Tag Archives: Big Sugar

BIG SUGAR/Brothers & Sisters, Are You Ready?(2001)

Yes indeed Brothers and Sisters this was Canadian Act BIG SUGAR’s fifth studio album released back in July of 2001!

Now for those around those parts of the world that have never heard of BIG SUGAR that cover says it all. That would be Sugar founder Gordie Johnson on the cover with that Double Neck Gibson which he still flings around t0 this day!

(Speaking of Gordie he’s good pals with the Black Crowes and has also produced a bunch of the Government Mule albums as well.)

If you recall from my blog posts from this past  July.  Big Sugar showed up to our 3 Day Blues Festival and in my opinion stole the weekend as Gordie J showed up and mowed the crowd down with his Double Neck Gibson  and back catalogue of Sugar Hits from years past like The Scene/Diggin A Hole/Better Get Used To It and not to be outdone previewed a few new tracks that are so good that I will preorder the next Sugar album when GJ decides to drop it!

Space Rock Reggae is the sound that Gordie has described Big Sugar as but to be honest with you. I can add in a side order of mid to late 70’s ZZ Top guitar rock and Big Sugar basically  mash’s up  the two styles that collide on the Very Excellent  Brothers & Sisters,Are You Ready?

My Fingers are sooooooooooooo Greassssssssey!

From the opening sound of a car  motor rev in and squealing out to the simple yet powerful Bass Line of Garry Lowe leads right into Gordie’s guitar and its such a wicked tone as he lays down slithering riffs of delight on the opener Red Rover. What a cool ball of rock genius …check out the video below and oh yeah ..Crank It!

Nashville Grass follows with a wicked like Sabbath attack on the 6  string and basically keeps the pace going right into She Left Ashes which Gordie and crew ease  off of the gas but I just love the simple yet effective use of the production on this album as it sounds raw and no polish is anywhere evident on any of the albums 14 tracks!

Nicotina(She’s All That) was the  debut single from this album and is just a flat-out good time ZZ like track featuring  Mr Chill on the harmonica. The video is classic with a bunch of lady friends that will no doubt make my pal’s Rockin Roberts & BMellis H-A-P-P-Y!

Butterball is just like the title implies! This song is Greasey with a cranked up fuzz Guitar with some ladies dong the backing vocals during g the chorus! Real cool like shuffle with this tune…

Big Sugar digs deep with their own Space Rock Reggae on tunes like Bump On The Head,We Could Live and man I dig so much Gordie’s opening riff rock of Pretty Bird.

Such a great sound that comes across!

All Hells For A Basement is another Super Duper Tune that is like a mashup of Sabbath/ZZ Top as the song rocks in a real Space Rock Way but basically with a Sledgehammer cracking ya over the noggin!

Gordie and Crew finish things up with his electrified version of O Canada

Big Sugar is a great band and even though Gordie shut down Sugar for a few years he’s back with a few new players in his band (Including his wife) but make no mistake he still means business!

Check these guys if they come around your neck of the woods! You never know as Gordie is based out of Texas now!

Pic below is from this past July when Big Sugar rocked the masses in Tbay!

 

T.B.B.F 2017..Day 3/Bachman-Big Sugar/July 9th 2017

Day 3 of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival was basically a bunch of Guitar Rock with these acts..

Right in my wheelhouse you could say…

Myself and Suzi arrived at around 3:40 pm Sunday afternoon but it took us a full half hour to enter the festival grounds. Why you ask? Simple to access the Festival you have to cross train tracks and well two full CN cargo trains one right after another (with one train stopping/backing up changing tracks) held up quite a few people.

The way the tracks are laid out in this town is it will eventually cut a path right through the heart of the city basically splitting the town in two. There’s a few not so shortcuts but amazing in the year 2017 a Choo Choo train can basically halt a town at least for a  few minutes or in this case a half n hour…

Once on the grounds site we dumped our lawn chairs got a couple of Adult Pops and Anthony Gomes was taking the stage. This guy did not disappoint as this is a power trio that loves to blaze hard blues rock. The tempo was set for the day. Anthony and his two other cohorts rocked and rolled and did not let the downpour of rain that blasted down from the skies for a good duration of his set bother him.  Kudos to Anthony he got wet. Just kept wiping his guitar and getting on with it! This is a dude that I’m gonna have to check out. Hell he even at one point tossed a snippet of Van Halen’s Eruption in one of his solo’s so you know he means business!

