The Darling Buds


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1986 -87)

- Geraint Harley Farr -- guitar

- Richard Bloss Gray -- drums, percussion

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

- Simon -- bass

 

  line up 2  (1987-90)

- Geraint Harley Farr -- guitar

- Richard Bloss Gray -- drums, percussion

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

- Chris McDonagh -- bass (replaced Simon)

 

  line up 3  (1990-92)

- Geraint Harley Farr -- guitar

NEW - Jimmy Hughes -- drums, percussion (replaced 

   Richard Bloss Gray)

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

 - Chris McDonagh -- bass

 

  line up 4  (1992)

NEW - Matt Gray -- guitar (replaced Geraint Harley Farr )

NEW - Jon Lee -- drums, percussion (replaced Jimmy Hughes)

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

- Chris McDonagh -- bass

NEW - Paul Chas Watkins -- guitar

 

  line up 5  (1992-93)

- Matt Gray -- guitar

NEW - Dennis McCartney -- drums, percussion (replaced Jon Lee)

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

- Paul Chas Watkins -- guitar

 

  line up 6 (2010)

- Matt Gray -- guitar

NEW - Julian Hayes -- bass (replaced Chris McDonagh) 

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

NEW - Eric Stams -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Dennis McCartney)

- Paul Chas Watkins -- guitar

 

  line up 7 (2013-present)

- Matt Gray -- guitar

- Andrea Lewis (aka Andrea Lewis Jarvis) -- vocals

NEW- Chris McDonagh -- bass (replaced Julian Hayes)

- Eric Stams -- drums, percussion

- Paul Watkins -- guitar

 

 

 

 

 

- Black (Jimmy Hughes)

- Feeder (Jon Lee)

- Soldier Dolls (Matt Gray)

 


 

Genre: alternative rock

Rating: 2

Title:  Pop Said

Company: Columbia

Catalog:  AL 45208
Year:
 1988

Country/State: Caerleon, Wales

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3518

Price: $20.00

 

Best time to play:  sunny, summer day with your convertible top down

I believe this was the first CD I ever bought - I think I saw one of their promotional videos on MTV and having formed an instant crush on lead singer Andrea Lewis Jarvis, I seem to remember buying a copy of "Pop Said" in a small CD/music store in Crystal City, Virginia and being sooooooo excited to join the CD revolution.   And here I am four decades later, equally excited to have scored a copy of the original vinyl pressing.   Not only that, but hearing these tunes for the first time in twenty years, I've got to tell you they're every bit as good as I remember.

 

I'm not a Darling Buds scholar but their abbreviated bio runs something like this.   Featuring guitarist 

Geraint Harley Farr , drummer Richard Bloss Gray, singer Andrea Lewis Jarvis and a bassist named Simon, in 1986 they came together in the small Welsh town of Caerleon.

 

 

Their recording debut came in 1987 when they were featured on one side of a flexi-disc; the flip side featuring the band Bubblegum Splash.  Their song 'Spin' a re-recorded version of the song appeared on their debut LP "Pop Said"

 

1987's 'Spin' b/w 'If Only' (Bonk catalog BONK ON 001) 

 

 

 

 

With money he'd earned working at Loco Studios, guitarist Farr financed the band's next release :

- 1987's 'If I Said' b/w 'Just To Be Seen' (Darling Buds catalog number DAR 01)

 

In an effort to attract a label, guitarist Harley hand delivered copies of their single to BBC DJs John Peel, Janice Long, and various British music publications.  And in one of those storybook endings, Peel and Long actually listened to the tapes and started playing the demos on their shows, with The New Musical Express and Melody Maker publishing stories about the unsigned band.  

 

The resulting publicity saw the band sign with Kevin Donoughue's Sheffield-basedl Native Records which released a pair of EPs:

  

 

7" UK release

1988's 'Shame On You' b/w 'Valentine' (Native catalog number BUD 1)

12" UK release

1988's 'Shame On You' and 'Valentine'  b/w 'Uptight' (Native catalog number 12 BUD 1)

 

 

 

 

 

7" UK release

1988's 'It's All Up To You' b/w 'Think of Me' (Native catalog number NTV 33)

12" UK release

1988's 'It's All Up To You' and 'Think of Me' b/w 'That's the Reason' (Native catalog number 12 NTV 33)

 

 

 

 

CBS/Epic subsequently acquired rights to the band, signed them to a contract and putting them in the studio with producer Pat Collier. Featuring an all original set of material penned by guitarist Farr and singer Lewis, "Pop Said" was a surprisingly accomplished collection for such a young outfit (Lewis was 18 at the time).  Musically the collection frequently gets compared to Debbie Harry and Blondie, but other than the fact Lewis was a attractive blonde and the band had a knack for commercial melodies, the comparisons miss the mark with my ears.  In fact, if I had to pick a band to compare them to, it would be The Bangles.  Exemplified by songs like 'Hit the Ground', 'The Other Night' and 'She's Not Crying', upbeat, chirpy songs focusing on the ups and downs of affairs of the heart were firmly in Bangles territory.  With virtually ever one of these ten tracks having commercial potential, it was hard to pick a standout performance.  If pushed into a corner, I'd go with the single 'Burst' and 'The Other Night'.  Elsewhere 'Uptight' and 'Shame On You' had previously been released on an EP released by their prior label Native Records.  The mystery is why Columbia didn't make more of an effort to break them to an American audience.  

