Cherry Red's 7Ts label is going back to the glam era with its latest release from The Sweet. Following previous reissues of Cut Above the Rest, Waters Edge and Identity Crisis, 7Ts has recently turned the clock back to Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be, the band's very first full album from 1971, for a 2-CD expanded edition.
The expanded Funny How Sweet traces the early bubblegum years of the group as they planted the seeds that would blossom into full-on, flamboyant glam-rock. Typical of the era, The Sweet had its roots in numerous other bands including Episode Six (which also famously has ties to Deep Purple) and The Sweetshop. The classic line-up of Brian Connelly (vocals), Steve Priest (bass), Mike Tucker (drums) and Andy Scott (guitar) solidified in summer 1970 after a handful of single sides had been released; these early sides are included on the bonus disc here. (The Sweet's six single sides recorded for Parlophone were collected as one side of the LP Gimme Dat Ding, which predates Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be. The other side went, of course, to the music of Tony Burrows' studio outfit The Pipkins.)
The Sweet's debut was largely the work of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, the songwriting duo later known for their work with Suzi Quatro, Smokie and Mud, among others. Chinn and Chapman brought "Funny Funny" to The Sweet; Connolly, Tucker and Priest sang on the track which had been recorded by a studio band of Pip Williams on guitar, John Roberts on bass and Phil Wainman on drums. It would be the first of five hit singles for the band; it wasn't until the sixth single ("Wig Wam Bam") that the members of The Sweet played on their own A-sides. They were, however, permitted to take charge of the B-sides, and three of the group's own songs found their way to Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be. Covers of John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful's "Daydream") and Holland-Dozier-Holland (The Supremes' "Reflections") were also included. If the group wasn't in control of its own musical destiny yet, their Hollies-inspired vocal harmonies and knack of blending rock and catchy, bubblegum-esque pop would pave the way not just for the glam-rockers, but for bands including Queen.
7Ts reissue includes, on the first disc, the complete debut album plus nine RCA bonus single cuts including the hits "Alexander Graham Bell," "Poppa Joe" and "Little Willy." The second CD, titled The Early Years, goes back even further to The Sweet's six 1969-1970 Parlophone sides collected on Gimme Dat Ding (including the Jeff Barry/Andy Kim-penned Archies song "Get on the Line") plus the 1968 Fontana single "Slow Motion" b/w "It's Lonely Out There." Note that all of the bonus material contained on the 2005 reissue of Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be is included (and more) with the exception of the Japanese single side "Paperback Writer" and the BBC performance of "Lucille/Great Balls of Fire."
Tim Turan has remastered this new edition, and Dave Thompson provides the liner notes for the booklet which is copiously illustrated with images of The Sweet's singles. Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be is available now at the links below!
CD 1: The Original Album Plus
- Co Co
- Chop Chop
- Honeysuckle Love
- Santa Monica Sunshine
- Funny Funny
- Tom Tom Turnaround
- Sunny Sleeps Late
- Done Me Wrong Alright (RCA 2087-B, 1971)
- Be with You Soon (Outtake) (from RCA 82876 670662, 2005)
- You're Not Wrong for Lovin' Me (RCA 2051-B, 1971)
- Alexander Graham Bell (RCA 2121-A, 1971)
- Poppa Joe (RCA 2164-A, 1972)
- Little Willy (RCA 2225-A, 1972)
- Man from Mecca (RCA 2225-B, 1972)
- Wig Wam Bam (RCA 2260-A, 1972)
- New York Connection (RCA 2260-B, 1972)
CD 2: The Early Years
- Slow Motion (Fontana TF 958-A, 1968)
- It's Lonely Out There (Fontana TF 958-B, 1968)
- Lollipop Man (Parlophone R 5803-A, 1969)
- Time (Parlophone R 5803-B, 1969)
- All You'll Ever Get from Me (Parlophone R 5826-A, 1970)
- The Juicer (Parlophone R 5826-B, 1970)
- Get on the Line (Parlophone R 5848-A, 1970)
- McGallagher (Parlophone R 5848-B, 1970)