Sweet Marie "Sweet Marie 1" (Gear Fab Records, 1970/2015)
From Hollywood to Hawaii traveled Sweet Marie, and it was there in the land of sugarcane, pineapples, surf, sand, sun, and beautiful foliage the band found fame. But even prior to the move, they were local sensations. Formed late 1969, Sweet Marie were so hot they were soon offered a lucrative job at the Point After Club in Waikiki on the island of Oahu. Quickly accumulating attention and accolades, they became one of the most popular bands in the state. Two excellent albums, generous airplay, and television appearances resulted in the band experiencing the same kind of fan fervor as the Beatles during their heyday.
Composed of bassist Prince Teddy, guitarist Sonny Lathrop, and drummer Willy Bims, Sweet Marie had their mojo working right from the start. Seasoned professionals in all aspects of the business, the band wrote their own songs and had the chops and discipline to make their vision a reality. The band's first album, "Sweet Marie 1," which was originally pressed on the Yard Bird label in 1970, has been out of print for ages. Extremely rare and fetching astronomical sums, the album, thanks to tireless requests, is now available on compact disc.
Drenched in a downpour of hard rock bliss, fringed with funk, soul, and blues elements, "Sweet Marie 1" is certain to remind listeners of folks like Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Rare Earth, and Sly And The Family Stone. Truly high praise, and what's even more complimentary is Sweet Marie grooved above and beyond blatant emulation. Stadium-sized vocals, bellowing with heat and passion, meld perfectly with smoking guitars and powered drumming. Centered, but loose enough to spawn surprising turns not to mention plenty of choice melodies, the band demonstrates how awesome they are on every track. Songs such as "Standin' By The River" and "Walk Marie" hustle and bustle with boogie woogie styled rhythms, "Remember Mary" is a raging monster, riveting and roaring with crushing acid-stained motions, and "Dr. Feelgood" twirls and twitches to a sweaty dancing clip referencing both James Brown and Archie Bell And The Drells. Willy Bims entertains us with a gutsy drum solo on the duly titled "Willy Bims," "Goin' Down The Road" keys in as a moody jazz-oriented piece, and "Bugalusa Baby" is a slow-burning blues ballad smacking of space and emotion.
To be played at window-rattling volume, "Sweet Marie 1" is a classic of its ilk. If you haven't done so already, be sure to pick up a copy of the band's subsequent album, "Stuck In Paradise," which has also been resurrected by Gear Fab Records.
Review made by Beverly Paterson/2015
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