The Flames / The Flame (South Africa)

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1963-65)

- Eugene Champion -- vocals, guitar

- George Faber -- vocals, drums

- Steve Fataar -- guitar, vocals

- Edries 'Brother' Fataar (RIP 1978) -- bass, vocals


  line up 2 (1965-67)

- Steve Fataar -- guitar, vocals 

- Edries 'Brother' Fataar (RIP 1978) -- bass, vocals

NEW - Ricky Fataar -- drums (replaced George Faber)

NEW - Edries Fredericks -- vocals, guitar (replaced  Eugene Champion)


  line up 3 (1967)

NEW- Baby Duval (RIP) -- guitar, vocals (replaced  

  Edries Fredericks)

- Steve Fataar -- guitar, vocals (1964-70)

- Edries 'Brother' Fataar (RIP 1978) -- bass, vocals

NEW- Ricky Fataar -- drums, percussion 


  line up 4 (1967-70)

NEW - Blondie Chaplin -- guitar, vocals (replaced Baby Duval) 

- Steve Fataar -- guitar, vocals (1964-70)

- Edries 'Brother' Fataar (RIP 1978) -- bass, vocals

- Ricky Fataar -- drums, percussion





- Zane Adams and the Flames

- The Beach Boys (Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar)

- Blondie Chaplin (solo efforts)

- Dirk and Stig (Ricky Fataar)

- Ricky Fataar (solo efforts)

- Edries Frederick (solo)

- The Hard Regulators  ( Ricky Fataar)

- The Monitors ( Ricky Fataar)

- The Rutles (Ricky Fataar)

- Skollie (Blondie Chaplin)

- Steve and the Flames

- Upsetters (Blondie Chaplin, Brother Fataar, Ricky Fataar and

   Steve Fataar)

- The Wild Things (Blondie Chaplin)






Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Burning Soul!

Company: Rave

Catalog: RMG 1232

Year: 1967

Country/State: Durban, South Africa

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring and edge wear; original mono pressing; lots of light marks, but plays without interruption

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5069

Price: $150.00



You have to admire a band like The Flames.  An exceptionally talented outfit, the fact they were a non-white group (most of the members of East Indian extraction), trying to make the big time in apartheid-era South Africa makes them even more special. 


Produced by Grahame Beggs, 1967's "Burning Soul" was an impressive soul album.  Even though there weren't any originals, The Flames reflected excellent, if occasional ecclectic tastes in their choice of covers.  No, you were unlikely to forget the original versions of hits from the likes of Eddie Floyd, Chris Kenner, Wilson Picket and Joe Tex, but all twelve performances were enthusiastic and enjoyable.  Moreover, introducing then 16 year old Blondie Chaplin as the band's new lead singer and guitarist certainly didn't hurt the proceedings.  Add in the band's growing technical proficiency and Art Heatlie's first rate horn arrangements and you got a taste of what the band must have sounded like live. Chaplin simply added a brand new dimension to the band's sound.  His smooth and versatile falsetto proving perfectly suited to the band's soul and rock repertoire, easily bouncing between the silky smooth 'You Got It Made' (where he recalled John Fogerty !!!) to the band's freak out Hendrix cover ('Purple Haze').  Other highlights included the heartfelt South African single 'Don't Make Your Children Pay', a killer cover of Chris Kenner's 'Land Of A Thousand Dances' and 'Blue Colour'.  The fact that four guys from Durban, South Africa could generate this much soul was amazing!  


"Burning Soul!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) You Got It Made   (Dave Porter - Isaac Hayes) - 2:32   rating: **** stars

I'll be the first to admit most Stax covers are dull and predictable.  The Flames were one of those rarities in that they were able to inject their own style and energy on these tracks.  While it didn't stray too far from the original arrangement, their cover of 'You Got It Made' was simply awesome.  Great scratchy guitar; great horns and the vocals were inspiring - a touch of John Fogerty here.

2.) Don't Fight It   (Wilson Pickett - Steve Cropper) - 2:58   rating: *** stars

I grew up listening to the Wilson Pickett original, so anything else is going to sound pale in comparison - even this strong version can't match the original.

3.) Don't Make Your Children Pay   (Joe Tex) - 3:15   rating: *** stars

The Flames certainly had good tastes in covers and when you realize lead singer Blondie Chaplin was 15 (?) at the time this was recorded, the results were even more impressive.  Admittedly the preachy talk/sing vocal was a bit on the cheesy side.  The tune was released as a single in the Rhodesia and South Africa.




- 1968's 'Don't Make Your Children Pay' b/w 'Purple Haze' (Rave catalog number R 309)








4.) Stop Look And Listen   (A. Cooke) - 2:21   rating: *** stars

The thought of a South African band (whose members were of Malaysian extraction) doing American soul covers makes me smile.  Nice vocal on this one.

