November 21, 2002
Pop/Rock, AM Pop, Bubblegum

Album Review

The two dozen songs on Sugar, Sugar... come from the first four long-players issued in conjunction with the CBS-TV animated program The Archie Show and the expanded Archie Comedy Hour. The project was spearheaded by pop music mogul Don Kirshner. Having scored notable success with early Monkees sides, he found another batch of recording studio pros to provide material and audibly animate the Archies. Among the primary contributors were Ron Dante (vocals/guitar), Andy Kim (vocals), and Jeannie Thomas (vocals), who was replaced by Toni Wine (vocals). The Archies (1968) was the prefab combo's debut and despite an appearance in the album charts, this package yields only the churning midtempo "Truck Driver," the pseudo-affective and hormone-driven ballad "Seventeen Ain't Young," and the infectious bubblegum frolic "Bang-Shang-A-Lang." Conversely, ten of the 12 cuts from the follow-up, Everything's Archie (1969), are present and accounted for. These include the mega hit "Sugar, Sugar" as well as "Feelin' So Good," "Melody Hill," "Rock & Roll Music" (not to be confused with the Chuck Berry classic), "Don't Touch My Guitar," "You Little Angel, You," "Bicycles, Roller Skates and You," "Inside Out, Upside Down," "Love Light," and the infectiously fun "Hot Dog," which fans will recall is the name of Archie Andrews' prankster pup. Jingle Jangle (1969) produced the Top Ten title tune, which sits alongside "Everything's Alright," "Justine," "Get On the Line," "Sugar and Spice," and "Archie's Party." If for no other reason, the latter is memorable for the immortal spoken line "Jughead, stop touching my body!" during the instrumental break. Perhaps the lackluster showing of Jingle Jangle instigated a more mature sound for the Archies on Sunshine. This anthology contains "Sunshine," "Who's Gonna Love Me," and "Over and Over" from the predominantly forgettable affair. That leaves the original Archies' Greatest Hits (1970) compilation, which is worth mentioning as it was the only LP to have the Top 40 side "Who's Your Baby." As an example of how far the band had come from the characters on the TV, the track features a very prominent bass vocal that could easily be equated to the likes of Isaac Hayes or Barry White. Of the numerous Archies collections available, this one is recommended as a perfect primer to the Archies' most essential entries.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Bang-Shang-A-Lang
  2. Feelin' So Good (S.K.O.O.B.y.D.O.O.)
  3. Sugar Sugar
  4. Sunshine
  5. Jingle Jangle
  6. Who's Your Baby
  7. Everything's Alright
  8. This Is Love
  9. Truck Driver
  10. Love Light
  11. Melody Hill
  12. Over and Over
  13. Justine
  14. Rock and Roll Music
  15. Don't Touch My Guitar
  16. You Little Angel
  17. Hot Dog
  18. Inside Out - Upside Down
  19. Get on the Line
  20. Sugar and Spice
  21. Bicycles, Roller Skates and You
  22. Seventeen Ain't Young
  23. Who's Gonna Love Me
  24. Archie's Party