Sweeney Todd were probably Canada’s first real glam band, who as it turned out made 1975 their own.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Sweeney Todd
ALBUM: Sweeney Todd
LABEL: London Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Nick Gilder – vocals * James McCulloch – guitars * Budd Marr – bass * Dan Gaudin – keyboards, synthesizer * John Booth – drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Roxy Roller * 02 Broadway Boogie * 03 Juicy Loose * 04 Short Distance Long Journey * 05 The Kilt (Instrumental) * 06 Rock ‘N’ Roll Story * 07 Sweeney Todd Folder * 08 See What We’re Doing Now * 09 Day Dreams * 10 Rue De Chance * 11 Let’s All Do It Again
WEBLINKS: Wikipedia Page
It was 1975. Wind the clock back. Vancouver Canada, hardly the glam rock capital of the world. In fact it was probably more like a large Frontier type town supporting various industries, much like Perth Western Australia does for mining, oil and gas. But the city managed to deliver probably Canada’s first real glam band in Sweeney Todd, who as it turned out made 1975 their own.
Of course the big name in the band was lead singer Nick Gilder, who’s history and references don’t need any reminding among the Glory Daze readership. Sweeney Todd was his first shot at stardom, but the band itself couldn’t kick on, delivering a second album in 1977 with a different lineup and capitulating not long after its release.
Of course the stellar single was the lead off track ‘Roxy Roller’, which strutted itself between the British sound of say T-Rex and what would soon be coming down the American pike a la Starz and co. The familiar vocal of Gilder was there for all to hear.
‘Broadway Boogie’ isn’t so much about boogie so much, there’s a bit of orchestration involved so reminiscent of the 70’s. Things take a slightly funky turn on ‘Juicy Loose’, it all sounds a bit undercooked though, notwithstanding the zany synth lines. ‘Short Distance Long Journey’ is a better representation of their sound, swinging merrily with Dan Gaudin’s organ work poking through.
‘The Kilt’ is a 4 and a half minute instrumental which is bit of a licorice allsort, the following ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Story’ throws down some tough guitar licks and sounds all the better for it. ‘Sweeney Todd Folder’ is surprising due to its lightweight delivery. If this was supposed to be a reference to the infamous Fleet Street barber, then the song was kinda lost on me.
‘See What We’re Doing Now’ was a bit of a miss hit, let’s move on to ‘Day Dreams’ instead. This is very British sounding, and of that 1974-1975 timeframe. ‘Rue De Chance’ with its chugging guitar also sounds timelocked as per the previous track. It’s just far too inoffensive to be effective but it’s not without trying. ‘Let’s All Do It Again’ finishes the album in a footstomping and handclapping fashion, but this where the album ends, unless you want to hit the repeat button.
You are likely to hear ‘Roxy Roller’ on any Canadian classic rock station every day of the week. In fact it even made it onto the 2021 TV series ‘Moonshine’, a Canadian show as you would expect. ‘Sweeney Todd’ received numerous reissues but trying to track down a decent fileshare on the Net is proving to be far more problematic. I did find one eventually, task completed.