5.) Tell It Like It Is   (George Davis - Lee Diamond) - 3:00   rating: *** stars

Another cover where no matter how good the performance was, it simply couldn't compete with Aaron Neville's version.  

6.) Land Of A Thousand Dances   (Chris Kenner) - 2:28  rating: *** stars

Buy the Chris Kenner original instead ...  Well, maybe not since Steve Fataar turned in a blazing solo.

(side 2)
1.) Knock On Wood  (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper) - 2:36
  rating: *** stars

This Eddie Floyd classic has been covered hundreds of times and while their version brought nothing new to the table, you could hear their enthusiasm for the music.  

2.) Hold On I'm Coming   (Dave Porter - Isaac Hayes) - 2:36  rating: *** stars

Sam and Dave rule, but The Flames raw cover was quite enjoyable.  A cover they could be proud of.  Wonder who the second vocalist was.

3.) When Something's Wrong With My Baby   (Dave Porter - Isaac Hayes) - 3:29  rating: ** stars

Geez, it would take you a couple of hours to list all the covers of this one.  Unlike the rest of the album, this time out they missed the mark.  Their cover sounded wooden and the vocalists sounded liek they were about thirteen.

4.) Something You've Got   (Chris Kenner) - 2:45  rating: *** stars

Loved the opening guitar segment and the South African accent added a certain coolness to the performance.

5.) Blue Colour   (R. Shorter) - 2:39  rating: *** stars

Credit Ricky Fataar with some of the loudest drums I've ever heard - he literally shakes the speakers.  'Blue Colour' was interesting to me in that it was a track I'd never heard before.

6.) Purple Haze    (Jimi Hendrix) - 3:54  rating: **** stars

Their cover of Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' was quite a brave statement for a time when apartheid clamped down on so many social issues.  Compared to the Hendirx original their cover was a little raw and actually quite a bit more psychedelic ...  It's a treat to listen to with a good pair of headphones - backward tapes, Edries 'Brother' Fataar's bass was devastating and i always wondered if someone was hitting a brick in the background.


For anyone interested, there's a great The Flames website at:





Genre: blue-eyed soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Flame

Company: Brother

Catalog: BR 2500

Year: 1970

Country/State: Durban, South Africa

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes the poster

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $100.00



The fact The Flames actually got signed to an American record label is somewhat of a miracle.  The fact  Warner Brothers' Beach Boys affiliated Brother label signed them in the middle of apartheid is even stranger.  I would love to have heard those 

marketing decisions. 



By the late '60s The Flames (singer guitarist Blondie Chaplin, guitarist Steve Fataar, bassist Edries 'Brother' Fataar and drummerRicky Fataar), were living and working in London.  As one of the few countries in the world allowing South African acts to work, The Flames had begun to attract some attention on the English club circuit, including a residence at London's Blaises Club.  Those performances were brought the the attention of The Beach Boys who were recording in London.  Beach Boy Al Jardin reportedly caught the band's performance at Blaises.  He mentioned the band to Carl Wilson who went to see the group the next evening and was impressed enough to offer the band an opportunity to travel to the States and sign a recording contract with their newly formed Brother Records imprint.  Arriving in Southern California the band had to wait for work permits, during which time they began writing and rehearsing original material.  Unfortunately, as if apartheid didn't provide enough drama for the band, their name became problematic when it was felt The Flames was treading to close to James Brown's backing band.  Brother marketers suggested going with "The Flame".



Produced by Carl Wilson, 1970's "The Flame" is an overlooked classic.  Blame it on the politics of apartheid (what politically correct American radio station was going to play these guys), or Brother's unwillingness to promote the album, but song-for-song this was easily one of the year's most impressive and enjoyable releases.  Featuring eleven band originals, these guys were the real thing.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Make It Easy', 'Hey Lord' and 'Get Your Mind Made Up' the entire album managed the neat trick of balancing commerciality with a harder rock edge.  While I shudder at using the term Beatlesque, hearing tunes like 'Highs and Lows' and the single 'Another Day Like Heaven' there was clearly  something to be said for the comparison.  Elsewhere future Rutles guitarist Steve Fataar littered the grooves with little nods to George Harrison (check out 'Hey Lord').  As lead singer Chaplin had a highly commercial voice and he proved quite adept at giving his performances a Paul McCartney edge (check out the ballad 'Lady').  He could also do an impressive John Lennon - 'Don't Worry, Bill'.  The band's harmony vocals were every bit as good as Badfinger.  With the exception of the bland ballad 'Dove' this is one of these rarities that's good from start to finish.  For hardcore collectors, from a technical standpoint the album was noteworthy as being the first album to be recorded and released in quadraphonic sound  (dynaquad).  



