The mid 70s brought about a resurgence in traditional Rock n’ Roll in the U.K., with bands like Mud, The Rubettes, Showaddywaddy and Rocky Sharpe & The Replays all enjoying commercial success. Seeing a gap in the market for related doo wop music, Rocky Sharpe’s bass singer Den Hegarty gathered together a nine strong group who travelled around London and the home counties, building their reputation on a vibrant stage show and faithful re-creations of 50s hits originally recorded by American groups. Signed to Magnet, their debut single, a medley of The Ray’s “Daddy Cool” and Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It” was an immediate chart success and over the next few years the collective would enjoy eight top twenty U.K. singles.
Released at the back end of 1977 the self titled debut long player contains all the early singles, fleshed out with some polished and adequately performed accompanying songs. None particularly stand out and outside the surroundings of the live venue there’s a sense that the honesty in Hegarty’s vision is lost in a sonic emptiness that only live input can add. Sadly this collection only reminds the listener of those horrible 70s compilation albums of chart hits covered by a record company house band and usually featuring a young scantily clad voluptuous model on the cover. The inert nature of the collection does nothing to enhance the original recordings.
For all its resolutely retro tendencies, “Darts” is a modern take on classics from the past and is well tailored, competent but ultimately as dull as dish water.
1 – Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It
2 – Young Blood
3 – Too Hot In The Kitchen
4 – Sometime Lately
5 – Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
6 – Shotgun
7 – Come Back My Love
8 – Bells In My Heart
9 – Sh-Boom
10 – Stay Away
11 – I’m Mad/Fancy Man/Framed/Riot In Cell Block 9/Trouble
Daddy Cool/The Girl Can’t Help It
Come Back My Love