7 March 2018

Julie Stevens - After Haggerty/ A Long Way From Home

Theatrical folkiness from - I presume - the Avengers actress and future Play School presenter

Label: Trend
Year of Release: 1971

It's an absurdly scarce record, this one, being the final single the tiny Trend label managed to put out before being compulsorily wound up in the High Court. Suffice to say, while it did get an official release, it seems unlikely that many copies were distributed or sold.

It's an interesting little single which really doesn't sound like chart-bound material, to be honest, so it's highly unlikely it would have turned the label's fortunes around. I assume that Julie Stevens is the singer and actress who also starred in The Avengers and eventually became a presenter on Play School and Playaway, and the track itself begins with a subtle jazzy backdrop as Stevens' theatrical vocal performance begins to build. It gradually becomes a strident march before dropping back into its original hushed performance, which is lyrically riddled with literary references.

The early seventies were awash with sophisticated, confidently performed and orchestrally arranged solo discs of this nature, but very few of them actually sold well, and "After Haggerty" is one of the more obscure examples. Whether you enjoy it or not will depend entirely on your feelings on such material, but Stevens' performance certainly showed that she could have cut it as a serious solo artist (and certainly West End musical star) if need be. So far as all that was concerned, she managed one more single on MCA ("Tally Man") before calling it quits. 


Arthur Nibble said...

Interesting details about Trend on the bespoke 7tt77 website. It operated from a record shop in Westbourne Grove, this label represented a tape reel whose design was ruined by manufacturer Philips' tendency to remove the middle of their singles, and Julie's single very nearly ended up on MCA instead due, I assume, to hitches behind the scenes. Indeed, Julie's next (other?) single ended up on MCA later in the year. A single by The Foundations was never released over here but became the last Trend single, issued in The Netherlands and Australia.

23 Daves said...

Yes, it's a really weird little label which I can only imagine was run in a rather naive way. There are long gaps in its release schedules, and not a lot of anything you can imagine appealing to a late sixties/ early seventies mass audience. Really, really hard to find affordable copies of singles on the label too, which is why I haven't bothered with it much on the blog until this point! I'm not sure it's worth me blowing a week's worth of booze money on an Almond Marzipan single (no disrespect intended to anyone from Almond Marzipan who may be reading this comment).