Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cash Box Chart Scrapers: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver - Reach for the Sky (1975)

Eighth in a series.  To be considered a "chart scraper" album, an artist must have had only one album make the Cash Box 200 album chart* during the years 1976-85.  Said album spent no more than two weeks on the chart, placing no higher than 196.  They're all new to me.

Reach for the Sky
Released: 1975 (Columbia)
Produced by: Howard & Ron Albert

Side One Side Two
When the Train Comes
Dirty City
Arms of Mary
Something Special
Love on the Moon
Ain't Too Proud
Dr. Dancer
Reach for the Sky
Moonlight Lady
Mad Trail

May 22, 1976197

click photos to enlarge

Rolling Stone, April 22, 1976

Geoff Brown, New Musical Express

Aside from having, in Tim Renwick, the best "undiscovered" lead guitarist in Britain, SB&Q provide one of the richest and most prolific sources of material in the country with Iain and Gavin Sutherland. Now that the Suth song Sailing has become a number one hit, more people will take heed of this fine band. After two albums as the Sutherland Brothers and two since their marriage with Quiver, the group have parted company with Island, who tried so hard to break the group and, though they twice came within a hair's breadth - (I Don't Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway and Dream Kid - it didn't work. CBS hope for better luck and Reach for the Sky, produced by Ron and Howie Albert, is the way to go about it: to "make" the group's own luck as a soccer boss might say. The album isn't their masterpiece by any means. Dream Kid almost was, and the first side of Reach for the Sky is above that very high standard. The second side is less successful, containing a couple of weak songs which spoil the energy SB&Q generate so naturally. The first side has four Iain tunes and one by Gavin. It also has three immensely magical guitar solos from Tim Renwick, the sort that progress so attractively that it is impossible not to want to memorise them note by note, and their development is so logical that such a feat of the mind is easy. When the Train Comes, the first track on the album, opens with a Renwick solo that stokes the boiler until, after the vocal statement, the guitarist picks up the last vocal notes (Iain imitating a train whistle, Renwick following suit on guitar) for another fine, note-ringing solo. Arms of Mary, an Iain-penned ballad, is the centre pin of the side and its longing, lonely sentiments are perfect for Iain's straining vocal.

The second side takes longer to impress, but once the calm, satisfied grace of Moonlight Lady works its charms, the side takes shape. Gavin's Dr Dancer is immediately winning: its chorus is marvellously catchy. Reach for the Sky is the first SB&Q album without Pete Wood's keyboards and he is not missed. Greater attention seems to have been paid to the group's vocal harmonies and that too is a step in the right direction. Reach for the Sky is another fine album from a grand British band. Both the group and the album are highly recommended.

Billboard, February 21, 1976


Country/rock from Scotland (more country than rock, to my ears). Weak material well-performed. Didn't do anything for me, but if you like album filler cuts for CSN, Eagles, or early Doobies, then maybe this is for you.  I'll admit to liking "Something Special" and "Dr. Dancer," but that's it.

Fared only slightly better on the Billboard charts, spending 2 weeks in the 200, debuting May 9, 1976 at 197, peaking at 195 the next week, then disappearing.


*Cash Box chart information was taken from the book The Cash Box Album Charts, 1976-1985 (Scarecrow Press, 1987)

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