15 July 2020

Rich Fever - Song of a Sad Man/ Island Dreams

Obscure, intense seventies ballad from the mysterious Rich Fever

Label: Parlophone
Year of Release: 1971

Another puzzler to add to my long list of woes. Rich Fever had three singles out on Parlophone in the early seventies, which should theoretically have been enough major label exposure to ensure someone had logged some memories of him/them somewhere. But no! While their last single, an Elton/Taupin composition "Seasons", is hugely collectible these days and their first effort "Everything's Moving" gets a bit of popsike love, actual firm facts about them are hard to come by.

So far as I can gather they were a group rather than an artist, with Jeff Long and Dudley Smith acting as principle songwriters. Their records are a mixed bag indeed, ranging from the shimmering pop of the aforementioned "Everything's Moving" to the orchestral angst of this single, which I can only assume is autobiographical; at least, the lyrical theme appears to be a man's relationship in its death throes because the object of his romantic attentions cannot accept that he just has to spend a lot of his life dealing with his music. Not exactly a topic likely to appeal to the man or woman on the Clapham Omnibus, who were probably confronted with different relationship issues at the time - such as not being beautiful enough, or being too much of a scruff around the house - but it's balanced, lacking in self-pity and touching in the way these straightforward sentiments often are. Not the kind of material hits are made of, which makes it very surprising it became an A-side, but its towering arrangement suggests EMI were hoping for a "Bridge Over Troubled Water" styled smash.

After the failure of their third single, where their own self-penned efforts got ditched in favour of one of Elton's, Parlophone seem to have solved the problem of their music careers getting in the way of relationships by dropping them, and I can't find any trace of either member being involved in other groups or projects from that point on. The fact that they do seem to be causing collector's ears to prick up these days may be of some consolation, though. 

1 comment:

Jim M said...

Dudley Smith resurfaced under the name Leigh Stirling in the late 1970s. His discography includes the album 'In the Wings' (1980) and singles 'Piano Man' and 'Delightful Delores'. His nephew is now curating collections 'The Legend of Leigh Stirling' vols I and II which are available online.