FANCY – Wild Thing – (Atlantic) – 1974

what Frank is listening to #153 – FANCY – Wild Thing – (Atlantic) – 1974
thought I wouldn't have to spend too much brain time on this album as I thought it was going to be totally frivolous and disposable. Having said that "frivolous and disposable" can be endearing when it unintentionally transcends itself.
This doesn't transcend itself but it's not frivolous or disposable. Having said that it's not particularly memorable either. Importantly though, it doesn't offend and occasionally surprises.
"Fancy" is a manufactured group from start to finish. English producer Mike Hurst (formerly of folk popsters The Springfields) apparently had a "dream" of covering the Chip Taylor written, Troggs hit from 1966, "Wild Thing", for the 70s. He knew he could get away with a lot more innuendo than Reg Presley did in the 60s and he knew there was a market for this. England in the early to mid 70s was all disco, glam, sex, black divas, Adventures of a Taxi Driver, Barbara Windsor's norks, fwoarhhh, Benny Hill, Carry On films, decadence and hairy muff. In other world possibly the greatest era in English pop cultural history. Does the Swinging 60s really stack up against Barbara Windsor's norks of the 70s?
Hurst collected a group of musicians and session musicians with a view to covering the title track, which they did. When that track became a hit this album was rushed out to cash in.
Helen Court (or Caunt) a former Penthouse Pet (yes, seriously, with that name) sang on the "Wild Thing" single …a nd I assume that is the track on this album. For the remainder of the songs she was replaced (presumably because she couldn't sing – her "Wild Thing" vocals was heavy breathing punctuated by a series, of moans, cries of ecstasy and occasional suggestive words which fit the song perfectly but probably would not sustain a whole album) by British born Australian Annie Cavanagh (who had been doing backing vocals on stage in Godspell). Cavanagh sings in the soul funk bluesy rock diva style of the 70s.
Other members were:
  • Ray Fenwick – guitar and backing vocals – ex Spencer Davis Group and Tee-Set and future Ian Gillan Band member, who co-wrote most of the songs with Hurst.
  • Henry Spinetti – drums – who I assume only plays on "Wild Thing" – otherwise he was a session man extraordinaire to Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Gerry Rafferty, George Harrison, Roger Daltrey, Andy Fairweather-Low, Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Willie & the Poor Boys, Bonnie Tyler, and Procol Harum etc.
  • Les Brinks – drums –  ex Headstone, Alvin Stardust Band and future member of Judas Priest.
  • Mo Foster – Bass – ex Affinity and session muso legend.
  • Alan Hawkshaw – keyboards – former Emile Ford & His Checkmates and session muso to Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand, and Olivia Newton-John etc and future member of camp disco act "Love & Kisses".
The album is well played, as you would expect given the musicians, and the music here is equal parts disco, bluesy rock and glam rock. It's as if Suzi Quatro was singing Donna Summer and I have no problems with any of that as I love Suzi Quattro (aaaah to be a kid in the 70s again) but the glam rock / disco melange is for small spoon tasting only as a little of this goes a long way.
So why are the band remembered?
Probably because "Wild Thing" is a particularly funny piece of Euro trash and the band had that and another Top 20 hit in the US ("Touch Me") and in a 250+ million person marketplace that means those hits were very big. (Lets put it this way : The Smiths, Blur and The Jam never even had any Top 40s in the US)
Impressive as that is it was also done without any substantial promotion. The single did not even chart in England (and neither did its follow up). "Wild Thing" was a bona fide hit made by the public.
Tracks (best in italics)
  • Wild Thing  – Taylor  –  downright stoopid but perfectly agreeable – a 70s companion piece to "Je T'aime" Serge Gainsborough and Jane Birkin.
  • Love for Sale – Fenwick, Hurst  –  The singing here in a bluesy rock style is a million miles removed (for the better) from the last track though the song itself is not as good.
  • Move On  – Fenwick, Hurst  –  mid-era Status Quo but more gentle with lead vocals by Fenwick (I assume).
  • I Don't Need Your Love   – Fenwick, Hurst  – 
  • One Night  – Bartholomew, King, Steiman  – the Elvis hit from 1958 and quite a suggestive song even in the Elvis cleaned up version. Elvis did sing the original Smiley Lewis blues lyric, "One Night (of Sin)" but that remained unreleased until after his death.
  • Touch Me  –  Fenwick, Hurst  –  ahhh ode to a songwriter … nothing like writing your own music …
            In the night, in the city
            Alone in my room, all alone
            Touch me
            Ooh, I get the feeling
            Touch me
            Ooh, it feels good
            Touch me
            Yeah, I get the feeling
            Touch me good
  • U.S. Surprise  – Fenwick, Hurst  – 
  • Between the Devil and Me  – Fenwick, Hurst  –  a Bo Diddley rip off.
  • I'm a Woman  – Leiber, Stoller  –  The famous Leiber & Stoller song sung originally by Christine Kittrell in the early 60s but popularised by Peggy Lee.
  • I Feel Good  – Fenwick, Hurst  –
And … 

Tape a couple and sell.   

Chart Action
"Wild Thing" #14US, failed to chart in England.
"Touch Me" #19US, failed to chart in England.
failed to chart US and England.
A second album "Turns You On" followed in 1976 – it bombed also.
Wild Thing  

Love for Sale
I Don't Need Your Love 

One Night    
Touch Me   

I Feel Good 
(originally posted: 11/04/2010)

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at Cheers
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