By the time the  Wide Mouth Mason trio of fella’s hit the stage the rain had passed(still kinda cloudy) and these guys I can tell you showed up. With Gomes setting the bar on frenzied heavy guitar rock WMM’s own guitarist  Shawn Verreault showed up 10 fold. Laid down some great vocals and brilliant guitar playing including lap steel guitar and these guys the last time I saw them was when they opened for The Guess Who back in 2000. WMM has not changed one bit. It was real good to hear songs like Why,Midnight Rain,Tom Robinson.  One of the coolest parts of the Mason set was when Verreault had his lap steel out and the boy’s ripped out a wicked rocked up version of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” that went right into David Bowies ‘Modern Love”. Man it was soooo good. Wide Mouth Mason took the challenge put forth by Gomes and his power trio and Mason Boy’s delivered!

BIG SUGAR. Gordie Johnson is back wearing the suits and he’s revamped Big Sugar. Gone is Mr Chill(Keyboards) and in are a few new musicians (a female backing vocalist)and I will say Sugar was unbelievable on this late afternoon. To me Big Sugar is a mashup of old school 70’s ZZ Top guitar rock mixed with a tinge at  certain time’s of Bob Marley reggae thrown in.  A sound that is known as BIG SUGAR. You want lots of Gibson Double Neck playing? It was here. Live his guitar tone sounds like it does on record. Red Rover was played early on and ‘Brothers and Sisters are you ready?” sang Gordie! Love the tempo these guys toss live. You know you have a decent back catalogue of material to draw from when one of Sugar’s biggest hits Diggin A Hole is played early on. If I Had My Way slinked its way around with Gordie playing some real slick slide guitar. Reggae rock of Turn The Lights On had the crowd moving while the old school ZZ sounding Better Get Used To It was brilliant. You cannot go wrong with this kind of rock. Gordie didn’t speak to much but when he did he told us that Sugar has a new album coming out later in the year and they proceeded to play two new tracks. (Sorry can’t remember the titles) But I will say they sounded like standout tracks and basically have sold me on wanting to purchase the new Sugar album. Slick move to play new tracks as you may lose the crowd but nope they were that good! One being a total rock out track . All Hell For A Basement whipped everyone in the crowd back into shape. Gordie totally slayed me with Sugar’s what I would say is my fav-o song of there’s The Scene. The Scene is a real cool vibe rock full steamer rock n sugar track. The Scene blends great percussion/guitar and vocals with some slick like lyrics. At the end of The Scene Gordie as per Protocol played O Canada on his double neck and flashed the Canadian Flag which was painted on the back of his guitar. BIG SUGAR DELIVERED!

To close out the weekend  it was up to Randy Bachman to cap things off. Did he? Well let’s put it this way. Randy has a ton of material to draw from him and he did by opening up with Roll On Down The Highway. Bachman at the age of 73(!) can still play the six string. The B.T.O material that was played like the classic Four Wheel Drive,You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,Let it Ride,Hey You ( in which Randy and crew jammed some AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long, Steve Millers Rock N Me Rod Stewarts Hot Legs and WIld Thing) Now where he lost some momentum for me(not others mind you) was some of the Guess Who songs. Good songs mind you but songs like These Eyes,Undone  albeit a lot of people here tonight love those tunes to me Randy rules on the BTO stuff! Now saying that when Bachman dug into American Woman which segued into Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love only to return to American Woman was pure brilliance! So some Guess Who worked some in my opinion didn’t work so good. Course The Rand-man wrapped it up with Takin Care Of Business!

Gordie and BIG SUGAR stole the weekend but they were pushed by Mitchell/Doyle/Gomes/Bachman and  Wide Mouth Mason.

Sunday was a bunch of Guitar Rock which was what I wanted to hear in the first place and it was delivered upon.

