The Archies' first album, on which "Sugar Sugar" does light up the top of side two, so new then that Debbie Sherwood fails to mention it in her liner notes. Even apart from that classic, the Archies' crew -- spearheaded by producer Jeff Barry, singer Ron Dante, and puppetmaster Don Kirshner -- rushed out of the gate with 12 ingots of pure pop, tight construction enlivened with supple and spontaneous-sounding harmonies, knowing production tricks ("Melody Hill"'s outer-space jingle bells and "cuckoo, cuckoo" counterpoint), plus a little-appreciated underpinning of soul music. "Inside out-Upside Down"'s call and response flirts with childishness in its glee, but Dante's hearty "pour a little sugar on it baby!" and "put some mustard on my roll" from "Hot Dog" expose the earthy side of this so-called kiddie act. The girl's name in "Feelin' So Good" turns out to be "S.K.O.O.B.Y.-D.O.O."; you suppose Mr. Hanna or Mr. Barbera's ears pricked up?
Everything's Archie Review
by Andrew Hamlin