Bill Harry’s Pop Talk: Sharon Tandy, the Action and the Koobas


SOUTH AFRICAN female artiste SHARON TANDY had been singing with a band in S.A. for a few years when she was discovered by FRANK FENTER who signed her to a management contract and brought her to England where she is now settled in — in a flat with pop group FLEUR DES LYS and her four pet cats ALFIE, WENDY, OY OY and LITTLE.

She became the first non-U.S. artiste to record for Atlantic Records when she flew to Memphis to record several numbers including ‘Toe Hold’, a recent British release. She says: “I was in Memphis for ten days and it was an incredible set-up. Everyone was so casual and the artistes are in the studios from the moment they wake up. They record and record, have a happy session — and the studios are very un-clinical, quite small, have a relaxed atmosphere and don’t have white walls like we have — they are dark green. Their equipment is magnificent.

“I never really had time to look about the city because I had to learn nine songs in one and a half days and record them all. I was backed by THE MAR KEYS — and the bass player drove me around ELVIS PRESLEY’S house.”

Sharon is a bit concerned about her latest release ‘Stay With Me’, which Frank Fenter recorded in this country — and which is her first disc on which she doesn’t have full orchestral backing. Concerned — only because it is so difficult for a female artiste to have chart success here. Papers may publicise female artistes because they provide attractive picture stories — but there are so few girl singers in the charts.

“A girl singer can’t cause hysteria amongst men — but the boys do it with the girls and the girls can fall in love with the men. I think it’ll always be like that, too. There’s no solution to that problem — I’ve just got to make better records, find better songs and try to get an image which will appeal to both boys and girls. But it is a difficult thing.”

Sharon will have her own 45 minute TV show in Holland in September which she received as a result of her successful appearance with the Stax tour earlier this year.

She says: “I think this is going to be a better year than I’ve had. I’ve got that feeling and my stars tell me. The last few years have been a bit of hell!”


WAS IT eighteen months or two years ago when THE ACTION seemed all set to make a big impact on our charts? They had built up a massive following in London clubs and were appearing regularly on programmes such as Ready Steady Go — then, they seemed to completely disappear from the limelight.

I met the boys in a London pub recently and they told me they had a new organist — IAN WHITEMAN, a former member of BOZ’s group. “We played music that was very popular in the clubs but our fans have changed a bit because we’ve changed our music. Lots of groups began playing the same numbers so we decided to be a bit more of ourselves and started to write our own material. We think we went as far as we could with that sort of music, although we could have kept on playing it and kept our following.”

As the group stand at the moment they say, “We are still very much at the rehearsal stage, but we’ve got lots of ideas. We appeared at the Electric Garden recently and gave a 100 whistles to the audience — and they all blew them when we had a drum solo. We did the same thing at the Marquee, but no one blew a single whistle. But we believe in audience participation.”


THE KOOBAS are currently touring Europe. They are now in Denmark following appearances in Holland and Germany where they created what the Continentals call ‘Jazz beat’. On August 24th they leave for West Berlin and then go on to Switzerland where they provide the Cabaret at no International Fashion show and appear on TV’s Hits A Go Go. The group’s next British single ‘Woe Is Love, My Dear’ is released here on September 15. The group’s manager TONY STRATTON SMITH writes to me: “As we started flowered trousers in Pop we have gone back to them for this Continental tour. I think it was a mistake ever to stop wearing them! The new ones are great, and going down — in the sense of effect! — a bomb!”

© Bill HarryRecord Mirror, 5 August 1967

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