..." Dunhill felt that they owned the name P.F. Sloan, and could put out material as they liked under that name, as they did with The Fantastic Baggys. Today it would be unthinkable. They had the brand name of The Fantastic Baggys, and therefore they could sell the name wherever they wanted to, without caring about the material, the production or the work. I had written a letter to the South African Fantastic Baggys asking them if they would like any help with what they were doing, but Dunhill forbade me to have any contact with them at all. Their songs are not bad, but they are obviously different from the stuff we were doing. "Two additional Fantastic Baggys albums were released in South Africa, consisting mostly of songs by the like-named South African group, with a few leftover cuts by the real Baggys. The second album, Ride The Wild Surf, was released in November 1966. Although five tracks, drawn from singles and out-takes, did feature Sloan and Barri, more than half the set featured the Falling Leaves themselves. By the release of Surfer's Paradise in 1967, the excitement had run its course. The last album only Some sources incorrectly claim that it was mistakenly drawn from another studio project, the Grass Roots. I have listened to both recordings and there is no doubt in my mind that the track in question was recorded by the local outfit. The last two Baggys albums were commercial flops as the band failed to keep pace with the public's shifting musical tastes.'


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