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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The amazing Evie Sands...........

Evie Sands (aka "The best singer you never heard of..."...such a cruel twist of fate that she isn't as famous as so many that had less than half of her talent.)

Evie Sands is a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter and guitarist, whose career began as a young teenager in the mid-1960s. After several close calls throughout the rest of the decade, and a thoroughly hard time at the hands of the record industry, she eventually saw chart action in 1969, before mostly forgoing live performance in 1979 to concentrate on writing and production. She experienced a fashionable, Brit-led surge in cult popularity beginning in the 1990s and returned to live performance in mid-1998. Sands is still actively recording and performing today.

Evie Sands was born in Brooklyn, New York, to music-loving parents, and fulfilled sooner than expected her mother's intuition that "this baby will come out singing", cutting her first singles by her mid-teens: "The Roll / My Dog" (ABC 10458/1963), "Danny Boy" "I Love You So" /"I Was Moved". (Gold 215/ 1964). In 1965 Sands signed to the Blue Cat label of legendary Red Bird Records; she toured with Red Bird star act the Shangri-Las and began a lasting collaboration with the producer/composers Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni with the release of the single "Take Me For a Little While" (written by Trade Martin). Prior to its release, a test pressing of Sands' recording was stolen by a Chicago-based producer, who shopped it to established Chess Records recording artist Jackie Ross, who was coming off the major pop/soul hit "Selfish One". Ross — who was unaware of the duplicity involved, and who left Chess shortly afterwards — and her producers loved the song, and recorded, pressed and released the record within 48 hours, beating Sands' version to the street by a week. Backed by the marketing and promotional muscle of Chess Records, and with Ross' name attached, this version unsurprisingly received the lion's share of airplay. The subsequent legal struggle set back Sands' young career before it had had a chance to get started. By the time Chess withdrew the Ross single from the marketplace, Sands' version would only break through in the few cities (like Los Angeles) that had thus far stayed 'on the fence', waiting to see which version to play.

Sands' follow-up single, "I Can't Let Go", was lost amidst the post "Take Me" chaos, leaving Brit invaders The Hollies clear to score a hit cover in the spring of 1966. That same year, Sands debuted on Cameo-Parkway Records and would continue the pattern of songs introduced by Sands becoming successful for other artists, when in 1967, Sands' latest single, the Chip Taylor-penned "Angel of the Morning", got caught up in label's business problems. Despite the single being one of the most-requested radio songs wherever played, and the initial 10,000 copies selling out, the label's pending bankruptcy aborted the record's potential success; a few months later, the unknown Merrilee Rush would score a Top Ten single with the song. Sands' last single release on Cameo-Parkway was "Billy Sunshine" in January 1968, the tracking reaching Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart before Cameo's demise. 
In 1969 Sands scored with the A&M single "Any Way That You Want Me", a Chip Taylor composition previously recorded by both the American Breed and the Troggs in 1966. A No. 1 hit in Birmingham, Alabama, Sands' "Anyway That You Want Me" also reached the Top Ten or better in Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Texas, San Diego, California, and a number of other cities; it reached No. 53 Billboard Hot 100, tying Don Ho's "Tiny Bubbles" for longevity among 1960s singles failing to reach that chart's top 50 (at 17 weeks), and eventual sales are estimated at 500,000 units. Sands' debut album, also named Any Way That You Want Me, was released on A&M in 1970, several months after the single had peaked. Evie made her recorded debut as a songwriter on the album with "It's This I Am" - covered years later by Beck and Beth Orton, respectively.

A Sands album to be produced by Val Garay for Buddah Records was announced in March 1971 but did not come to fruition: rather the 1975 release Estate of Mind on the Capitol Records Haven label ended Sands' five-year absence from recording. Produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, the album marked Sands' continuing as a songwriter, also collaborating with Richard Germinaro and veteran songwriter Ben Weisman. Two tracks from the album, Lambert and Potter's "You Brought The Woman Out Of Me" and the Sands-Weisman-Germinaro collaboration "I Love Makin' Love To You", both approached major hit status. They wound up peaking at No. 50, with Sands would see the latter included on the ButterFly album by Barbra Streisand. Several other Sands songs from the "Estate of Mind" album were also covered by a number of artists, including Dionne Warwick, Dobie Gray, Dusty Springfield, Frankie Valli, Gladys Knight, Arthur Prysock, The Manhattans, Cher/Greg Allman, Jose Feliciano and Phyllis Hyman.

After a final 1976 single release on Haven: a remake of "The Way You Do the Things You Do", Sands next release was on RCA who issued the album Suspended Animation - produced by Sands and Michael Stewart - in the spring of 1979; Sands had actually begun working with co-producer Michael Stewart in May 1977. The album's musicians included Toto members David Hungate, Steve Lukather and Greg Phillinganes and also Lee Ritenour and Buzz Feiten and the vocalists backing Sands included Toto frontman Bobby Kimball, Bill Champlin of Chicago and - on the track "Lady of the Night" - Dusty Springfield. Despite its prestigious personnel Suspended Animation didn't make a real chart impact for its single releases and Sands focused mostly on writing and production in the music business for almost twenty years. As with her previous album, a few of the songs were covered by several artists, including Helen Reddy, Linda Clfford, June Pointer, The Weather Girls and Shirley Bassey. Karen Carpenter recorded two songs for her solo album, but they remained unreleased.

