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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Boulevard, 12 Dec. 2006
By 
A. Jackson "DVFM" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
Buoyed by recording their first proper rock album, "Sweet Fanny Adams", in early 1974, Sweet returned later that year with "Desolation Boulevard".

The format and sound are different here. Long-time producer Phil Wainman was now out of the picture and Mike Chapman (manager and co-writer with Nicky Chinn of all Sweet's hits until then) takes the producer's chair. Chapman urges a sparser sound, with limited overdubs if possible, to create an album probably closer to Sweet's live sound than anything else.

That's not to say the sound is flawed - it's an absolutely gorgeous production - clean, focused giving each member of the band a chance to shine instrumentaly.

Chinn and Chapman contribute two hit singles to the set. Peaking at no.9, the first "The Sixteens" is a huge song with wildly differing tempo changes, slashing Andy Scott power chords, industrious Steve Priest bass and Mick Tucker drums, coupled with confident Brian Connolly vocals. It's also a change of style for Sweet to a more progressive rock sound than early singles potray. "Turn It Down" is a more traditional song for Sweet. Beginning with a supercharged guitar riff from Scott - it's probably the loudest song on the album. As a single "Turn It Down" bombed at no.41, too heavy for the teenyboppers and banned by the BBC for the lyric "..for God's sake.."

"Solid Gold Brass" is a band composition, and shows off Chapman's minimal production to good effect. An unexpected jazzy feel is featured here midway through the song before it returns to power-chord heaven. Already, Sweet are showing signs of expanding their basic sound.

"Medussa" has an experimental feel to it - Moog synthesiser (played by Scott) dominates here and Priest's deliberately off-key bass is another key facet of the song. Scott sings his own "Lady Starlight" - a well-structured power ballad that he did more with as a solo single in 1975. "Breakdown" is a high octane rocker, again featuring what was becoming a trademark multi-track harmony guitar solo from Andy Scott, whilst a cover of "My Generation" feels like the last-day at school as the band gleefully rip into a suitably noisy power-chord ending!

"The Man With The Golden Arm" is Mick Tucker's baby. A brass arrangement begins the song before Sweet play an instrumental backdrop with powerful Connolly vocals. But it's Tucker's five-minute drum solo that makes the song - he includes chimes, gong and timpani to good effect.

But it's an early preview of "Fox On The Run" that is the most fascinating track here. All the key elements are here but it's played in a laid-back style, the solo is quite bluesy, though the song is unmistakably a hit single. Sweet re-recorded it on their own in late 1974, whilst Chinn and Chapman were out of the country, and it gave them a no.2 hit in spring 1975.

"Desolation Boulevard" is a fabulous album, a worthy successor to "Sweet Fanny Adams". But it failed to chart in Britain at all, which is so annoying because Sweet were changing with the times and moving into a slightly-more progressive style that, if nurtured, would've stood them in good stead for the years to come.

Instead, they split with Chinn and Chapman, and probably demoralised by arch-rivals Queen with "Bohemian Rhapsody" - used their freedom to play a couple of albums worth of bland hard rock for a few years. Frustrating....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars solid gold .......errrr....gold!, 2 Jan. 2001
By 
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
Don't confuse this album with the American release of the same name. Though sharing many tracks with the Yank issue this is the real release, whereas that was a 'Greatest' set. Listen to this for the original version of 'Fox on the run' & the magnificent 'Solid gold brass'. Live with the 'Sixteens' just don't 'Turn it down'! You even get the benefit on this release of the extra tracks 'I wanna be committed'(If I remember correctly, almost released as a single before they opted to go with their self penned classics) & 'Teenage rampage'. Possibly one of the finest albums of 1974! Find me a better one & I'll listen to it with pleasure.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great retro rock album, 10 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
I've got the original version of this album without the bonus tracks, so I won't comment on any of those.
The Six Teens is one of my favourite Chinnichap tracks and the opener to this album; slightly less obviously commercial than some of other bubblegum stuff they wrote. The same can be said for Turn it Down which is also featured. However, the bulk of this album is made up of Sweet's own compositions (apart from the cover of The Who's 'My Generation' and the overly drawn out 'Man with the Golden Arm').
Lady Starlight, with Andy Scott on lead vocals, is excellent, as is Solid Gold Brass, Medusa and Breakdown. The album also includes the original version of Fox on the Run, which is fine but doesn't include the wicked intro and harmonies of the single and isn't nearly as polished in general.
After 30 years, it's hard to know if my appreciation of this album is based more on nostalgia that on the merits of the music. However, I like to think it's the latter, at least to a large extent. The music is very much of the 70s, which can make it sound a little dated, but then The Darkness are doing pretty well with a very similar sound.
I'd recommend this album to anyone who likes what the Sweet did with their singles, whether it was the A sides or the B sides. Desolation Boulevard, shows what the band were capable of when left to their own devices. And as the later singles written by the band, such as Action and Fox on the Run proved, they were capable of plenty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teenage, 30 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
Back in 1974 I'd just become a teenager, I really liked glam and I really liked the Sweet. However it took me untill now to purchase this very fine album.