Released as a single 'See the Light' provided the band with a minor top100 hit and they undertook a brief American tour.  That was followed by a second tour opened up for the Beach Boys.  In spite of strong reviews, the album flopped. Sadly, after recording a never-released follow-on album, The Flame called it quits.  Chaplin and Fataar were asked to join The Beach Boys where they toured with the band and recorded a pair of studio albums ("Carl and the Passions So Tough" and "Holland" and the double album live collection ("The Beach Boys In Concert") before striking out on their own.




"The Flame" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) See the Light (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:05  rating: **** stars

A couple of reviews drew comparisons to Badfinger and I'll admit to being skeptical, but after hearing the rousing 'I See the Light' I actually get it.  Like the best of Badfinger the tune managed to combine a top-40-esque melody with helplessly addictive vocals. The end of song chants were captivating. Steve Fataar even threw in a great George Harrison-styled guitar solo.  Awesome tune that should have been a massive hit when it was tapped as a single in the States and other countries:

- 1970's 'See the Light' b/w 'Get Your Mind Made Up' (Brother catalog number 45-3500) # 95 US pop charts

2.) Make It Easy (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:00    rating: **** stars

As good as the title track was, 'Make It Easy' was even stronger and more commercial.  With a driving beat and more of those heavenly vocals, this time out they didn't even sound like second generation Beatles wannbes - they recalled the Fab Four at their most rockin'.  This was the real thing.  Ear candy in the finest sense of the word.

3.) Hey Lord (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:42    rating: **** stars

Kicked along by some wonderful Steve Fataar guitar, 'Hey Lord' upped the album's rock quotient giving the song kind of a 'Get Back' vibe.   And since that was one of my favorite Beatles performance, that comparison was meant as a compliment.  Actually the secret sauce on this one was Ricky Fataar's stellar drumming.

4.) Lady (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:15  rating: *** stars

A pretty, country-tinged ballad, 'Lady' sounded like early Paul McCartney and Wings.  Very commercial, but not nearly as engaging as their more rock-oriented performances.

5.) Don't Worry, Bill (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:07    rating: **** stars

Floating on a sea of jangle guitars, ''Don't Worry, Bill' was an awesome ballad that sounded like John Lennon fronting Badfinger.  The title track chorus was a hoot.  Would have made a wonderful single.

(side 2)
1.) Get Your Mind Made Up
(Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 4:01    rating: **** stars

The Beach Boys could only dream about recording something that balanced commercial and rock as well as 'Get Your Mind Made Up'.  Great melody; nice vocals and some blazing guitar made this one of the album highlights ...

2.) Highs and Lows (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 5:45    rating: **** stars

Sporting a lysergic mid-'60s vibe, 'Highs and Lows' was another track that had a distinctive John Lennon feel.  

3.) I'm So Happy (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 3:12    rating: **** stars

With a bouncy country-rock melody and a super catchy chorus 'I'm So Happy' was another tune with radio exposure pressed all over it.   

4.) Dove (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 2:09  rating: ** stars

The album's first disappointment, 'Dove' was a pretty enough ballad, but lacked the energy of the rest of the album.  The tune's always reminded me of something Eric Carmen might have recorded.

5.) Another Day Like Heaven (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 5:31    rating: **** stars

The electronics opening caught be off guard, but once the melody kicked in you couldn't be blamed for wondering if you'd mistakenly slapped on an Emmit Rhodes album by mistake.  Around the three minute mark the lovely ballad kicked into a different gear, devolving into a series of harder rock oriented segments.  Kind of an "Abbey Road' suite going on here.  The song was tapped as the second US single: 





- 1970's 'Another Day Like Heave' b/w 'I'm So Happy' (Brother catalog number D45-3501 )







6.) See the Light (Reprise)  (Steve Fataar - Blondie Chaplin - Edries Fataar - Ricky Fataar) - 1:20    rating: **** stars

The title track reprise sounded like the opener, but with one of the band members holding his finger on the master tape, slowing the melody down giving it a slightly lysergic edge.  It was still a great song.




Chaplin went on to record a couple of solo albums and work as a studio and touring musician, working with the likes of The Rolling Stones.


Ricky Fataar toured with a number of acts, including Bonnie Raitt and then turned his attention to production work and acting - his best known role being the George Harrison inspired Stig O'Hara in The Beatles spoof The Rutles.


Released without permission from the band or Brother Records, in 2006 the Fallout label reissued the collection in vinyl (Fallout catalog number FOLP 2006)) and CD (Fallout catalog number FOCD2006) formats.  In spite of any claims the set was remastered, it was a straight foward needle drop recording.