|Vol. 1 - Feelin' Fine, The Fantoms
HOT W-A-X CD-005
The Fantoms are from Hillingdom, England, and were formed in 1980. They played their first gig in November of that year as "Dave Webb & The Rimshots". Early 1981 the name was changed to The Fantoms, with an F, not PH. Most of the bandmembers had been playing before in a band named "Rebound", who performed mainly Rollin' Rock type of rockabilly (Ray Campi, Mac Curtis). Now they had the hots for Britisch Cliff Richard and the Shadows style rock 'n' roll.
London DJ "Wild Wax" was looking for a Shadows type band for a Cliff Richard documentary at that time, he heard the band's demo "Never Mind" and The Fantoms got the job! They recorded "D In Love" with Cliff on April 30, 1981. After a show with Cliff at London's "Hardrock Cafe", the gigs were coming in pretty fast. In June the band went into the studio to record 6 songs, "Don't Knock Upon My Door", Nearly All The Time", "No Fancy Car", "Idle Star", "Fallen Shadow" and "Sattelite". In August, still 1981, they went back to the studio to record their single "Five Foot Two (Eyes Of Blue)" backed with a slower version of "Idle Star" for the Magnum Force label.
On November 7th they appeared at the annual Caister Rock 'n' Roll Weekend Hop, where they shared the bill with Frankie Ford and The Johnny Burnette Trio. I was there, and there's a little note beneath the pictures of the Fantoms in my scrapbook that reads: "The best...." - They were very impressive, and if you keep in mind that at that time they were only around for about a year, they had really come a long way. They went on to do a lot of work in Holland, Belgium and France and recorded another 2 singles, but in a different style.
25 years later, the German label HOT WAX has released a CD with a lot of Fantoms goodies. I know HOT WAX, because I worked with Ernie on the previous release "Chevrolet Drive Me Wild" (HOT WAX CD-004). The label mainly wants to (re-)release Britisch rock 'n' roll that has faded away over the years, and they do a pretty good job. For sure is that The Fantoms are well worth remembering, so thanks Ernie for this unique album, which includes the Fantoms first single, the echoing "Five Foot Two (Eyes Of Blue)", which is still one of my favorites from the early 80s.
All songs are Cliff Richard and the Shadows styled rockers, with fabulous rhythms and a superb and very fast lead guitar. If you're a fan of this type of Britisch rock 'n' roll, this album is a must. It's very well produced and the sound of these old songs is just great. Let's hope a Volume 2 will soon follow...
The Fantoms are:
House of Wax
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2005