16 January 2019

The Secrets - Sha La Ley/ Runway Run Away

Smooth and very catchy seventies pop from unknown group

Label: Spark
Year of Release: 1972

Friends, sometimes finding suitable records for this blog is hard. Knowing where the next drops of 'groovy gravy' (as surely nobody has ever called recorded music) are coming from is tricky. Sometimes you get lucky and have an avalanche of obscurities falling into your hands in one month. Other times it's a barren crop; and it does have to be said, the weeks just preceding and following Christmas do tend to be some of the trickiest. Record shops don't tend to get a lot of donations then, and ebay sellers tend to have other things on their mind.

It's brilliant that reader Daniel Williams got in touch with me last month to ask whether I'd be interested in some needle-drops of a few singles he'd found, then, not least because one of them - this one - had been on my wants list for awhile. He's obviously much better at Christmas surprises than anyone in my family. 

The A side here is a lovely piece of light bubblegum boogie which bears a very faint resemblance to The Sweet's "Co-Co" stylistically. The flip is seemingly a bit of a cast-off, having a very cheap sounding mono mix (ignore that "Stereo" stamp on the label, it's lying to you) and if I didn't know better, I'd assume it was a demo recording taking up the spare space.

Please don't ask me who the hell the band were, though. There was an American group called The Secrets in the sixties, and also the Clifford T Ward lead Secrets on CBS in the same era, but I'm 99.9% certain this release has nothing to do with either of those. There was also a Dutch group called The Secrets in the early seventies who put out a number of 45s, but there's nothing to suggest this is them either - this wasn't released in the Netherlands, and neither of the songwriters credited here ever had anything to do with them.

In fact, there have been many, many groups called The Secrets over the years, and I'm quite confident this is just one more to add to the ever-teetering pile. If anyone knows who they were, put us out of our misery by commenting. 

To confuse things still further, it looks as if this single got a second crack at the charts seven months later when it was reissued on RAK with the new flipside "I Like Your Style" - but once again, it failed to sell, and it would seem the group's recording career came to a halt afterwards.

(I've borrowed the images for this single from the 45Cat website. I hope that the contributor who scanned them, Corporal Clegg, doesn't mind).


Doctor Gaz said...

that's a coincidence, I was wading through my wants list yesterday and came across this song on Clegg's YT channel - only 5 views so far

Michael Alden said...

Pretty good bubblegum a-side.

Pete said...

Actually, this was a UK group, nothing to do with another UK band of the same name in the 70s.
This single was released in November 1972 on Spark Records and re-released June 1973 for RAK.