 

One of those albums that evokes a certain timeframe in my life and sounds as good today as it did back then.

 

"Pop Said" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hit the Ground   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:19   rating: **** stars

'Hit the Ground' was a near perfect slice of jangle pop that should have made these guys major stars in the US !!!   Lewis' bouncy voice coupled with Farr's growling guitar made it almost irresistble, making it hard to understand why it was never released as a single in the States.  The track was tapped as a 7" and 12" single in the UK and throughout much of the world :

7' UK single

1988's "Hit the Ground' b/w 'Pretty Girl' (Epic catalog number BLOND 2)

12" UK single

1988's "Hit the Ground' and 'Pretty Girl' b/w 'If I Said' and 'Hit the Ground' (Epic catalog number BLOND T2)

 

Remember when MTV actually played music videos?  Well here's the link to the promotional video for this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDLL7v37xLY   

 

 

 

2.) Burst   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:51   rating: **** stars

On an album literally spilling over with commercially viable tracks, 'Spin' was probably the most radio friendly of the pile.  Not to sound like a broken record, but with a criminally addictive hook, Farr's buzz saw guitar, and Lewis' multi-tracked lead vocals, this one sounded like a Welsh version of The Bangles.  Maybe my ears are playing tricks on me, but it was also one of the few performances where you could here a touch of Welsh accent in the delivery.  That was all meant as a good thing.  And here's a link to the MTV promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoL3TUfLStg 

  7" UK release

- 1988's 'Burst' b/w 'Big Head' (Epic catalog number BLOND 1)

  12" UK release

- 1988's 'Burst' and 'Big Head' b/w 'Bust' and 'Just Say No' (Epic catalog  number BLOND T1)

 3.) Uptight   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:48   rating: **** stars

Yeah, most of the album was pretty lightweight, but the fact remained Lewis had an awesome voice, more than capable of holding her own on tougher rock oriented numbers.  The rousing  'Uptight' was another tune that would have made a dandy single. The tune had previously been released on one of the two EPs the band recorded for Native Records.  

4.) The Other Night   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:22   rating: **** stars

Sheer pop perfection - just a  wonderful summer tune.  Again, you had to wonder why this one wasn't tapped as a single.   YouTube also has a 1988 live performance of the song showing a band with a much tougher edge and once again you can hear and see a touch of Blondie influences:: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4ts0WHMiFM 

5.) Big Head   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:34   rating: *** stars

Again, 'Big Head' wasn't going to get them mistaken for a punk outfit but 'Big Head' had a nice in-your-face swagger that probably sounded even tough in a live environment.

 

(side 2)

1.) Let's Go Round There   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) -2:36   rating: **** stars

'Let's Go Round There' was easily one of the album's bounciest tunes (hard to say that when the whole album was bouncy.  I've always been a little skeptical of the Blondie comparisons, but on the bouncy 'Let's Go There" I can hear a little bit of it - particularly if Debbie Harry and her cohorts had been raised in Wales.  Here's a link to the MTV promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DolhYogMYtA   Another single.  I must admit Lewis sure could dance.

  7" UK release

- 1989's 'Let's Go Round There' b/w 'Turn You On' (Epic catalog number BLOND 3)

  12" UK release

  1989's 'Let's Go Round There' and 'Turn You On' b/w 'Different Daze' (Epic catalog number 654731 6)

2.) She's Not Crying   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) -2:07   rating: **** stars

I'm just a sucker for chirpy jangle rock and this delivers an overdose of the genre in just over two minutes.  Very Bangles-esque complete with overdubbed vocal harmonies.  Sweet, sweet, sweet ....   

3.) Shame On You   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:01   rating: **** stars

'Shame On You' was one of three tracks  previously recorded and released for Native records.  Opening with a wonderful Chris McDonagh bass line, the track' featured a bouncy, vaguely new wave-ish feel.  It was one of those songs you almost had to pogo to.   

4.) You've Got To Chose   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) -2:17   rating: **** stars

'You've Got To Chose' saw the band adding a slightly rawer flavor to their patented sound.   nah, you weren't about to mistake them for The Slits, but it made for a nice change-up.  It was also released as a single:

  7" UK single:

- 1989's 'You've Got To Chose' b/w 'Mary's Got To Go' Epic catalog number BLOND 4)

  12" UK release

- 1989's 'You've Got To Chose' and 'Mary's Got To Go' b/w 'I'll Never Stop' Epic catalog number BLOND T4)

5.) Spin   (Harley Farr - Andrea Lewis) - 2:41   rating: *** stars

Always loved Farr's gritty lead guitar on 'Spin'.  In this case his guitar served to offset a touch of the band's overly sugary sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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