BY JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
SWEET F.A. – STICK TO YOUR GUNS (1990)
The band Sweet F.A. is one who’s name I remember from the 80’s metal era, but I would’ve been hard pressed to guarantee that I’d ever actually heard any of their music.
I know that I never owned either of the band’s two albums before starting this series. This article concerns their debut release and when I first played it, I ended up feeling that the opening track, “Prince of the City,” was vaguely familiar. The song was an energetic rocker with a big amped up chorus so it was definitely a song that would’ve caught my ear back then. I still can’t say for sure but chances are that I knew the song.
While I enjoyed “Nothin’ For Nothin’,” the song that came next on the tape, I can’t say that the rest of side one was all that appealing. “Rhythm of Action” was hampered by a deliberately plodding pace that left one feeling rather pale, cold and dead inside.
As for the rest of the songs, two start out slow and progress into more of a rocking track while “Daily Grind” is a fiery rocker from the start. The problem is that none of them really felt like more than filler to me.
Of course, when you get to the second side of the album, things change up a bit. The lead track is “Whiskey River” which is a balls out rocker and a killer tune. Singer Steven David DeLong (as well as the rest of the band) had the glam/sleaze rock look but his voice had a raspy and rough edge to it that gave the better tracks on the album a little extra kick to them.
While the title “I Love Women” isn’t exactly in the vicinity of original, the actual song isn’t bad. And there’s a slickly cool vibe to the rocker “Breakin’ The Law” (which is NOT a cover of the Judas Priest classic).
Admittedly, the power ballad “Heart of Gold” and the closing track “Southern Comfort” left something to be desired, but you also had a stunningly intriguing track like “Devil’s Road.”
The material’s quality may ebb and flow a bit but I found myself rather surprised to be enjoying a lot of what Sweet F.A. had to offer on Stick To Your Guns. I don’t really see a need for them to jump on the get back together after three decades apart bandwagon, but for its time and place, they and this album were entertaining.
NOTES OF INTEREST: The band released one more album, 1991’s Temptation, before they called it a day.
The sides of the album are listed as Side F and Side A. When I first took the cassette out, I thought I had to rewind the darn thing. Also, the title track is the only song whose lyrics are included in the liner notes.
The album’s producer, Howard Benson, played the keyboards for the release.