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The Flames – Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group

August 26, 2010

The Flames -For Your Precious Love 1968

“For Your Precious Love” is a song written by Arthur Brooks, Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler, and performed by Butlers’ group The Impressions in 1958. It was released as a single on Vee-Jay Records and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Best Sellers in Stores and Top 100 charts. The song was ranked as the 327th greatest song of all-time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004.

The 1968 version in South Africa by Durban group, The Flames, reached the top spot on the local charts and has been considered a classic in the country ever since. Here are the lyrics of the song, covered by Otis Redding. The adaption of the song as performed by The Flames can be heard in this post.

For Your Precious Love

For your precious love means more to me

Than any love could ever be

For when I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue

For that’s what love will do

Darling, I’m so surprised,

Oh, when I first realized

That you were fooling me

Darling, they say that our love won’t grow

I just want to tell them that they don’t know

For as long as you, long as you are loving me

Our love will grow wider, deeper than any sea

And all the things in the world, in this whole wide world

Is just that you would say that you’d be my girl

(Wanting you) Wanting you,

(I’m lonely and blue) Whoa, lonely

That’s what love will do

For your precious love means more to me

Than any love could ever be

For when I, I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue

That’s what love will do

 ladies & gentlemen, here are The Flames!!

like most good posts on these pages this story starts with finding a 45 in a dusty garage somewhere in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. That was the beginning. Later on, I unearthed a battered album called ‘Soulfire!!’  that was still playable. But what a sound! And what a history!!

The Flames 1965 Debonair magazine

Soul ballads,  danceable tunes with the odd sitar thrown in the mix, pyschedelic pop with strong vocals by singers Steve Fataar,  Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin; elements that  made me search for the perfect copy of their album ‘Soulfire!!’. Finally, in a warehouse somewhere in Durban (thanks Chris) I found a SEALED MINT copy of this rare gem. Now, that’s what you’ve got friends for!!!

But my search went on…

The Flames 1968 Drum magazine

All members of The Flames were born and raised in Durban, a huge melting pot, the third biggest city of South Africa in the Natal province. The city, along the Indian Ocean,  has the biggest Indian population outside Bombay and together with the Zulu native peoples and white merchants they build beautiful Durban; a harbor, a hub of frantic action and endless urban development. In the 50’s Durban’s coastline was famous for it’s scenic beauty and soon became a coastal resort, attracting many holiday makers and retired permanent residents.

The Flames -If You Think You’re Groovy 1968


‘Soulfire!!’ is without a doubt a masterpiece of South African soul music. From 1964 until 1967  the line-up consisted of  Steve Fataar on guitar, Brother Fataar on bass, Ricky Fataar on drums and vocalist Edries Fredericks on guitar. This was the lineup that produced the first two albums, and more singles. Edries left the Flames after having sung lead on both these albums. He  was briefly replaced by Baby Duval in 1967. The same year  the group was joined by Blondie Chaplin. He can be heard as lead singer on the single ‘For Your Precious Love’ released in 1968.  Together with  Ricky Fataar he became a  full member of the American super group The Beach Boys from 1971 to 1973, during which time the albums ‘So Tough’, ‘Holland’ and ‘In Concert’ were made and released.  Ricky Fataar also did session drumming for other records by individual Beach Boys members.

When The Flames arrived in the United States in 1970 at the invitation of Al Jardine and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys, they changed their name to The Flame, since there was competition from reggae  group The Flames and James Brown’s own The Famous Flames. They started writing new material; powerful rockers, ballads, mood pieces  and symphonic masterpieces that got a release on Brother, a local Nashville, Tennessee record label. The album was produced by Carl Wilson and it must be their rarest release ever,  since it was distributed only locally in the beginning. Later on it was released in Uruguay, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada.

The Flame -Brother Fataar, Mike Love, Steve Fataar, Carl Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Dennis Wilson Ricky Fataar, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin-photograph courtesy of the Lee Dempsey Collection

‘Burning Soul’ and ‘Soulfire!!’ however, remain The Flames best known commercial albums. These have been re-issued many times over the years, mainly in South Africa, although ‘Burning Soul’ was released in Australia as well as in the UK.   Their music still stands the test of time.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Soulfire!! (mono edition)
label & number: Rave RMG 1234
date: April 1968

this article contains excerpts and pics courtesy of The Flames official website by Bas Möllenkramer.

the flames promo pic from compilation 'It's Happening 1967' . Fontana Records SA

the flames promo pic from compilation ‘It’s Happening 1967′ . Fontana Records SA


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37 comments

  1. nice post eddie! we will try and see if we can back you up sometime soon with a follow-up flames post – “soul meeting” with: una valli with the flames and the peanut butter conspiracy … best wishes from Durban. Chris


    • Marvellous! I never was aware that The Flames played at one of the grandest stages of them al: the Whisky a Go-Go. I’d like to get hold of the recording cos it deserves place in any music lover’s cabinet! Thanks for the post.


  2. Ricky Fataar was also a member of the TV Beatles parody group “The Rutles”.


  3. I was wondering if there were any live shows recorded?


    • You can visit the official website of The Flames, mentioned in this post and see if there are any live shows. I am sure there are.


