Monday, October 18, 2021

"Never Let You Go" by Sweet Sensation

Song#:  3647
Date:  09/17/1988
Debut:  92
Peak:  58
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Freestyle, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  This NYC vocal trio's debut album Take It While It's Hot had thus far spawned three singles. Two of them would make the Pop chart including the title track, which peaked at a minor #57. Still looking for a bigger breakthrough, this fourth single was issued out. It certainly caught on in the clubs with the tune becoming the trio's first and only to reach #1 on the Dance chart. Yet a more mainstream audience was still ambivalent about the group's material and for the third time they were unable to make it into the top half of the Pop chart. It wasn't looking good for trio, but luckily their label stuck with them and a fifth single would help get them on the map.

ReduxReview:  This was another good, yet unremarkable, freestyle track from the trio. I can hear how this might ignite the dance floor in clubs, but it still wasn't the right song to break them in a more mainstream way. When compared to charting songs by other freestyle female groups of the time, this one melded in with the pack and didn't stand out. Ted Currier's production was quite good, but the lead vocals were average and the tune just okay. It sounded like it was geared towards club play with a lot of instrumental passages that focused on beats and production. The melody/chorus seemed more like an afterthought. While this was good for the dance floor, it wasn't necessarily right for pop radio and indeed it failed to make a big impression.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  When their debut album was released, the trio consisted of sisters Margie and Mari Fernandez and Betty Lebron. However, as things began to heat up for the group, Mari was getting uncomfortable with how their career was being developed and handled. According to an online interview with Mari, it seemed that her vision for the group was that each member would have a chance to equally showcase their skills. Yet the company behind the group began pushing Betty out front making it more of a trio with a lead singer. That didn't sit well with Mari. Then the company told them to cut ties with songwriter/producer David Sanchez, the person who initially helped the trio get started and produced two tracks for their debut LP. Mari and David had become good friends and she wasn't about to just toss him aside because someone told her to do so. Frustrated with all that was happening with Sweet Sensation and the path they were being forced down, Mari decided to quit in late '88. Her sister Margie decided to continue on with Betty and they hired in Sheila Vega as Mari's replacement. Around this time, "Never Let You Go" had reached #1 at Dance and their fifth single was shaping up to be a hit. So instead of waiting to fully integrate Vega until the next LP, the record company chose to introduce her by replacing the cover of Sweet Sensation's debut album with a new photo that got rid of Mari and included Vega. In '89, new pressings of the album were sent out with Vega on the cover. However, even though Vega appeared on the cover, she would not be heard on the album as none of the tracks were updated with her voice. The songs all remained intact with Mari's vocals. The new trio would then go on to record a new album that would be issued out in '90.


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