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: 4 stars ***

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: alternative rock

Rating: 2

Title:  Crawdaddy

Company: Columbia

Catalog:  AL 45208
Year:
 1990

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

 

Sophomore slump ?   Not for The Darling Buds !!!   Seriously, 1990's "Crawdaddy" was every bit as good, if not better than their debut.  With Harley Fair and singer/front woman Andrea Lewis responsible for penning all eleven tacks, 

 

"Crawdaddy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It Makes No Difference   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:55   rating: **** stars

I guess it is simply a part of getting older, but hearing the opener 'It Makes No Difference' takes me back to an earlier time in life ...  I was a single dad and trying to find a balance between work, parental responsibilities, and cobbling together a new personal life - the one thing I didn't have was a lot of free time, but I could at least listen to the radio on the way to work and back ...   one of those songs I clearly remember was this rocker.  The dark lyrics seemed to strike fairly close to home.   YouTube has a cool promotion video for the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li4V6TgqOIg

2.) Tiny Machine   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 5:45   rating: **** stars

Say what you will about this band, but they managed to capture that unique jangle rock sound better than almost any of their contemporaries.   Perhaps because it sounded like a quality Bangles song, 'Tiny Machine' has always struck me as one of the standout performances on this set.  It was also tapped as the leadoff single:

 

 

 

 

- 1990's 'Tiny Machine' b/w 'Me? Satisfied?' (Epic catalog number BLOND 5)

 

 

 

 

YouTube has the promotional video that went with the single: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2REIMPrnbU  

3.) Crystal Clear   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:48

4.) Do You Have To Break My Heart   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:18   rating: **** stars

Kind of a nifty Go-Gos vibe to this pop-ish tune.   Very infectious.

5.) You Won't Make Me Die   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:45   rating: **** stars

With a light, breezy melody, 'You Won't Make Me Die' was one of the album's most commercial and radio-friendly perfomances.  Interesting that Epic didn't tap it as a single.

 

(side 2)

1.) Fall   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:56

2.) A Little Bit of heaven   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:46

3.) Honeysuckle  (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 2:35

4.) So Close   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 5:29

5.) The ed of the Beginning   (Harley Fair - Andrea Lewis) - 3:33

 

 

 

 

As good as the Buds' first LP ("Pop Said") is, this one is even better. Every song is catchy, infectious pop and Andrea's lead vocals are never short of superb. The entire band shines and the production is excellent. "Crystal Clear," one of the tracks issued as a single, should have been a huge hit and sounds every bit as good now as it did over 20 years ago. Play it a couple of times and you'll never get it out of your head. "Tiny Machine," another track issued as a single, is almost as good. But the LP includes many equally great songs that could easily have been singles themselves, such as "Fall" with its insistent rhythm and effective backing response vocals, "Honeysuckle," which just surges with power and a bass line that won't quit, and "Do You Have to Break My Heart" with '60s-style rhythm guitar and a simple yet instantly memorable melody. "Pop Said" has been reissued with bonus tracks and it's way past time for the same treatment to be given to this fantastic LP. Any fan of catchy pop songs will be more than happy with this one.
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on February 5, 2010
I think the comments from other reviewers are pretty accurate. I just thought I'd add one more thing.

I've had the experience several times of liking one track from a band, buying the album, and finding that the rest of it doesn't sound like the track I like. That is NOT the case here. If you've heard "Crystal Clear" or one of the other tracks, then rest assured that it represents the sound of the band and the album.

I give it 4 stars out of 5 because it's not exactly a life-changing album but it is very fun and listenable all the way through. I have no complaints at all - I'm glad I bought it.
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on October 26, 2008
I agree with the others, as Welsh band the Darling Buds should have hit it big, but other similar bands overshadowed them, as good as they all were...some being the Primitives (with their great single "Crash" later featured in "Dumb & Dumber"), Lush (another one of my faves), and even Echobelly (also featured in D&D with "Insomniac"...but their best work came later on in "On" and "Lustra" but that's another story).

This is a Darling Buds review, of their sophomore and best album, IMO, "Crawdaddy" from 1990.

I'm not sure if any other band combined these styles better, but picture a yummy sweet hybrid of 60s Brill Building girlgroup pop, powerpop and Britpop, with just a tinge of tasty, trendy guitar feedback thrown in for good measure. Just scrumptious...and the album just charms over and over. I think the album was promoted to some degree by Columbia to alternative channels like college radio and MTV's "120 Minutes", but it never took off in mainstream areas..."Crystal Clear" and "Tiny Machine" were promoted as the singles...ALL 10 tracks really could have been hits as they are perfect gems of pop songcraft sung by a great charming female singer in Andrea...she's one of THE overlooked greats...as good as Sandie Shaw, Dusty Springfield, Sandra Cretu, Kirsty MacColl, her voice and the way she harmonizes with herself...over great Britpop guitar and a nice rhythm section and catchy-as-hell tunes.

To be honest, I think the wrong songs were promoted as the singles...if anything, the best song on the album is "Do You Have To Break My Heart??", track 4...easily on the list one of THE greatest and most overlooked songs of all time. Killer chorus, verses, and one of the greatest middle-8/bridges I have EVER heard in my life...unbelieveable...a second choice would be the closer, "End Of The Beginning"...I keep going back to those songs...for the past 18 years I did just that.

Yes, their debut "Pop Said" was awesome, and their 3rd and final effort "Erotica" was cool, but on their middle album, "Crawdaddy", the Buds perfected their formula of girlgroup sweetness and powerpop punch, but the timing was just off...history will be kind to the Buds, I really think so.
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on November 3, 2005
'Crawdaddy' is what albums used to be: 10 songs, 40 minutes long, and not a clunker in the bunch.

