Ricky left SA for London in the late 60’s with his band The Flames. They were spotted by the Beach Boys, who offered them the support slot on a US tour and a deal on their label – Brother Records. This prompted a move to LA. Put into a more current perspective this would be like U2 spotting an SA band and offering them a tour and a label deal.
The Flames didn’t last but Ricky and fellow Flamer Blondie Chaplin then joined the Beach Boys! They toured, recorded and wrote songs with the Beach Boys until the late 70’s.
Ricky moved to Australia for a stint (working with Tim Finn, Crowded House etc) and then returned to the States. He’s become a sought after producer and session musician based in San Francisco. Since the late 90’s he’s been a member of Bonnie Raitt’s incredible band. I’ve been a fan of his for 20 years now, and most recently loved his work with John Scofield on the Piety Street album. Check this clip from a gig in Amsterdam for some serious New Orleans groove.
By the way, Blondie Chaplin is now based in NYC and has a wonderful trio project called ‘Skollie’ with Anton Fig and Keith Lentin. Here’s a handheld iphone clip from Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side from last year. Blondie also happens to be a touring member of …The Rolling Stones!
I was lucky to meet Ricky in 2010 in Durban where along with Blondie and Steve Fataar they did a series of Flames reunion gigs. We’ve stayed in touch and last August our tour schedules overlapped at the Edmonton Folk Festival where he was headlining with Bonnie Raitt.
I find Ricky a calm, warm, powerful presence with huge musicality. To sit onstage on a summer evening and see this band (plus cameo guests) play to 20 0000 fans was just sublime.
Check out Bonnie Raitt’s new album Slipstream to hear Ricky’s wonderful grooves. (And the very happening George Marinelli on guitar .. !)
Maybe you know these guys, or some of them?
Either way hopefully I’ve passed on some of the inspiration they’ve given me, to you.
Keep enforcing the positive stuff!