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68 Was 68

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Album Review

Although Brian Connolly is best known, before his chart-topping career as frontman with the Sweet, for replacing Ian Gillan in Wainwright's Gentleman, he was also a jobbing session singer, on call to voice demos for a variety of different bands and songwriters. A couple of songs from this period, "I'm on My Way" and "My Little Girl From Kentucky," have previously seen the light of day, released in America, France, and Belgium in 1973, following the Sweet's own breakthrough — and credited to the Sweet themselves. Recorded between 1967 and 1968, 68 Was 68 draws another eight nuggets from this same stockpile, a breezy selection of light pop songs roughly comparable to the kind of material that the likes of Andy Ellison, David Bowie, and David Essex were recording around the same time. Very little evidence of Connolly's future persona is detectable, of course, although the music certainly has a period charm, while the youngster's voice is undeniably confident. Of course, the absence of even a hint of future Sweet-ness renders the collection of academic interest to all but the most devoted collectors, while the poor sound quality (apologized for on the CD sleeve) might also pose a problem. This is especially pronounced, sadly, on the bonus track, the demo for the Sweet's own first single, the melodically Bee Gees-esque "Slow Down." The package's omission of any concrete background information is also disappointing. But, if you can overcome each of those stumbling blocks, 68 Was 68 nevertheless emerges a very enjoyable and, maybe, even historically important chapter in the early Sweet story.

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68 Was 68, Brian Connolly
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