The songs are simple and extremely catchy; it's one of those cds where after you listen to it, you have to play it again.... and again.

'Crawdaddy' actually spawned three college radio hits, the soft-loud-soft "It Makes No Difference", the romping "Crystal Clear", and the life affirming "Fall". The thing is the other seven songs could've been hits as well, especially the one two-punch of "A Little Bit of Heaven" and "Honeysuckle".

I wish the Darling Buds had hit it BIG; they deserved it. This cd is proof. It's 15 years old, but still as fresh as today.
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on April 27, 2004
I have to credit late night MTV with my exposure to "Darling Buds". The 1990 video was for "Crystal Clear", and I've liked that song ever since. It's easily the best track on here, and I think "Tiny Machine" was a minor hit as well. The rest of the album is good, just not as sweet as the first few tracks. This group actually reminds me of two other of my favorite bands from the era, those being "Lush" a little bit, and "The Primitives" alot. It's just that female voice over catchy alt-pop that's hard to resist. Check it out if you can find it.
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on December 11, 2003
This CD is under-rated. It's true they didn't change the world but who does? I recently found this CD again and listening to it realized it's better than most anything on pop radio today. I haven't heard the group's later efforts, but this was an energetic, original spin on the rhythmic things going on in alternative rock of the late 80's/early 90's. It's a great effort from a virtually unknown band, not overproduced, with lyrics that are light but smart, sly, sexy. Just good fun edgy pop rock, dark and sweet. I've re-bought old CD's from groups of this era, wondering if I'd like them as much the second time around. Most disappoint, sounding dated. This one is as good today as it was then.
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on February 9, 2010
This CD is great. The music is nice. I could listen to it all the time. The Darling Buds are great. This CD is not that hard to get so why don't you go get yourself a copy of it. My favorite song on it is So Close.
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on September 16, 2003
The Darling Buds did not change the world, but they made some pretty good melodic-kind of bubblegummy-guitar pop in their day. It's a guitar-bass-drums-poppy female vocal lineup. This album came out before Smells Like Teen Spirit and grunge changed the face of "alternative music", and is pretty representative of what US college radio stations were playing at the time. Crystal Clear and It Makes No Difference are two of the catchiest tunes. The Primitives are (were) a similar band.
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on January 17, 2012
One of the best releases of the 90's. This is an excellent band at their peak. The Darling Buds deserve to be remembered as one of the best bands of their era.

rawdaddy was The Darling Buds' third album. It was released on Epic Records in 1990 and featured the singles "Tiny Machine" and "Crystal Clear".

The album's sound was more accomplished than on the band's debut album Pop Said.... The arrangements were lush, and with tracks like "Tiny Machine" clocking in at just under six minutes, the song lengths were relatively epic compared to the two-minute average on Pop Said....


Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Harley Farr and Andrea Lewis

  1. "It Makes No Difference" (3:55)
  2. "Tiny Machine" (5:45)
  3. "Crystal Clear" (3:48)
  4. "Do You Have To Break My Heart" (3:18)
  5. "You Won't Make Me Die" (3:45)
  6. "Fall" (3:56)
  7. "A Little Bit Of Heaven" (3:46)
  8. "Honeysuckle" (2:39)
  9. "So Close" (5:29)
  10. "The End of the Beginning" (3:33)

Singles[edit]

  1. "Tiny Machine" (1990)
  2. "Crystal Clear" (1990)

Members[edit]

 

Though some of the Blondie-isms of Pop Said remain, the Darling Buds' sophomore record is a musical progression from the debut and just as strong as its predecessor. Andrea Lewis turns in some saucy lyrics and sultry vocals, and the band throws inflections of glam guitar ("It Makes No Difference"), and state-of-the-art dance pop which rivals the best of St. Etienne ("The End of the Beginning"). As with Pop Said, this is quality fare throughout. It never loses steam, crystallizing with "So Close," a prime lovelorn tune that seems to reference the Buzzcocks' "Why Can't I Touch It." Altogether, Crawdaddysmacks of a band who amount to more than just a good pop group.

 

I donít play Crawdaddy as much these days and almost feel itís a guilty pleasure when I do.  I shouldnít feel that way because this is decent enough pop music with catchy melodies, jangly guitars, and clever keyboard work.  This stuff feels more eighties than nineties with the sound having a definite Blondie influence, but then almost every pop band with a female lead vocalist that formed in the late eighties was influenced by Blondie.   

You also might say that the style of this album falls between the Sundays and the Bangles.  It isnít as folky or lyrically provocative as the Sundaysí early work, but Crawdaddy is edgier than the melodic pop the Bangles were known for a few years earlier.  This is certainly worth checking out for fans of the bands Iíve mentioned in this review.  If you decide to have a listen, I expect those that are old enough to have been listening in the early nineties will discover that youíve already heard several of the songs here and those songs that you havenít heard previously will sound familiar because of their derivative and accessible nature.

This is where the Buds go sorta "Madchester". In 1990, many were doing it I suppose, what with the advent of the Happy Mondays and ecstacy tabs and acid house. To me, the whole scene reeked of psych undertones - the kids and bands and clubs were trying to recreate a 60s type vibe with 90s tinged dance rock hybrids and lots of drugs. A lot of the tempos started to sound like Deep Purple's "Hush". But that's cool. Whatever...it didn't change the pop smarts of our favourite Welsh indie kingpins, it just added more of a groove to their songs.

That's the first Darling Buds album I've heard and I liked it a lot. The general picture of what they can do pans out much better in album format than on their singles. Indie pop is a good description. Andrea Lewis on vocals covers the material nicely and Geriant "Harley" Farr strums along satisfactorily on guitar, without ever being particularly original or, for that matter, reminding me of anybody else, and therefore distinctive. 3,85 rating. Nice album. Nice sound.

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