    • There is a bootleg recording of a live show at the Whisky A Go-Go from Nov. 70, where the Flame opened and closed the show for the Beach Boys. It’s a poor quality recording, but worth finding. The last song is a re-write of the Traffic song John Barleycorn, where the lyrics are about the Flame’s journey to the west.


      • thanks for the update. Interesting enough to check out finding that record. Another item on my wishlist…


  4. The Flames -For Your Precious Love 1968

    seems there’s just few seconds(241 KB) of this track

    wonderfully informative post


    • hi Henri,

      I just checked the mp3 but the full track plays perfectly for me so I don’t see the problem.
      Maybe some server-connection? The mp3 is on WordPress so it should work without fault (I hope)

      Eddy@SoulSafari


  5. Ik had a short love affair with the beautifull Brother/Brotha Fataat. He did with the Nicky James Band the tour with the Moody Blues. i did work in an shop near the hotel of the band. John Weather did invite me and my friend/collega to visit the concert in Ahoy. I did, we did stay backstage with lot of other friends of the band. And I did fall in love with Brother. We wrote letters. I was 16, and he 20+ I think. I did search him on internet 4 years ago and you can’t imagine how in a deep shock I was when I red that he sadly past away in ’78 in Amsterdam!! All those years I did live with a never finished love affair, all those years he was leaving in my mind. Did have childeren, was he happy or not? Will I ever meet him or not etc… And then there is internet, I searched and I found the sentence: he sadly passed away in A dam. Is there some one who can tell what’s happened. Because I did search Brotha I found alsoo his history: the flames” fantastic. Love to his brothers Kindly regards Jacqueline Rotterdam Holland


    • thanks for sharing these wonderful memories.


  6. I just finished Ketih Richards’ book – and Blondie is a kind of a right hand man to him – has been for years. He even came for an SA visit with Blondie in the late 90s.


    • I know, I just finished reading Keith’s “Life”as well. I even heard from local musicians here that Blondie still regurarly works with The Stones


  7. i would like to buy some cds bout the flames but cant seem to find anything. Any suggestions?


    • Fresh Music of South Africa proudly announces the first ever official CD release of these two magnificent albums by the Flames. Soon after Blondie Chaplin joined the Flames in 1967, these two superb albums were recorded. On these albums the Flames show their total mastery in covering a wide range of powerful soul classics and writing their own original material.

      http://www.the-flames.com/


  8. Hi,

    Can someone please put up on Youtube the song by the Flames – “One of these days” – flip side of ‘Don’t play that song”

    Thanks,
    Rob.


  9. It´S fantastik a very cool and deepest letters
    congatioletions for the album hold but nice


  10. Thanks for the post and the mp3s! But you should know that the Flame album was released on the Brother label, which was the Beach Boys own company, named for the 3 Wilson brothers. The album has been released on CD, so get a copy!


  11. thanks for the info about the flames.Our band,the Playboys from Pretoria,South Africa,used to have live shows with them in the sixties.


    • always a pleasure to see reactions as yours. I’ve never heard anything by The Playboys from Pretoria. What sort of music were you guys into??
      Anything interesting to share is always welcome. Eddy@SoulSafari


  12. All I can say is a big Thank You for all those wonderful memories. Those were the times, as they say.


  13. As a group Promoting Music and Television from South Africa, I find your blog pretty interesting, “Musical Mover & Shaker! Coldplay. South African Tour. 2011” I will keep checking for additions.
    Well written, thank you :-)

    http://www.africanmusic24.com & http://www.africantv24.com


  14. Thank you so much for the memories.


  15. I was living in S.A that time, boy did we dance on ththere music. Best band of those days


  16. Hi
    Where on the webcan I buy the album “For your precious love” please


  17. Hola! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!


    • Your comments are appreciated, keep visiting.


  18. Hi, please advise where I can obtin the lyrics of “For Your Precious Love” of the Flames.

    Thanks. Ferdie


    • * adapted by The Flames

      OTIS REDDING
      For Your Precious Love

      For your precious love means more to me
      Than any love could ever be
      For when I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue
      For that’s what love will do
      Darling, I’m so surprised,
      Oh, when I first realized
      That you were fooling me
      Darling, they say that our love won’t grow
      I just want to tell them that they don’t know
      For as long as you, long as you are loving me
      Our love will grow wider, deeper than any sea
      And all the things in the world, in this whole wide world
      Is just that you would say that you’d be my girl
      (Wanting you) Wanting you,
      (I’m lonely and blue) Whoa, lonely
      That’s what love will do
      For your precious love means more to me
      Than any love could ever be
      For when I, I wanted you I was so lonely and so blue
      That’s what love will do


      • Thanks, but if you listen to the song, there is quit a lot that goes before it.

        It starts with

        “Into each life a little rain must fall
        Every day can’t be Sunday …..

        Cab someone help me please???


      • Thanks, but I am requesting the lyrics as sung by The Flames – It starts with “Into each life ….

        Can someone out there help please?


      • Pls mail me copy of ‘for your precious love.’ Can’t find it here in Namibia


  19. Every day can’t be Sunday and every tear that’s shed’s not a tear of joy. Now listen, and maybe Blondie will give you a better understanding of what I’m trying to say….


    • great. This is exactly the spoken intro of ‘for your precious love’. Thanks for your contribution



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