Album review: THE SWEET – Action The Ultimate Story

RCA/Sony Music [Released 25.10.15]

Without the Sweet you could argue we would have no Def Leppard, Kiss or Motley Crue, some of the many bands who credit this band as a big influence on them. Add to that the numerous covers of their tunes from bands like Def Leppard through to the Macc Lads.

There are innumerable Sweet compilations already available and this one is possibly the best as it has all their top 40 hits (bar bizarrely ‘Alexander Graham Bell’), the single misses and oddities like pop-tastic rock ‘n’ roller ‘Peppermint Twist’, which only charted in Australia and at number one. There are plenty of album cuts and B-sides added across the two discs including some of their heaviest songs like ‘Sweet F.A.’ and ‘Set Me Free’, long with some choice cuts from the band in their 80′s and 90′s incarnations led by guitarist Andy Scott.

The compilation includes a couple of songs from their ‘New York Groove’ covers album released a few years ago. Plus for fans there are two new songs recorded by the latest version of Andy Scott’s Sweet. ‘Still Got The Rock’ is a decent enough tune, however ‘Defender’ is a real melodic rock gem and Pete Lincoln is more than adapt at keeping the Sweet’s vocal flame alive.

The classic line-up of Brian Connolly, Andy Scott, Steve Priest and Mick Tucker are well represented and you can’t beat their classic songs like ‘Blockbuster!’, ‘Action’, ‘Hell Raiser’ and ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’ (sadly on here in its shortened single version).

There is an uncredited dance remix of ‘Fox On The Run’ at the end of the first disc which may have their older fans running for the eject button! However, it is not that bad and could appeal to a different musical audience. My interest in the band first started after seeing them on ‘Top Of The Pop’s in the mid-70′s when a mere lad, only to start buying their albums after the 1984 compilation ‘Sweet 16 – It’s It’s… Sweet’s Hits’. This had that mid-80′s staple a megamix released as a single and it made number 45 in the UK singles charts. Shame that wasn’t put on here instead maybe?

Informative sleeve notes from uber-fan Dave Ling of ‘Classic Rock’ and pictures of the band’s varying line-ups makes for a must have for new and existing fans. The Sweet may have had a relatively short singles chart success in the UK between 1971-75, however their songs still sound great today and carry on winning over a whole new set of fans. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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