SUGARCREEK – Digitally Remastered 3-disc Digipak ; CD1 “Fortune” +2
As requested, here’s the out of print Escape Music triple Digipak of SUGARCREEK albums in remastered form including previously unreleased tracks.
Fronted by Tim Clark, Sugarcreek released their three albums between 1981 / 1984 with that wonderful Pomp AOR sound from the era plenty of melody and keyboard / synth magic, mixing American & European styles for the genre, and subsequently gained a strong cult following on both sides of the Atlantic ocean.
This is the heaven of layered vocal harmonies, swirling keyboard textures, synthesizers and of course, plenty of flashy guitar solos.
“Fortune“, their first studio album from 1982 is perhaps the most lovable of all, because it finds the band developing in full the classic first half of the ’80s Pomp stylings. For many, it’s the greatest Pomp AOR album of all time…
Indeed, it would be easy to say that 1980’s AOR couldn’t be better represented than this 1982 effort called ‘Fortune’ from North Carolina’s Sugarcreek. While the popular charts and fan attention were swinging to the arena acts of the day (Journey, Foreigner, Toto etc), Sugarcreek were busy plying their trade unbeknown to many worldwide AOR fans, with the probable exception of those Southeastern states of the USA (Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia etc) who had known about them for years.
The origins of the band go way back into time, but by the time the Eighties had arrived, these guys were accomplished musicians, and had obviously listened to what was popular at the time, and adapted their style to suit.
Everyone who had heard ‘Fortune’ often compared them to Styx, and that would be a fair comment. But in reality, their approach was less bogged down, a bit racier, and more in keeping with radio oriented styles rather than the classic pomp definition.
By the time Sugarcreek had released ‘Fortune’, they had already put out a Live set called ‘Live At The Roxy’. Now, modern day fans have to realise one thing from that glory days period, availability of any Sugarcreek material at this point was nigh on impossible to obtain.
Most of the songs from ‘Fortune’ sounded great back then, but they positively sizzle this time around with some remastering magic applied to it. Hearing ‘Soothsayer’ again transports you back to an era where this type of music reigned supreme.
The overly poppy ‘Crazy Kind Of Love’ is a summery happy-go-lucky sort of tune, ideal as a single. ‘American Girls’ is more of a straight-out rocker, still high on melody and catchy musical phrases. ‘Everybody Knows’ kicks along with vim and vigor, singer Tim Clark is in denial mode as he works his way through the lyrics.
The epic ‘Conquest For The Commoner’ is their best known track, and starts off in early Kansas style mode, tinkly piano and symphonic structures, before unleashing a torrent of overblown pomp, wondrous stuff. We return to straight out rockin’ with the pair of ‘Going For It’ and ‘Here We Go Again’, before the inevitable ballad appears in the form of the superb ‘Suzie’.
The next track ‘Borderline’ is an excellent flowing mid-tempo arrangement, with an abundance of acoustic guitar and a great chorus.
This remastered release includes two live tracks, perhaps their best two: ‘Conquest For The Commoner’ and ‘Soothsayer’.
Collectors and fans of this early style of TransAtlantic AOR have traded this material for ages taken from vinyl LP’s, so it is delightful to have all three albums packaged into a neat Digi-Pack, with full remastered treatment also afforded.
The sound quality on these CD’s is simply gorgeous.
Owners of the original LPs or copies obviously know the band’s sound, but for those that don’t, if you enjoyed such other notable bands of this ilk such as as Aviator or Frankie & The Knockouts – this is a must have addition to your collections.
This 3-CD digipak is out of print, but if you find an used copy buy it eyes closed.
01 – Soothsayer
02 – Crazy Kind Of Love
03 – American Girls
04 – Everybody Knows
05 – Conquest For The Commoner
06 – Going For It
07 – Here We Go Again
08 – Suzie
09 – Borderline
10 – Ride It Out
11 – Conquest For The Commoner (Live Bonus Track)
12 – Soothsayer (Live Bonus Track)
Lead Vocals – Tim Clark
Synthesizer, Piano, Organ, Clavinet, Vocals – Rick Lee
Guitar, Vocals – Jerry West, Michael Hough
Bass, Vocals – Mike Barber
Drums, Percussion – Lynn Samples
Out of print