Monday, December 01, 2008

Tawny Reed

In 1965 17-year-old Tawny Reed was signed up by Pye records. She was from Diamond Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff. She had been snapped up by songwriting and management team M/B (Myron and Byron) Enterprises. M/B had already discovered Tom Jones and firmly believed that Tawny, with her "aggressive" singing style, would be just as successful as The Boy From Nowhere.

Tawny had gigged extensively in local south Wales dance halls and clubs with her backing band the Flower Pot Men. However, when she went into a London studio to cut her first disc, session musicians were employed instead. Tony Hatch had already visited Cardiff and drawn up a list of possible material for her debut single. The song they eventually chose was Needle in a Haystack, a cover of a hit by Motown group the Velvelettes.

Despite falling off her stool during the recording session, her actual 45 turned out to be pretty impressive. She sounds like a Welsh Lulu rather than another Sandie Shaw which is, apparently, how Tony Hatch envisaged her. The single was also released in the States on the legendary Red Bird label (home of the Shangri-Las) - Tawny being the only girl from the UK to ever achieve this distinction.

Unfortunately the single didn't chart. Nor did her follow up, You Can't Take it Away, released the following year. She was dropped by Pye and, sadly, disappeared altogether from the '60s musical map. Here she is performing Needle in a Haystack on TV and throwing a few interesting shapes in the process.