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Roadmaster – Sweet Music [1978]

ROADMASTER_SMCountry USA          

Style Pomp Rock/AOR

Rating 83/100

Band Members Bobby Johns – Drums,Vocals, Michael Read – Keyboards,String Arrangements,Vocals, Rick Benick – Guitar,Vocals, Stephen McNally – Lead Vocals,Acoustic Guitar, Toby Myers – Bass,Vocals

Tracks 01. It Doesn’t Mean A Thing (3:21), 02. I Must Be Dreaming (3:21), 03. Ya Move Me (3:44), 04. Been Gone Too Long (3:46), 05. I’ll Be Lovin’ You (3:05), 06. The Swan Song (1:38), 07. You Come See Me (3:32), 08. Higher, Higher (6:01), 09. Circle Of Love (3:01), 10. Sweet Music (6:39)

Profile Roadmaster presumably named for Buick’s iconic car, released in 1978 their second album titled “Sweet Music”, an album with ten songs and one of those awesome obscurities that fans of AOR, pomp, and 70s hard rock should definitely seek out. This effort was the first to signal the band’s change of artistic direction, which veered away from journeyman boogie to full blown AOR pomp. Nothing signifies this change more than the opening cut, “It Doesn’t Mean A Thing”. With hooks galore and syrupy synths and strings, it should’ve been a huge single. Oddly enough, that never happened and it’s matters like this that help to explain why Roadmaster never really broke through to the mainstream. Poor promotion, lack of exposure and mismatched touring partners were all to blame and it’s a real shame.

The band consists by frontman Stephen Mcnally, guitarist Rick Benick, bassist Toby Myers, keyboardist Michael Read and Bobby Johns on drums. Their songs had everything a pomp AOR band needed, which is spacy keyboards/ synthesizers, many harmony vocals, long songs, different choruses, melodic lead vocals and still some heavy guitar work every now and then.

The titled track and the opening song “It Doesn’t Mean A Thing” are the highlights on this record and definitely would fit nicely into the playlist of any current FM classic rock station. As for the songs to be a bit more detail starting with the opener “It Doesn’t Mean A Thing” is a fantastic AOR/radio rocker, with those lovely harmony vocals, piano-keys, and hookliness that pomp rock fans will definitely love, while “Ya Move Me” is a very good rough mid tempo 70s pomp rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of Angel and the ill-advised funky disco dance party “I’ll Be Loving You” will detract a bit from the nearly perfect pomp explosion that is followed to the next songs. Back in 1978 Styx was very popular in the USA, so they had an influence on many new rock bands.

Happily Roadmaster was one of them and that we can see it pretty clear on “You Come See Me”, a great mid tempo late 70s pure pomp rock like a mixture of Touch and Styx and on majestic epic “Higher, Higher”. Another classic pomp rocker having a wonderful second chorus with pomp classic harmony vocals and after the guitar solo the second chorus has some incredible synths that are a pomp dream, closing the song with only those synths. The song “Circle Of Love” was very Styx orientated and was a high class pomp rock semi-ballad with in the beginning lead vocals that sound like Tommy Shaw. Later in the heavier part of the song it was more pure pomp rock with classic harmony vocals. The final track of “Sweet Music” was the title track “Sweet Music” that was also good typical pomp rock with great synths. 

This album is an absolutely fantastic chunk of catchy, upbeat songs done by real musicians with a penchant for memorable choruses and bright production values. Not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you insist on flashy pyrotechnics like screaming guitars and earth-shaking vocals, but if you’re in the mood for some straight forward AOR with both feet firmly planted on the rock n roll side of the fence, check this one out.



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Rating: 8.7/10 (9 votes cast)
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Roadmaster - Sweet Music [1978], 8.7 out of 10 based on 9 ratings
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