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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Roadmaster - 1978 Sweet Music
Roadmaster - 1978 Sweet Music

ARTIST: Roadmaster
ALBUM: Sweet Music
LABEL: Mercury
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY147
SPONSOR: Rock Candy Records


LINEUP: Stephan 'Mac' McNally - vocals * Rick Benick - guitars * Michael 'Bones' Read - keyboards, synthesizers * Toby Myers - bass * Bobby Johns - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 It Doesn't Mean A Thing * 02 I Must Be Dreaming * 03 Ya Move Me * 04 Been Gone Too Long * 05 I'll Be Lovin' You * 06 The Swan Song * 07 You Come See Me * 08 Higher Higher * 09 Circle Of Love * 10 Sweet Music

Isn't it amazing how a few choice words about this album, goes a long way toward putting it up on the AOR pedestal forever more! What are you talking about I hear you say? Remember the quote out of the first edition of the Heavy Metal Encyclopedia, referring to Roadmaster as 'America's premier pomp band.' It went on to say 'the harmonies will make you sweat with delight..' And so it was, written in no uncertain terms that this was a band that became much sought after within the pomp rock/AOR genre. The question becomes after all these years: out of all their back-catalogue, is this the definitive Roadmaster album? Considering there were five overall. I'm not gonna make that call, but I will gloss over the songs here.

The Songs
If we transport back in time to 1978, 'Sweet Music' was a bit of a departure from their 1976 self titled debut. On that one, the band operated in funk rock territory, and had Abraham 'Asher' Benrubi as their lead singer. Benrubi moved on, replaced by the velvet tones of Steve McNally, who's voice would offer the band a different direction altogether. He is first heard on 'Sweet Music'. His impact would be immediate on the album opener 'It Doesn't Mean A Thing', a track which become a band staple in future years. Elsewhere, we have a collection of superb tracks such as the title track at the end of the album 'Sweet Music' (one of my fave Roadmaster songs ever), the mid-tempo excitement of 'You Come See Me', and of course there is the synth laden 'Higher Higher', especially the massive crescendo of ivories toward the end of the song. Fantastic stuff! If I weren't so picky, I could say that 'I'll Be Lovin' You' is a return to their funkier roots, but with a disco/orchestral layer behind the music. There are a couple of acoustic songs onboard, namely 'The Swan Song' and 'Circle Of Love' which could be construed as being a bit of filler.

In Summary
Many years later 'Sweet Music' would be given a tribute by being one of the most bootlegged albums around. It is still debatable as to which of Roadmaster's discography is preferred, I'll leave that argument up to the trainspotters on this site. Most of their other reviews are written about elsewhere, refer to the related articles underneath.

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#1 | sabace on April 07 2006 18:52:43
a great lp
#2 | tompa on April 22 2006 12:14:39
When it comes to Pomp Rock, this is The One.
#3 | rkbluez on August 19 2008 03:19:43
A great album in need of a legit CD release asap...what ever happened to Rock Candy...thought they were going to do this's 100 times better then a lot of their reissues...this album and Hey World are pomp classic's.
#4 | trillion1999 on October 09 2011 22:53:29
Love the title-track so perfectly illustrated by that wonderful album-cover!music
#5 | george_the_jack on November 18 2011 16:36:14
Michael Read's keyboard playing is a highlight itself. Great Pomp-AOR album.
#6 | rkbluez on July 15 2013 23:23:38
Great album but on pulling out the Rock Candy version...I'm totally disappointed with the mastering job...sounds like a vinyl rip bootleg...guess the tapes were gone and this is it...still I wasn't impressed with this RC version at all...not to happy with the sound on Hey World and Fortress either...but I'll still support RC as they've done many great releases...just not the Roadmasters.
#7 | gdazegod on July 16 2013 01:06:02
I might put this under a set of headphones. I'll build a FLAC copy from disc, and have a close listen.
#8 | super80boy on March 29 2015 17:27:46
Distinct changes on this 2nd effort are heard with all those amazing pomp arrangements. Side Two is where it really kicks into gear with 4 striking songs. 'Circle Of Love' has a clear STYX influence, even sounding a bit like T. Shaw.
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