BLUES SPECIAL – WENDY SADINGTON

 

Wendy SAdington 2

 

Looking Through A Window (W Morgan/B Thorpe) – Wendy Sadington 1971

 

Wendy Sadington was a soul and blues force of nature who rose like Medusa from the outer Melbourne suburb of West Heidelberg – outsize Afro hair, gypsy bangles and beads, Panda eyes and hippie threads, sounding like a cross between Aretha and Janis, she was a feminist icon who championed gay rights and wanted to sing the blues like her idols Bessie Smith and Nina Simone.

Wendy had done the hard yards in various bands from the age of seventeen – Revolution, James Taylor Move, Chain, and Jeff St. John’s Copperwine, and to each she brought a mysterious glamour and a soulful persona that was at the same time raw, earthy, unvarnished, and carnal. She would never be invited to appear on Countdown.

In six minutes, Looking Through A Window builds through guitar, strings, and piano, all seemingly competing with the keening, angst-ridden bluesy assault of Sadington, the Aztecs delivered sustained sympathetic backing, and her voice, while not technically brilliant, radiated power, conviction and an earthy nonchalance.

 

She was an outspoken and opinionated performer with a larrikin spirit, took no prisoners and made few concessions to commerciality, her punkish aesthetic and gut-wrenching live performances were legendary but not for the squeamish.

Consequently, she was under-recorded and under-rated, only this single and one live album with Copperwine, but former Chain bandmate Warren Morgan and nascent rock warrior Billy Thorpe were fans and they wrote and co-produced this stunning record. It really does sound like the intriguing, edgy, uncertain, and awkwardly unsophisticated recordings of Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and the Holding Company, that said, one could not pay Wendy Sadington a greater compliment.

The song charted at #67 in August, Sadington briefly wrote for Go-Set magazine, spent time in the US where she adopted her tragic Periot persona and appeared in an ABC special Wendy Sadington and Friends, she then sought spiritual enlightenment with the Hare Krishnas taking the name Gandharvika Dasi. Wendy performed intermittently with such backing bands as Teardrop and appeared in the local production of the Who’s rock opera Tommy as The Nurse, but disappeared from the music scene, only to re-emerge in the mid-90’s. Sadly Wendy Sadington passed away in 2013.

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