In late 1996, Sands went to see Chip Taylor perform at a club gig and he invited her onstage to perform with him. Despite not having kept actively in touch through the previous years, the experience was so successful that the two re-ignited their collaboration - along with Al Gorgoni, resulting in the critically acclaimed Women In Prison LP, which was released in 1999 (and again in 2000) on Taylor's Train Wreck records. A more rootsy project than the blue-eyed soul of her late 1960s-70s output, the album consisted of various Sands-Taylor-Gorgoni originals, including a duet with Lucinda Williams on the track "Cool Blues Story". Several tracks fared well on UK/Euro indie charts. After the reconnection with Taylor, Sands returned to performing in 1998. Sands and Taylor did some shows in the UK and Europe when the album was released, including London, Glasgow, Brussels and several dates in Holland.

Evie's earlier albums have recently been made available on CD. Suspended Animation, Any Way That You Want Me, and Estate of Mind were first reissued in Japan in 2001 and 2003. Any Way... and Estate... were reissued again in September 2005 and June 2006 respectively, on the Cherry Red sublabel Rev-Ola in the United Kingdom. Evie can currently be found performing her own solo material as well as performing as the lead guitar player in eclectic Los Angeles based group, Adam Marsland's Chaos Band. Her most recent recorded appearance is on that band's 2007 live CD Long Promised Road: Songs of Dennis and Carl Wilson, on which she sings several lead vocals, including the first-ever released recording of Dennis Wilson's "Wouldn't It Be Nice to Live Again." She also did extensive vocal and guitar work on Marsland's 2009 double CD Go West, including lead vocals on one track.

Artists who have recorded versions of Evie Sands' songs include Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Karen Carpenter, Arthur Prysock, Juice Newton, Linda Ronstadt, and Dusty Springfield, who went on record citing Sands as "my favourite female singer" and in fact recorded backing vocals on "Lady of the Night", a cut from Sands' Suspended Animation LP. She also has a popular following, and huge respect, amongst Northern Soul fans. Similarly to Springfield, who underwent a British-led return to popularity in the late-1980s, Sands saw a burgeoning cult following build around her when a new wave of pre-grunge British indie bands sang her praises and recorded her songs. Amongst these were Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits, and Spiritualized, whose first single was a version of "Any Way That You Want Me". Later on, Belle and Sebastian also declared themselves fans, performing with Evie on her first trip to Europe, whilst she was promoting the Women In Prison album.

Some of Sands' songs have become hit singles in their cover versions, most notably "I Can't Let Go" (The Hollies in 1966 and Linda Ronstadt in 1980) and "Angel of the Morning" (Merrilee Rush in 1968 and Juice Newton in 1981).

Karen Carpenter recorded a version of "I Love Makin' Love to You" in 1980 with producer Phil Ramone intended for her solo debut album; however, the song did not make the final cut for the album (perhaps due to the song's suggestive lyrics), and the album was not released until well after Carpenter's death. In the Karen Carpenter biography Little Girl Blue by Randy L. Schmidt, Evie Sands is quoted as saying she liked Carpenter's version: "When I heard Karen was going to cover it, I imagined her take on it would be similar to mine or closer to the mellow Barbra Streisand version. It turned out to be a perfect blend of both." (Little Girl Blue, p. 203) The track has since surfaced on the Internet and can be downloaded on YouTube, though it still has yet to be released on an album.

In more recent years, Peter Kember, aka Sonic Boom, from the band Spacemen 3, from whose ashes rose Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, also included Sands' original of "I Can't Let Go" on the Spacelines album, which compiled a varied selection of his favourite songs and influences. He even admits to lifting the middle eight of the song for his own "How You Satisfy Me" for his Spectrum project. Both Beck and Beth Orton have covered Sands' "It's This I Am I Find".

The Curse of Evie Sands, indeed......pity.....if you've never heard her, you should.....really.

And, on that note...........Ms. Evie Sands. Enjoy! :)

A Woman's Work Is Never Done
Angel Of The Morning
Any Way That You Want Me
Billy Sunshine
But You Know I Love You
Carolina In My Mind
Close Your Eyes, Cross Your Fingers 
Crazy Annie
I Can't Let Go
I Love Makin' Love To You
I Was Moved
I'll Hold Out My Hand  
I'll Never Be Alone Again
It Makes Me Laugh
It's this I am
Keep my lovelight burning
Lady of the Night
Love In The Afternoon
Maybe Tomorrow
One Fine Summer Morning
One Thing On My Mind
Picture Me Gone
Run Home to Your Mama
Shadow Of The Evening
Take It or Leave It
Take Me For A Little While (version 1) 1965
Take Me For A Little While 1969
The Roll
Until It's Time For You To Go
Yesterday Cant Hurt Me 
You Can Do It
You've Got Me Uptight
Dig the ubiquitous Blossoms with Darlene Love on back up vox!! :)


  1. Barberella, your thorough (written) introduction to Ms. Sands, and the accompanying videos, just rocked my world! My goodness,on her own, "I Can't Let Go", she mops the floor with Doris Troy & Linda Ronstadt!
    The woman doesn't have that pleasing little smile on her face that the directors likely forced on them back then. There's a real fount of intense, earthy emotion, bordering on smouldering, volcanic anger(!)
    I'm not so much a fan of 'belters', but Evie's got a lot more than that goin' on!
    Great post:)

  2. Glad you liked it....Although I must add that I only think some of her early stuff were "belters"....her style evolved in an interesting way, methinks....

  3. Well that just gets me goin':)))
    Think I'll try to pick up on that within the generous playlist you provided. Thank you again!

  4. Please, re-upload Evie! Thank you.

  5. Please, please, please. I will love to hear Evie, but link is dead.
    Can you re-upload it?
    Thank you.

  6. Megaupload is dead for long time!