Wendy Saddington – Backlash Blues
Wendy June Saddington also known as Gandharvika Dasi (26 September 1949 – 21 June 2013) was an Australian blues, soul and jazz singer, and was in the bands Chain, Copperwine and the Wendy Saddington Band. She wrote for teen pop newspaper Go-Set from September 1969 to September 1970 as an agony aunt in her weekly “Takes Care of Business” column, and as a feature writer. Saddington had Top 30 chart success with her 1972 solo single “Looking Through a Window”, which was written and produced by Billy Thorpe and Warren Morgan of the Aztecs. After adopting Krishna Consciousness in the 1970s she took the name, Gandharvika Dasi. In March 2013 she was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, Wendy Saddington died on 21 June 2013, aged 63.
In 1983 Wendy Saddington returned to her music career by forming Wendy Saddington Band with Bobby Gebert on keyboards, Harvey James (ex-Ariel, Sherbet, Swanee) on guitar, Billy Rylands on bass guitar, and Chris Sweeney on drums. A second version appeared in 1986 to 1987 with Angelica Booth on bass guitar, Rose Bygrave (ex-Goanna) on keyboards, Mick Liber (ex-Python Lee Jackson) on guitar and Des McKenna (“Animal” from Hey Hey It’s Saturday house band) on drums.This line-up mainly played reggae music and toured rural New South Wales including Tamworth.They recorded an album at Tamworth’s ENREC studios, which was not released as the master tapes were lost.
In August 1994, Australian art historian, Catriona Moore, dedicated her book, Indecent Exposures. Twenty Years of Australian Feminist Photography to photographer Carol Jerrems and used Jerrems’ photo, “Wendy Saddington 1973”, to promote the work. On 5 September 1998 Saddington provided guest vocals on One Night Jamm by Kevin Borich Express, which also has guest vocals and harmonica by Ross Wilson (ex-Daddy Cool, Mondo Rock). The band’s line up was Kevin Borich on lead guitar and vocals, his son Lucius Borich on drums, and Ben Rosen on bass guitar. Saddington “sang a number of jazzy, free-form blues tunes”.
Around 1985 Saddington had formed a duo with pianist Peter Head, performing mainly at the Civic Hotel and at various Kings Cross and Darlinghurst venues. They worked irregularly together for the remainder of the decade. In 2002 Head organised a Saddington concert at Sydney’s jazz and blues venue, The Basement, curating a soul, jazz line up with Lachlan Doley on Hammond organ, Peter Figures on drums, and Jackie Orszaczky on bass guitar. The concert was recorded but is as yet unreleased.
In 2003, Saddington provided three tracks for the album, Women ‘n Blues, with other tracks by Kate Dunbar, Sally King, Jeannie Lewis and Margaret RoadKnight. In August 2012 Saddington appeared on celebrity musician quiz show, RocKwiz, on SBS-TV, where she performed Simone’s “Backlash Blues”.In December that year she recalled her career “I’m not into legacies … I usually get a job once in a blue moon … I guess it is by choice in a way. But at the same time I have always thought I would have liked to have earned a living at it”. She believed that Krishna Consciousness had “saved my life”, reviewing her life as a heavy drinker “I honestly think if I had gone on with that, it would have ended up like Janis Joplin. Too fast; not good enough; too soon, you know, bang”. In March 2013 she was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, Wendy Saddington died on 21 June 2013, aged 63.
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