I’m willing to be corrected, as I know there’s a few of you out there who know far more about the band than I ever will, but here’s my stab at a bio for The Darling Buds, drawn and compiled from a few sources.

They formed in South Wales in 1986 – in Caerleon to be precise, a fact I’m well aware of as I was previously advised by a Welsh friend that Caerleon is most certainly distinct from Newport.   Consisting of the 19-year-old Andrea Lewis, billed simply as “Andrea”, guitarist Geraint Farr, billed as “Harley”, and a bassist known simply as Simon, the drumming was originally performed by a machine, which may indeed have been manufactured by Eko, but I can’t say for certain.

The group’s debut single, “If I Said”, was self-released in February 1987 and was well-received. The group moved to Native Records, during which time the line-up was re-organised, with Andrea and Harley being joined by new bassist Chris McDonagh and drummer Richard Gray (billed as “Bloss”) and two singles were released.

Signing with Epic Records (part of the Sony Group) in 1988, they cracked the charts with Burst (#50) and Hit The Ground (#27) in advance of a Top 30 debut LP, Pop Said in January 1989.  Two further singles from the album – Let’s Go Round There (#49) and You’ve Got To Choose (#45) were minor hits, much to the disappointment of the label who really had high hopes, probably much of them pinned on the looks of the young, blonde singer.

In advance of the follow-up album, drummer Bloss left the band and was replaced by Jimmy Hughes from Black. Released in September 1990, Crawdaddy, proved to be a flop, as did the singles lifted from it.  Undaunted, and still with Epic, the band released a third album, Erotica, in September 1992,  just a matter of weeks before Madonna‘s album of the same name.

One of the tracks from the album, Long Day in the Universe, which was featured on the soundtrack for the Mike Myers film, So I Married an Axe Murderer which helped give some additional exposure in the USA in particular.  The band toured the States in support of the album but, like many others, grew increasingly frustrated by their lack of commercial success and disbanded before the year was out.

Fast-forward to July 2010. The band came together for a one-off tribute concert in their native Newport in memory of John Sicolo, the owner of the music venue TJ’s who died earlier in the year; only Andrea of the original members was part of the reunion. Four years later, reacting to calls from fans, a London show was arranged after which there were appearances at various festivals, including Indietracks in 2015, an occasion when my good mate and sidekick Aldo would likely have seen them. This would later lead to the recording of an EP, Evergreen, issued by Oddbox Records in April 2017, and the first new material by The Darling Buds in 25 years.

The band is still on the go, with an active Facebook page, which advises that, if restrictions are lifted, they are scheduled to play a show in Newport on 15 May 2021.

Here’s a handful of tracks, all from the earliest days, from a greatly underrated band:-

mp3: The Darling Buds – If I Said
mp3: The Darling Buds – Burst
mp3: The Darling Buds – Shame On You

And from a compilation album featuring the bands that appeared at Indietracks 2015:-

mp3: The Darling Buds – Sure Thing

This was originally released on Erotica back in 1995.




Last week’s posting on Talulah Gosh made reference to them helping pave the way for the chart success for The Darling Buds, another of the bands to feature on CD 86.

This lot formed in 1986 in Caerleon a village not far from the Welsh town of Newport. They were fronted by a young, ballsy, peroxide blonde named Andrea Lewis with Geraint Farley (guitar), Chris McDonagh (bass) and Richard Gray (drums) being the three blokes few people paid attention to.

They released their a self-financed debut single in February 1987 before shifting to the Sheffield-based Native Records and almost from the word go were branded as a cross between The Beatles and Blondie…proof, if any was needed, that lazy journalism isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. From the outset, this was a band that always had a chance of making it big for the simple fact that they made music that would sound good on daytime radio. Oh and it also helped that their singer has the sort of looks that made picture editors hearts go all-a-flutter.

It was no real surprise that they signed to Epic Records whose marketing and promotional campaigns took the single Hit The Ground into the charts and got the band onto Top of The Pops where all the watching dads went ‘wow’. The debut LP Pop Said also did well, critically and commercially, reaching #23, aided by it spawning five singles, all of which were played regularly on daytime radio.

Things began to go awry with the band became afflicted with the notorious ‘difficult second album syndrome’.

Crawdaddy was a less poppy affair altogether which had the double whammy of disappointing the label bosses yet failing to attract a broader fan base. The hit singles dried up and so too did the marketing money and promotional opportunities.  However, unlike many others in a similar situation The Darling Buds weren’t dropped and a third album was released in October 1992. To the bemusement and indeed amusement of many, the band had called the album Erotica and had released it within a week of Madonna releasing her allegedly notorious album of the same name. Someone, somewhere taking the piss.

By now the band were determined to crack the American market and spent much of 1993 trying to do so through touring relentlessly. This took its toll on all concerned and by the end of the year they had disbanded.

Like many others, they have since reformed. The first time was in July 2010 for a one-off concert and then again in 2013 to play at indie festivals and shows. Such was the interest in the band from old and new fans alike that they have continued to perform on a reasonably regular basis ever since.

CD86 featured their rather splendid buzzsaw guitar debut single which was limited to a run of just 2000 copies:-

mp3 : The Darling Buds – If I Said

and here’s yer more than decent b-side which reminds me a lot of Shop Assistants:-

mp3 : The Darling Buds – Just To Be Seen

The single was re-recorded and put on the b-side of a later single and then again many years later on a de-luxe re-siisue debut album.  It’s good but not in the class of the original.

mp3 : The Darling Buds – If I Said (later version)


** and thanks to The Robster for correcting the two inaccuracies in the original post. (see comments for clarification!!)