Forgotten series: Sugarloaf – Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You (1975; 2010 reissue)

The roots of Sugarloaf can be traced back to a pair of historic Colorado garage rock bands. Drummer Jerry Corbetta and guitarist Bob Webber were in the Moonrakers, while Bob Raymond played bass in the Soul Survivors.

Come 1969, Jerry and Bob fled the Moonrakers and set about putting a new band together. That’s when the other Bob entered the picture, and shortly thereafter Myron Pollock was recruited on board as drummer. No longer a stick man, Jerry now held the role of lead singer and keyboardist, and Sugarloaf was raring to go.

Success was instant, as the band scored a No. 3 hit single in the summer of 1970 with “Green Eyed Lady,” an infectious slice of soul-stained pop-rock magic. Sugarloaf had certainly gotten off to a great start but, and this was by no means their own fault, unable to incite an encore. Although the band remained intact and continued to tour and record, they struggled every inch of the way.

Four years passed before Sugarloaf visited the charts again. Late 1974 saw the title track to Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You, a sarcastic but brutally honest ode to the trials and tribulations of trying to land a record deal, grip the Top 10. Navigated by commanding vocals, swaggering rhythms, the tone of a dialing telephone, a tugging chorus, and an engaging story line, the uptempo tune was pitched somewhere between funky white boy soul and power pop. Smack dab in the middle of the song, the band namechecks the Beatles and even hurls the classic riff of “I Feel Fine” into the mix. Sugarloaf could never be accused of not having a sense of humor!

Originally pressed on the Claridge label, Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You (Airline Records) involves an appealing balance of experimental sounds and commercial tendencies. Sugarloaf channels their inner progressive rock aspirations on cuts like “Lay Me Down” and “Lookin’ For Some Fun,” which twist and turn with roaming keyboard work outs, penetrating breaks, and nimble guitar exercises, evoking memories of the Who’s “Who’s Next,” Yes, and Uriah Heep.

Elsewhere, there’s the gospel-scented “Colorado Jones,” the hook happy pop pleasures of “Round and Round,” and “I Got a Song,” a beautiful piano dominated piece that lends a tip of the ivories to Elton John.

A clutch of bonus tracks are featured on the Fuel 2000 reissue of Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You as well, including a live version of “Green Eyed Lady,” the bluesy countrified funk of “Texas Two Lane,” which sort of suggests a poppier incarnation of ZZ Top, the disco reggae-styled “Last Dance,” and “Stars in Her Eyes” that sparkles to the skies with luscious melodies and finely crafted structures and arrangements.

Sugarloaf was a superb band, and their flair for writing and performing strong material is tirelessly emphasized on Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You. Flexible, spirited, and energetic are the tunes, and that alone counts for a lot.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.