"Desolation Boulevard" that's what I used to call, well I still do, Hythe (Hants) High Street where I grew up and every time I did I thought I really should buy that LP.

So now I have. In my collection I have several compilations so I wasn't expexcting any suprises but now I've started to get band's albums to get the obscure tracks. Wooa! Fox on the run LP version what happened totally brilliant expecting the tracl to be the same mix as the 7". No it sounds much more raw almost like a demo and much harder.

I consider myself lucky to have been born at a time when I lived my life with great bands and music from the Glam and rock of the seventies to the last creative gasp of the British music industry the New wave of New wave in the mid 90's. If the Seet had emerged today I doubt wether the media mafia would have given them the airplay and expose favouring the talentless parodies that exist in popular music. You know who they are we know who you are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blockbuster!!!, 7 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
Don't get me wrong, I really loved Blockbuster and Fox On The Run when they came out back in the seventies, but I never ever listened to a Sweet album, I think the glam rock, chart band image was too strong for me to be interested. More fool me and boy am I glad someone said to try early Sweet out, this album is incredible.

Containing Fox On The Run, one of my favourite singles I didn't know what to expect of the rest; they are brilliant, in fact it would be hard to identify them as Sweet, some of the songs are so a-typical. It opens with the brilliant Chinn-Chapman composition: The Six Teens which draws you in irresistably to the album and progresses through some mind blowing music, particualrly Medussa with it's excellent guitar work and Man With The Golden Arm with its awesome drum solo.

It is easy to spot the influence of Deep Purple here and it is also easy to spot their influence on Judas Priest. I have learned my lesson about books and covers, don't make the same mistake, Sweet were an awesome and influential band and Desolation Boulevard is one of their best albums.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REMEBER BRIAN THIS WAY!, 5 Oct. 2005
By 
COLSEE "colsee" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
This was one of my favourite albums of the 70's.
If you remember BLOCKBUSTER I am sure you will love this.
Some of Sweets own compositions alongside Chinn/Chapman gives this a good mixture of pop and rock.
Excellent stuff!
Lady Starlight has to be one of the best love songs, with style,
and would make a great cover for a modern band.
This version has a few added worthwhile bonus tracks and the sound is a good remaster.
Buy it and think back to the 70's.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rushed release, 29 April 2004
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This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
This album is the second Sweet album if you ignore the various collectionsof singles that preceded 'Sweet FA', and was rushed out in the same yearas that album. It has the feel of not being complete, but that's not tosay that it is bad.
It opens with the fantastic 'Six Teens' and is followed by some greatrockin tracks, including the Andy Scott sung 'Lady Starlight'. After thatit does have a couple of weak tracks. 'Man With the Golden Arm' feels outof place here, and the drum solo is rather unnecessary. Led Zeppelin andBlack Sabbath managed to record studio tracks with drum solos in - 'MobyDick' and 'Rat Salad' respectively - but they wrote a damn good trackaround them. This just isn't a great track (and it's a cover), and thesolo, as good as it is, sounds out of place. There is also the not sogreat recording of 'My Generation'. Brian does an admirable job singing,but he can't match Roger Daltrey's delivery, and although he is abrilliant drummer, Mick Tucker just can't reproduce the fluid and manicdrum rolls of Keith Moon (who can though?).
Other than that, there is nothing wrong with the rest of the album, andthe version of 'Fox on the Run' is very interesting. It has a simplerarrangement and sounds more rough and ready than the single version.
I would love to give it 5 stars as it's one of the classic Sweet albums,but it isn't quite as good as the others from this era.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars US version of a UK Masterpiece, 30 Dec. 2001
By 
This review is from: Desolation Blvd. (Audio CD)
A great compilation of the Sweets finest tracks at the time but don't confuse this with the original UK pressing.
The music, of course, is top notch but it lacks the personality of its UK counterpart.
The more polished version of Fox on the Run is here but I liked the earlier version too.
Still a fine LP & holds up well compared with todays music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "classic 1974 rock", 3 Jan. 2002
By 
Simon Cartlidge (Sheffield, Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
This album is a must for any rock fan of music from that era,it opens with the single "the sixteens"which is a classic on its own,other favorites are "solid gold brass"and the who,s "my generation".This album also contains the original "fox on the run"which i think is better than the re-recorded single version.Yes this album contains all the crashing guitars and vocals that were "sweet" in the 1970,s and is a must for any rock fan of music from that era.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated Sweet, 23 Mar. 2014
By 
John F (Staffordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Desolation Boulevard (Audio CD)
'Desolation Boulevard' may not be as dynamic as 'Sweet Fanny Adams', but it's still a good album. There's the usual ballsy rockers like 'Turn it Down' and 'Solid Gold Brass' while 'Medussa' is a successful stab at pseudo-prog. 'The Man with the Golden Arm' is a lengthy percussion based instrumental that sounds, in parts, like ELP. Also included here is the superior synthed-up single version of 'Fox on the Run'.
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Desolation Boulevard
Desolation Boulevard by Sweet (Audio CD - 2005)
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