Too wrap things up about the Festival. I still say the current location is crap. The setting by the lake is awesome but the place with the low stage sucks. The Food Vendors make a huge circle around the festival grounds and are right basically tucked on the sidewalk. This gets way to congested when you have people waiting for food and others just trying to back to their lawn chairs.  Friday and especially Saturday were jammed. Sunday was but not as much.

For the Organisers of  this Festival it’s about the buck. Too hear about broken attendance records all weekend gets nauseating after a while. With all this cash coming in fix this area up!

I think also the lineup nights could have been better but that’s due to availability of course. Bachman/Mitchell Friday Night ..Saturday Doyle should have closed with Bare Naked Ladies playing before Alan.  On Sunday BIG SUGAR should have closed this out. My gripe!

JACKASS MOVE OF THE FESTIVAL GOES TO…We weren’t even 20 minutes on the Festival grounds on Friday  when some ol dude(pushing 60 I would say) as Sue was about to put ice in her drink with a scoop this ol moron couldn’t wait for the scoop decided to grab the ice from the trays  with his bare hands. Sue decided at that point to never use ICE in drinks at a public gathering again(haha). What a DumbFuck this fella was…..

 

SUZI’S DAY 3 BOXSCORE

Anthony Gomes- 10/10

WIDE MOUTH MASON-10/10

BIG SUGAR-10/10

RANDY BACHMAN-8.5/10

Holeee Crap the wifey digs loud guitar Rock!

I’m outta here for a bit ! Thanks for reading!

Darr’s Top 20 Albums OF All Time(2016 Edition)

Darr I have known for about as long as I have known Tbone and there’s a simple explanation  for that and the answer would be that Darr is TBones younger brother( not by much though!)

Darr growing up got the knowledge of all good things Rock from myself and Tbone! Basically it worked like this. I would buy the product. Than pass it on to Tbone and from the inner sanctum of Tbones Basement Bedroom Darr would hear and be and be captivated by the Sonics Of Rock ….

Like what I did to Tbone I loaded up a syringe of Roth Era Van Halen and shot Darr up ! From there he gathered up all things  Rock(1987-88 or so) and found his own path. Digging around buying stuff and I would occasionally check in to see his growing Cassette Collection growing by leaps and bounds. After a short while I knew my work with Darr was done!

So here we are almost 30 years later and when I posted my Top 20 Albums on Facebook Darr delivered and real Super Duper List like along with his old brother as like all good friends do to another  I called them out publicly!

After Darr posted to my FaceCrack page his Top 20 and we bantered a bit I knew I had to yammer  about his selections.

Time To Dissect…..See Darr’s Top 20 Below….

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The Cult Electric and Guns N Destruction just like Tbones and my list made the cut! 1987 Babee……

Aerosmiths Pump(1989) makes an appearance and why wouldn’t  it? Its SoberAero but it still reeks some sleaze ball like slickness that is a classic for sure and just like the Aero albums of Toys In The Attic and Rocks. Steve-o and Joe put the ballad right at the end of the album and I’m real fuckin good with this move! Not a dud on this album and as we had all seen this tour in Winnipeg(March 1990) that may have swayed Darr somewhat but make no bones about Pump! It’s  a bonfide classic!

Like his older brother,Darr selected ZZ Tops Eliminator and this little Texas Nugget rocks bad ass! ZZ Nation is alive and well with the brothers in Tbay!

Heres  something that Darr pulled out of the Rule box and was a pure genius move! He selected Two Van Halen Albums! Now the rules were you couldn’t  pick two albums by the same band so Darr picked the Van Halen debut(1978) with Dave Roth singing and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)with Sammy Hagar singing. True its the same band in name but two different animals in the studio! Van Halens debut is the juggernaut of Guitar Brilliance and the Vocal Shenanigans of Roth while F.U.C.K is Sam fueled with his own spin on tunes like the immortal  Poundcake,Right Now and how could we forget Spank! HA!  Not to be outdone Darr even selected Dave’s Eat Em And Smile  as a Top 20 ….Well Played Darr….

