Sweet Thunder – 1978 – Sweet Thunder

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Formed in 1975 in Philadelphia, by Booker Newberry III (keyboards, lead vocals). The other members were Charles Allen Buie ((lead guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Rudell Alexander (bass, vocals), John Aaron (drums, vocals), David Thomas (16) (keyboards, vocals).

Newberry began his professional singing career in the group Mystic Nights around 1971. Moving to Philadelphia he became the lead singer of Sweet Thunder.

Signing with the Philly-based record label WMOT Records, the group’s single, “Baby I Need Your Love Today” b/w “I Don’t Care What You Say,” stirred interest and was picked up for distribution by Berkeley, California based Fantasy Records.

The group recorded three albums, Above The Clouds (1976), Sweet Thunder (1978), and Horizons (1979), the latter of which saw the single “I Leave You Stronger“, go to #63Billboard R&B chart in late 1979. Newberry joined another WMOT Records group, Impact, who was best known for the dance hits “Give a Broken Heart a Break” and “Rainy Days Stormy Nights“.

Newberry signed with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records in 1983, and his solo single “Love Town” originally released on the Boardwalk label, was a Top 10 UK hit. The Love Town album was issued the same year. He has also recorded for Malaco Records and Omni Records – (the LP Take a Piece of Me).

Tracks
A1 Baby I Need Your Love Today 8:52
A2 I Don’t Care What You Say 6:04
A3 Hot Line 5:37
B1 Everybody’s Singin’ Love Songs 4:59
B2 Keep On Growin’ 4:36
B3 Joyful Noise 4:25
B4 Sweet Thunder 5:12

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Review from All Things Deep

While Sweet Thunder never had the chart success of their contemporaries Slave, Lakeside or Sun, they nonetheless are a testament to the strength of the Ohio scene during the 1970s.   Comprised of John Aaron (drums), Booker Newberry (keyboards), Charles Buie (guitar) and Rudell Alexander (bass), the Youngstown, Ohio based group earned a record contract by sending out demo tapes to various labels; the band did not even have a name until WMOT signed them in 1976. 

With excellent vocal harmonies as their trademark, the obscure Above The Clouds hit shelves in 1976 and sank without a trace.  Their breakthrough came when their self-titled disc was issued in 1978.  Equally effective at uptempo tunes and slow jams, the ballad “Baby I Need Your Love Today” hit the top 20 as a single that year.  The song still receives occasional airplay on quiet storm radio.

Despite an auspicious beginning, Sweet Thunder broke up by 1980.   Questionable record label policies may have hastened their demise; although they were signed to Philadelphia-based WMOT, their records were distributed by west coast jazz label Fantasy. Needless to say, soul music was not Fantasy’s strength, and none of their LPs received much promotional support from the label. 

Booker Newberry was the only member to continue as a recording artist. He is best known for “Love Town” (Boardwalk, 1983) and “Take A Piece of Me” (Omni, 1986). 

sweet thunder label a

Sweet Thunder’s Deepest Grooves

Above The Clouds (Fantasy/WMOT, 1976)

Sweet Thunder (Fantasy/WMOT, 1978)
An underground classic highlighted by the stompers “Everybody’s Singing Love Songs” and “Make A Joyful Noise.” Also home to their biggest hit, “Baby I Need Your Love Today.”  Pay special attention to “I Don’t Care What You Say”, which transforms from a ballad into propulsive dancefloor material, a la “Love Hangover.”  And you can’t go without the soulful cult classic “Hot Line”, which was also done by the equally obscure Shotgun.

Horizons (Fantasy/WMOT, 1979)
The hardest-hitting Sweet Thunder album, with elements of P-Funk, Isley Brothers and Maze audibly noticeable alongside the classic Sweet Thunder sound.  Most notable cuts include “It’s You That I Need”, “Rock“, and “Tender Days“.

Everybody’s Singing Love Songs (Hot, 1995)
Lazy reissue of the second album under a different title.  Includes no bonus tracks.

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24 Comments
  • Robert
    Posted at 02:38h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    thank you!!

  • Garry M
    Posted at 09:10h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    Oh man I used to lose it off this jam back in the day in Philly.

  • Linda
    Posted at 09:14h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    I love this, starts off all sweet and slow, and then….

  • zobba
    Posted at 09:59h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    Thanks

  • Grumpy
    Posted at 17:38h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    Thank you!

  • Trainer
    Posted at 19:32h, 12 May 2015 Reply

    Yo, unbelievable post!! Thanks so much!

  • Belagosi
    Posted at 08:47h, 13 May 2015 Reply

    Brilliant donation on the best blog of the era. Top!Top!Top stuff.

  • Fabian
    Posted at 12:52h, 13 May 2015 Reply

    Really Nice!

  • Dexter
    Posted at 23:14h, 13 May 2015 Reply

    PERFECT!!!!!!!!

  • Rick
    Posted at 23:35h, 13 May 2015 Reply

    I love this song. It’ll never go away.

  • Thomas
    Posted at 09:05h, 14 May 2015 Reply

    i just love this, brings back memories

  • Pablo
    Posted at 09:16h, 14 May 2015 Reply

    Ohhhh, man!!!! I really liked this album.There are some just delicious and timeless tunes.

  • Fred
    Posted at 10:15h, 14 May 2015 Reply

    Super Funky, thanks.

  • Jahcisco
    Posted at 19:38h, 14 May 2015 Reply

    Thanks. Much appreciated.

  • Vic
    Posted at 09:13h, 15 May 2015 Reply

    Keep that spirit strong, brethren!

  • Northsoul4
    Posted at 09:17h, 15 May 2015 Reply

    Some much love too ya. Pure quality!!!

  • Prelude
    Posted at 14:21h, 15 May 2015 Reply

    Wow !

  • Miles35
    Posted at 09:14h, 18 May 2015 Reply

    Thank you what a fantastic choice

  • Gabriel
    Posted at 09:25h, 18 May 2015 Reply

    Excelente, gracias!

  • παυλος
    Posted at 12:32h, 18 May 2015 Reply

    καλημέρα.
    παλιότερα σου είχα ζητήσει το ΕΖΥ & ISAAC.
    υπάρχει στο plixid .
    κατέβασέ το, αν δεν τόχεις κάνει ήδη, είναι δισκάρα.

  • Nowheretorun
    Posted at 21:10h, 18 May 2015 Reply

    what a groove.

  • Catpeople
    Posted at 18:48h, 19 May 2015 Reply

    groovin on this

  • Méndeztv
    Posted at 07:29h, 06 June 2015 Reply

    Gracias hermanos….
    Buena Música 🙂 .

  • Méndeztv
    Posted at 07:30h, 06 June 2015 Reply

    Buena música bro
    Graciaaas !

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