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Sutton, Chris - 1986 Chris Sutton

ARTIST: Sutton, Chris
ALBUM: Chris Sutton
LABEL: Polydor
SERIAL: 829 295-1 and 2 (Europe), POLD 5193 (UK)
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Chris Sutton - vocals * Dan Huff, Paul Jackson Jr - guitars * Neil Stubenhaus, Alphonso Johnson - bass * Steve Baird, Chester Jackson, Steve Ferrone - drums * Robbie Buchanan, Peter Wolf- keyboards, bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Trouble * 02 Tell It Like It Is * 03 Prince Of Justice * 04 Voices * 05 (You Just Can't) Tear It From A Heart * 06 Don't Get Me Wrong * 07 You Worry Me * 08 Know It All * 09 That One Love Feeling * 10 Don't Push Your Love * 11 The Money Ain't Worth It

Prior to becoming the less prolific half of the 'SAS' forward pairing with fellow Blackburn Rovers striker Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton got his start as a songwriter and high-tech AOR magnate in the mid 80's. Well it would have been funny if that was the case, but of course I jest. This Sutton was of the Scottish variety and was a songwriter prior to his solo debut, appearing on Starship's 'Knee Deep In The Hoopla' in 1985. Polydor saw the chance for Sutton to break out on his own and hired a Premier League level set of musicians to assist him, with the album produced by Dennis Lambert of Player. The result is surely one of the most blatant high-tech AOR albums of the period, utilizing every cliche imaginable with the keyboard overkill.

The Songs
Anyone familiar with albums from the same period by guys like Nick Jameson, Bobby Barth and John Parr should know what to expect here. The synthesized bass is on overload and often there's an obvious lack of guitar, overshadowed by the keyboard effects. Sutton has a knack for a decent chorus however and 'Trouble' introduces us to his agenda, with the drum machine working overtime as he plays the undercover lover role. Clearly he's trying to sound American vocally, but it sounds odd as his Scottish accent mixes in uncomfortably. 'Tell It Like It Is' is an energetic piece which isn't out of place with someone like Pat Benatar or Go West, made for the radio sound of 1986. Sutton gets sultry on 'Prince Of Justice', one of the singles taken from the album, which went nowhere.

The cover of Russ Ballard's 'Voices' features some classic synth work, although surely the Ballard cover treatment was at the overkill point in the 80's. '(You Just Can't) Tear It From A Heart' is prime soundtrack material for any mid 80's movie, rather wimpy in tone, but still given a passionate rendering by Sutton. Not being the biggest high-tech fan in the world, some of the following tracks push the repetition level, but the dramatic 'You Worry Me' raises the excitement level, with Sutton coming off a bit like Rod Stewart. 'That One Love Feeling' is nauseating pop, with a sickening choir in the background ala Foreigner, seemingly the thing to do back then. 'Don't Push Your Love' is surely Tim Feehan or Chris Eaton in disguise, while 'The Money Ain't Worth It' again recalls Go West, with that slick pop/AOR sound everyone toyed with back then.

In Summary
The album didn't make much of a dent apparently and it was only recently I snagged a copy, despite having been aware of its existence for over a decade. Sutton released a further album titled 'Songs Into The Light' in 1993 and continued to produce obscure pop artists, seemingly leaving his own solo career to evaporate like his footballing counterparts goal scoring ratio with Chelsea in 1999-00. Despite some worthwhile tracks, this is for the most dedicated high-tech addict only, falling short of the mark needed to get a full endorsement.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 28 2018 08:30:24
Sutton has released a handful of EP's, which are online for streaming purposes. He also released the 'Live In London' CD, which came out in 2013 I believe. It can be found on Deezer, so too 'Songs Into The Light', but strangely, not this one.
#2 | gdazegod on February 28 2018 08:32:25
I have to say, I didn't really like this. It's good but not great. I think his accent gives it away.

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