The Sidekicks – Fifi the Flea (1966/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 29:44 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | © RCA Records
The Redcoats were an American garage rock band formed in Wildwood, New Jersey, in 1964. Heavily influenced by the Beatles from the onset, the group released one single as the Redcoats before recording as the Sidekicks. As the Sidekicks, the band earned a national hit with their tune, “Suspicions”, and recorded an album in 1966. Although it is rare for recently discovered recordings by a garage band to be released on an album, in 2001 Meet the Redcoats! Finally was issued with all of the group’s recovered material.
The Redcoats, if the label notes to the 2001 compilation Meet the Redcoats! Finally are to be believed, were an extremely Beatlesque band that formed in Wildwood, NJ, in 1964. Just one single, “Love Unreturned”/”The Dum Dum Song,” was released on a small New York label. However, those two tracks and ten other songs were issued on Meet the Redcoats! Finally. Comprised wholly of original material, the material is pretty fair pseudo-Beatles in both their Merseybeat and Magical Mystery Tour phases, not to mention their Revolver and Beatles for Sale ones, too. Of course, it’s not remotely like the real thing, but neither is it embarrassing or unenjoyable.
Steven Rappaport’s liner notes for Meet the Redcoats! Finally are the prime source for information on the band, and leave some holes in the story. When future Redcoats drummer John Spirit was 16 in 1963, he sang on the Top 20 novelty hit “Martian Hop” by the Ran-Dells, which he co-wrote with the record’s producer, Rappaport. After the Beatles hit, Spirit joined a band that also included bassist Randy Bocelle, rhythm guitarist Zack Bocelle, and lead guitarist Mike Burke. Spirit and Burke were co-writers of the Redcoats’ original material, and some studio recordings were produced by Rappaport. Their 1965 single matched a Merseybeat-ish ballad, “Love Unreturned,” with the extremely Herman & the Hermits-like “The Dum Dum Song,” and only received airplay in southern New Jersey.
Rappaport produced other gutsier songs for the band, but couldn’t get them a recording deal (some of those tracks appear on Meet the Redcoats! Finally). After Rappaport ended his association with the group, he wrote in his notes, they got tied to a ten-year management contract with a society woman. They did use money from that deal to finance some more recordings, a few of which also appear on Meet the Redcoats! Finally. Again, according to Rappaport’s notes, the Redcoats did record a released album using a different name, none of their songs, and only session musicians on the instruments, although the name of the band, the album, and for that matter the manager aren’t named in those notes. Unsurprisingly, the Redcoats got no further before splitting. The blatantly Beatles-derived material on the CD is more promise than fulfillment, but it’s pretty good as far as extremely Beatles-like ’60s rock goes. –Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger
1 Suspicions 02:34
2 Up on the Roof 02:37
3 You’re a Girl 02:13
4 More (Theme from “Mondo Cane”) 02:28
5 Not Now 02:40
6 Ask Your Friend 02:36
7 Fifi the Flea 02:37
8 Sight and Sound 02:25
9 Out of the Dark 02:27
10 He’s My Friend 02:23
11 The Best Things 02:01
12 Ollie Wong (The Same) 02:38
Zach Bochelle, lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Randy Bochelle, bass guitar
Mike Burke, lead guitar, vocals
John Spirit, drums
Jimmie Wisner, arranged, conductor