Quarter flash and three-parts foolish

It was 1981, and I was in my first year at high school. I remember vividly the daunting, huge school, a strange zoo of architectural styles. Old red-brick from before the First World War, the 1960s science block with leaky taps, a 1970s concrete brick library, and lots of lime-green portable classrooms.

All the buildings were islands in a sea of tarmac. Whoever decided that school grounds should be wall-to-wall asphalt deserves a special circle in Hell, stuck in one of their own schoolyards with a hot north wind blowing, wearing a scratchy polyester school shirt.

Another of my memories of 1981 is “Harden My Heart”, a big hit in Australia for a band called Quarterflash. This was their only success in this part of the world, and I had assumed that they had been a one hit wonder. Happily, I was wrong.

DSC01891Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the core of the band was a married couple, Rindy and Marv Ross. The band’s name came from a piece of old Australian slang, describing newly-arrived migrants from Britain as “one quarter flash and three parts foolish”. The band was previously known as Seafood Mama, so certainly an improvement.

“Harden My Heart” was their biggest hit, but they did continue releasing material and doing middling-well in the US.

Quarterflash disbanded in 1985, but they reformed in 1990, and with impressive persistence Rindy and Marv are still together, still performing and releasing new material.

This is the B side to “Harden My Heart”. Like the A side, it is a love song of no great lyrical originality, but the vocal and musicianship lifts it. Note the brief bass break half-way in. Rindy Ross both sang and played lead sax – the break allowed her to slip on her saxophone strap, and play the solo which follows.

  • Artist: Quarterflash
  • A Side: Harden My Heart
  • B Side: Don’t Be Lonely
  • Format: 7”, 45 rpm, vinyl, stereo
  • Label: Geffen
  • Made in: Australia
  • Catalogue: GEF 49824
  • Year: 1981

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