24 March 2021

Offered With Very Little Comment #9 - Norman and The Invaders, Fourth Company, The Sportsmen, Fluff, Brandin Iron


Five 45s long waiting for their moment on the blog

It's time again for me to flick through my vinyl to-do pile and upload a bunch of tunes which may or may not be of interest to readers. Whatever you feel about these, though, I honestly couldn't think of much to write about them.

Crate digging in second-hand shops or even delving deep into the listings on eBay or Discogs for mysterious sounding records is usually a gamble. For every single you find which has a long, fascinating story behind it, there's usually another one where the individuals behind it just cannot be traced, or one that seems so run-of-the-mill that I end up losing the will to make the effort to dig up more information.

All these singles are fairly scarce and unique, though, and probably interesting to the average collector.

If you're struggling to preview them, they can all be found here


Artist: Norman and the Invaders
Single: Stacey/ Our Wedding Day
Label:United Artists
Year of Release: 1963

Norman & The Invaders were a group name adopted by composer, arranger and conductor Norman Percival, seemingly for his television soundtrack singles. We've already covered his versions of "Night Train To Surbiton" and "The Likely Lads" on this blog, and here we have the theme from the sixties comedy series "Stacey" which featured Hattie Jacques as a private detective.


Artist: Fourth Company
Single: Matrimony/ Your Life
Label: MAM
Year of Release: 1972

 This single is a cover of Gilbert O'Sullivan's track, although why MAM released the mysterious Fourth Company's version of it when Gilbert's was already there for the taking - and was issued as a single in 1971 in many countries on the continent - is something I can't quite explain.

Artist: The Sportsmen
Single: I Miss You (When I Kiss You)/ If It's Love
Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1966

When I bought this one, I did wonder whether it would turn out to be a novelty single put together by a random assortment of football players, athletes and equestrians, but The Sportsmen do seem to have been an actual proper group.

Both these sides are pleasant, light and easy-on-the-ears ballads. We know that Paul Craig, who later issued the solo single "Midnight Girl" in 1966, was a member, but beyond that nothing much.

This group are also not related to the US barbershop quartet of the same name.

Artist: Fluff
Single: Dance Dance Dance
Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1971

The topside here is a barn dance hoe-down cover of Neil Young's track, whereas the "Young" credited on the flip is Georgie Young of The Easybeats working with Harry Vanda (aka Vandenberg). This sounds very much like it was probably the work of a studio group, though the group did pop out another single on Decca in 1972 ("Let's Get Back Together" with a version of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" on the B-side, which I'd be curious to hear).

Artist: Brandin Iron
Single: What Am I Doing Hanging Around
Label: Flair
Year of Release: 197?

Flair Records were a country/ folk label who put out a number of records throughout the seventies but had the eccentric habit of failing to put any dates on their record labels, leaving collectors scratching their heads about what was released and when. While this single was probably released in the seventies, you're getting no information from me at all on who Brandin Iron were, because I haven't a clue.

The A-side here is an interesting cover of a Monkees track.


Arthur Nibble said...

Ernest Maxin, who wrote that Norman and the Invaders single, was a very well known BBC TV producer who worked on shows for Dick Emery, Les Dawson, and Morecambe and Wise amongst others.

The chap who runs the bespoke 7tt77 website can't throw any definite light on the release years of Flair records as none he's bought have a date on them, but he's done some research and is quietly confident the single you've shown was issued in either 1974 or 1975.

albert1946 said...

Superb David !!

Thank you so much


23 Daves said...

Thanks Albert.

And Arthur - if that's what the 7tt77 website says, I bet that's right. He's very rarely wrong.

Tulloch said...

Brandin Iron sound very much like a showband, I'd probably guess at Gloucestershire or the Midlands. Much enjoyed your fiveforthepriceofone!!

Andrew said...

Fluff were from Shropshire. They appeared on Opportunity Knocks in January 1970. Band members were Chris Wallace from Donnington, David Archer, Gerry Ward, and Alan Millington, all from Dawley, and Mick Skinner from Trench. They morphed into the group 'Ironbridge' whose only LP was reissued on CD by AngelAir.