Pilgrimage For Pop, Ourimbah – Wendy Saddington

Pilgrimage For Pop, Ourimbah – Wendy Saddington
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Blues, jazz and soul singer Wendy Saddington was a major musical drawcard at the 1970 Ourimbah Pilgrimage For Pop festival and one of just a handful of women who performed at these early music festivals.

After becoming one of the original members (although unrecorded) of Chain, she was often backed by several different musicians. At Ourimbah, she was accompanied by the progressive rock group Company Caine.

In this clip, Saddington performs a rousing rendition of ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’, first popularised by one of her main influences, Bessie Smith. This footage is excerpted from Once Around the Sun, an experimental film which documents the festival at Ourimbah.

The film is peppered with kitsch, hippy-era graphics and special effects which at times distract from the musical performance. Nevertheless, it stands as a welcome document of Wendy Saddington in particular, who was rarely filmed or recorded.

Following Ourimbah, Saddington joined Copperwine as co-lead vocalist alongside Jeff St John. This line-up (minus St John) performed the year after Ourimbah at the Odyssey Pop Festival, held at Wallacia, NSW in January 1971.

This set was recorded and released as Saddington’s only album, Wendy Saddington & The Copperwine Live, later that year. Her only single, 'Looking Through a Window / We Need a Song' was also released that year and reached No. 22 in September.

With a unique and incredibly powerful voice, Saddington led the way for many Australian female vocalists to follow, and it is unfortunate that such an important singer of this era was seldom recorded. She passed away in 2013 but her legacy speaks for itself.