Biography

Evie Sands is a Brooklyn-born and guitarist, whose career began as a young teenager in the mid-19. After several near-misses throughout the rest of the decade, and a thoroughly hard time at the hands of the record industry, she eventually saw chart action in 1969, before mostly forgoing live performance in 1979 to concentrate on writing and production. She experienced a fashionable, Brit-led surge in cult popularity beginning in the 1990s and returned to live performance in mid-1998. Sands is still actively recording and performing today.

Evie Sands was the first artist to record the classic song “Angel Of The Morning,” but her version was overshadowed by Merrilee Rush’s when legal problems rendered Evie’s single out of print. She is often referred to as one of the greatest singers.

Evie Sands was born and raised in Brooklyn to music-loving parents, and fulfilled sooner than expected her mother’s intuition that, “this baby will come out singing”. After cutting two singles on obscure labels (ABC 10458 - The Roll / My Dog – 1963, and Gold 215 - Danny Boy, I Love You So / I Was Moved – 1964), she signed to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s Blue Cat Records in 1965, and her initial single was that year’s Chip Taylor/Al Gorgoni-produced ‘Take Me For A Little While’. However, before the record had a chance to be released, a test pressing was stolen by a Chicago producer, who took it to the established Chess Records recording artist Jackie Ross, who was coming off the back of a recent number one in the Billboard Charts. Ross — who was unaware of the duplicity involved, and who left Chess shortly afterwards — and her producers loved the song, and recorded, pressed and released the record within 48 hours, beating Sands’ version to the street by a week. Backed by the marketing and promotional muscle of Chess Records, and with Ross’ name attached, this version unsurprisingly received the lion’s share of the airplay. The subsequent legal struggle set back Sands’ young career before it had had a chance to get started. By the time Chess withdrew the Ross single from the marketplace, Sands’ version would only break through in the few cities (like Los Angeles) that had thus far stayed ‘on the fence’, waiting to see which version to play.

Her follow-up single, ‘I Can’t Let Go’, subsequently got lost amidst the post ‘Take Me…’ chaos, leaving Brit-invaders The Hollies clear to have a hit with a re-recorded version of the same song in the spring of 1966. That same year, Sands parted ways with Blue Cat, and moved to Cameo-Parkway Records, where she maintained her successful pairing with Chip Taylor, who penned her next single, the hotly-tipped “Angel of the Morning”.

However, once again, Sands was unfortunate, for a matter of weeks after its release, Cameo-Parkway went bust, allowing another version of the song, by Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts, to steal its thunder, topping the charts just months later.

In 1969, Sands moved to A&M Records, where she notched up her biggest hit, ‘Any Way That You Want Me’, another Chip Taylor composition. Incidentally, this track had earlier been recorded by Liverpool Five and The Troggs in 1966; they also had a hit with another Chip Taylor song, the altogether better-known “Wild Thing”. Evie’s album of the same name came out on A&M in 1970, several months after ‘Any Way…’ (the single) had peaked. It was followed by ‘Estate of Mind’ LP on Haven/Capitol Records in 1975, which was made up of ten Sands original songs. Two tracks from the album, ‘You Brought The Woman Out Of Me’ and ‘I Love Makin’ Love To You’, had chart success and many artists covered songs from the album. In 1979, she released ‘Suspended Animation’ on RCA Records. One track,’Lady Of The Night’, featured Dusty Springfield on backing vocals and another, “Keep My Lovelight Burning” saw extensive play in the discos. That was to be Sands’ last album for almost 20 years, as she mostly stayed away from live performance and instead focused on songwriting and production.

In late 1996, Sands went to see Chip Taylor perform at a club gig, and he invited her onstage to perform with him. Despite not having kept actively in touch through the previous years, the experience was so successful that the two reignited their collaboration, spawning the critically acclaimed ‘Women In Prison’ LP, which was released in 1999 (and again in 2000) on Taylor’s Train Wreck records. A more rootsy project than the of her late 19- output, the album consisted of various Sands-Taylor-Gorgoni originals, including a duet with Lucinda Williams on the track, ‘Cool Blues Story’. Several tracks fared well on UK/Euro indie charts.

Evie’s earlier albums have recently been made available on CD. Suspended Animation, Any Way That You Want Me, and Estate of Mind were first reissued in Japan in 2001 and 2003. Any Way… and Estate… were reissued again in September 2005 and June 2006 respectively, on Rev-Ola in the United Kingdom. Evie can currently be found performing her own solo material as well as performing as the lead guitar player in eclectic Los Angeles based group, Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band. Her most recent recorded appearance is on that band’s 2007 live CD ‘Long Promised Road: Songs of Dennis and Carl Wilson,” on which she sings several lead vocals, including the first-ever recording of Dennis Wilson’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice to Live Again.”

Edited by Salutaurs on 11 Nov 2008, 11:10

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