Whitesnake before that Crazy Cougar slid all over hoods of cars made Darr’s list with Slide It In!(1984) Great add Darr as the late great Cozy Powell slams those drums and you have John Sykes( playing chill before he’s let loose a few years later on the 1987 album) along with others like Jon Lord and David Coverdale singing about everything Sex,Sex and more Sex! Hey Sex sells so Slide It In!

AC/DC take Darr on the Highway To Hell(1979) and He’s not coming back folks! Night Prowler,Get It Hot are some Gems there that never get discussed and they should! I need to review that bad boy someday!

Bryan Adams with Into The Fire resonated with Darr and this is another great surprise! This album at the time when released in 1987 kinda stalled publicly as it wasn’t Reckless Part Deux! Adams served up a change ball to us and for Darr he took the pitch! Atta Boy! Hearts On Fire from this album is one of the best tunes I think Adams ever wrote!

Bono and U2 make the grade and you can read my thoughts on TBones post about Achtung Baby(1991).

But a real  deadly pick was The Black Crowes with Shake Your Money Maker(1990) Holeee Fudge Darr! This is easily a piece of Rock Gold! Those two wacky Robinson Brothers nailed this one out of the park and into the next decade,make that two and half decades and the album still cooks! Thick N Thin I just love ..no we love it all!

Like on a few lists Def Leppard shows up and for Darr Its pyro rock n roll with Pyromania (1983). What can I say about a  album launching sonics into another stratosphere ….Man Oh MAN……

Darr does not leave the Canadian Rock behind and picks Rushs debut from 1974 with John Rutsey on the drums and Darr must have taken a shine to the throwback sound of the debut. Why Not? This little debut cooks quicker than Tbone frying Finnish Pancakes in the morning after a hard nights Drinkin!

Tragically Hip show up 20 years later after Rushs debut with Day For  A Night(1994) and compared to my fav of the Hip Road Apples  Day For Night is darker more moodier than Apples kinda like as if the Hip were to take a sledgehammer to a bag of Apples! Day For Night would come to fruition! Mopey Hip but it works! Grace Too is a beauty of a opener!

‘Here I Am I’m On The Scene’ so says Gordie Johnson and Big Sugar are here with 1998s Heated a mash-up of ZZ Top  and Bob Marley with a huge dose  of fuzzed up reggae like tones! Even Randy Bachman plays on Let it Ride and old BTO nugget that Bachman wrote…Sweet add as well….

Rest In Peace! Cupids Dead! Yup that would be Three Sides To Every Story(Yours, Mine And The Truth)  by Extreme and can you once again say Shock A Roo! Darr dug deep into his Sonic LunchBook and Wowzers Nuno and Gary would be pleased to see this! Pretty impressive that back in Grunge 92 these boys could toss out a solid rock record and still have it sell….somewhat!

Dazed And Confused a soundtrack that features amongst others a whose who of Classic Rock! Sabbath,Kiss,Foghat,Cooper,Sweet! There all here…..crank it,drink it,snort it whatever it may be! Added bonus points to Mr Darr for this being the first Soundtrack on any list I seen! A round of Kudos please!

Darrs last couple of picks that I’m gonna talk about are real cool one of which I’m familiar with and one I’m not with…

Jack Whites  Lazaretto just was released two years ago(2014) Too be honest my old buzzard mind has no idea about anything about this release but if Darr included It Lazaretto must be a Solid Ball Of  Rock! Great pick and perhaps one I should seek out myself and Darr can load up the Sonic Syringe and shoot me up with a dose of Jack Rock!

Beastie Boys Paul Boutique came out in 1989 and I even bought this on cassette and it was a huge departure as for myself I was weened on Fight For Your Right To Party from 1986 but man The Beasties change-up the sonic atmosphere and well how about a round of applause for “Shake Yo Rump” Ha…love that tune Mega Pumping Bass! Darr not only stepped out of the box on these two albums but he kicked the snot out of the box! Well done Son!

Actually out of Darr’s  Top 20 list I have only reviewed  4 of these 20 picks.  So I hope you’s all dug it!