"Are you ready Steve? Uh-huh. Andy? Yeah. Mick? Okay. Alright fellas, let's go!"
It started with a press release arriving at Dangerdog HQ: (The) Sweet were releasing a new album of cover songs. There was name I hadn't heard in decades. Much to my surprise The Sweet still exists. It seems guitarist Andy Scott has been reanimating the band in some form since 1984. (It appears that bassist Steve Priest, another original member, leads an alternate Sweet out of Los Angeles). Scott and company cut SweetLife in 2002. Now, here's the real kicker: all this brought back a singular memory. I saw Sweet open for Foghat in 1978 at the Hershey Park Arena in Pennsylvania.
The first reaction to New York Connection, as with similar albums, is, not another covers album. Nevertheless, this one's pretty good. Scott chose songs from artists related, in some way, to New York City. (Complete list below.) Then he 'sweetened' them in a sort of Sweet mash up, adding riffs, drum beats or vocal lines from some of their own classic songs. For instance, The Ramones' classic Blitzkrieg Bop gets a tast of Ballroom Blitz. Electric Frankenstein's It's All Moving Faster injects the guitar line to Burn On The Flame.
While some songs seem unfamilar, like Gold on the Ceiling, others are not and these are likely some of the best songs here. These include The Yardbirds' Shape of Things, The Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane, The Who's Join Together, The Drifters' On Broadway, and the devestating rendition of the Springsteen and Patti Smith great, Because the Night. it should be noted that track listing on the album is erronous having Blitzkrieg Bop follow Sweet Jane, when actually it's the reverse.
Andy Scott notes of New York Connection: 'It's all meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. The whole point of doing something like this was to enjoy it." For Sweet fans, they will find this album quite enjoyable as well.
1) 'New York Groove' (written by Russ Ballard)
2) 'Gold On The Ceilings' (The Black Keys)
3) 'It's All Moving Faster' (Electric Frankenstein)
4) 'New York Connection' (originally the B-side of Sweet's 'Wig Wam Bam')
5) 'Shapes Of Things' (The Yardbirds)
6) 'You Spin Me Right Round (Like A Record)' (Dead Or Alive)
7) 'Because The Night' (Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith) Lead vocal: Tony O'Hora
8) 'Sweet Jane' (The Velvet Underground) Lead vocal: Andy Scott
9) 'Blitzkrieg Bop' (The Ramones) Lead vocal: Bruce Bisland
10) 'On Broadway' (written by a team including Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller)
11) 'Join Together' (The Who)