Flaming Youth are best known merely as footnotes in the histories of both Howard & Blaikley (who wrote the songs) and Genesis (the group included Phil Collins). Their album has been treated with scant regard, deep hatred (most notably by those musos who (a) think it is “cool” to hate Phil Collins; (b) think it is “cool” to hate Howard & Blaikley; (c) because the album is half serious and half bad joke; and (d) by those who have never heard it but feel the need to bolster their reputations by having an opinion, and would rather say it’s crap than to admit to their ignorance!) or irreverence.
For the record, here’s some background info:
In 1966, following a handful of roles in BBC productions, which culminated in his appearance in the West End as the Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart’s ‘Oliver’, Phil Collins (London Mod and The Action’s number one fan) makes a life-changing decision – he joins The Charge as drummer. Soon after, he forms a group called Real Thing with a couple of stage school chums. Phil then drums for Freehold, Cliff Charles Blues Band, The Gladiators and Hickory. In 1969, Hickory change their name to Flaming Youth.
Their album is a masterpiece of sorts, though it’s far from conventional! It is great fun and to be frank, the music is so odd and so varied – a bizarre blend of pop, classical, church music and pop progressivism. At times it is totally off the wall. Musically, it is impossible to categorise and so it has been sought only by Collins’ fans seeking to plug a gap in their collections, rather than by people seeking something to actually listen to.
Here’s who did what:
“Flash” Gordon Smith – guitar, bass, vocs.
Ronnie Caryl – bass, guitar, vocs.
Brian Chatton – organ, piano, vocs (born 1948, future Jackson Heights).
Phil Collins – drums, percussion, vocs. (born 30/01/51, joined Genesis in August 1970).
Songs were written by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. Recorded at De Lane Lea (engineered by Barry Ainsworth).
The beautiful die-cut and plastic ‘window’ sleeve was designed by John Constable and featured photography by cult snapper Gered Mankowitz.
Info taken from the Marmalade Skies website.
Guide Me Orion / From Now On (Fontana TF 1057) 10/69
Every Man, Woman And Child / Drifting (Fontana 6001 002) 06/70
From Now On / Space Child (Fontana 6001 003) 12/70
ARK 2 – Guide Me, Orion / Earthglow / Weightless / The Planets: Mars-Venus-Mercury-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune // Changes / Pulsar / Space Child / In the Light of Love / From Now On (Fontana STL 5533) 10/69
To find more about Flaming Youth, listen to Ark 2 and read the lyrics follow this link :
The Artful Dodger is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.
This role was played by a few Sixties Child Stars, like Phil Collins, future Monkee Davy Jones and Steve Marriott of the Small Faces. As a solo performer, Dave Dee too played the Artful Dodger, in Cabaret in 1969.