THE STERLING COOKE FORCE – Full Force (1984) USA
Original 1984 UK issue / FRENCH pressing 9-track vinyl LP. On EBONY label. Catalogue No: EBON 20.
vinyl looks unused / near mint, but that’s a biassed opinion. Check out the pictures and make up your own mind.
THE STERLING COOKE FORCE was an American Heavy Rock band formed in 1980 around guitarist Sterling Koch (aka “Sterling Cooke”), in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
The group made their recording debut with a self-released 1982 7″ single, “Don’t Need You Anymore”, backed by a cover version of THE BEATLES “Tomorrow Never Knows”.
The single somehow brought the band to the attention of Darryl Johnston, head of the UK based Ebony Records label, who signed the band, and brought them to England to record their debut LP, “Full Force”, as well as producing the record.
The album has an obvious Hendrix influence to it, with Cooke leading from the front, fretboard pyrotechnics well to the fore with a tight and Hard Rocking band ably backing him up.
A 1985 Ebony single “Down On Love”, contained more of the same, with a new bassist and singer beefing up the sound somewhat.
The Sterling Cooke Force returned in 1986 with the “Force This!” album on Ransom Records, but by this time Cooke was the only constant, recording with a revolving line-up of musicians.
A third album, “Taken By Force”, was recorded in 1988 but was never released, as The Sterling Cooke Force disintegrated before finding a label to issue the record.
Cooke then pursued a solo career, releasing 3 instrumental shred-fest cassette only albums between 1990 and 1996, and becoming a born-again Christian.
1998s “In The Spirit”, saw him go acoustic, as well as reverting to the Sterling Koch monicker, with a Christmas album following in 2000.
In this time, Koch put together a new band project called V.I.H. (Victory In Heaven), a more Blues-Rock oriented outfit, releasing three albums between 2001-2003, but this line-up of the band collapsed in 2004.
2 more solo albums were issued, before Koch decided he was resurrecting the V.I.H. name for a new band project, but by now he was playing more and more lap steel guitar, so the two subsequent V.I.H. albums have a far more rootsy sound than their predecessors.
Alongside V.I.H., Koch has continued to make solo albums, these also showcasing his love of lap steel blues guitar, with two in this style already released with a new Mini album “Steel Guitar Blues”, released just recently.
Music Genre: American Heavy Metal
This album was recorded at: Ebony Studios
Album cover design: Joanne Barton, Jean Hoyes
Record Label: EBONY EBON 20
Record Format 12″ Vinyl Stereo Gramophone Record
Total Album (Cover+Record) weight: 230 gram
Year & Country Made in France
Personnel/Band Members and Musicians on: STERLING COOKE FORCE – Full Force
A1 Hit And Run 3:37
A2 I Can’t Stand It 4:22
A3 Shes Gonna Get You 4:35
A4 Makin’ My Way 3:57
B1 Ain’t Wastin’ My Time 3:40
B2 Got Enough Love 3:58
B3 Don’t Need You Anymore 3:30
B4 Killing Time 4:10
B5 Going Home 3:29
Michael Dutz – Bass
Sterling Cooke – Guitar, vocals
Albie Coccio – Drums
THE STERLING COOKE FORCE: Full Force
No list of true obscurities would be complete without Pennsylvania’s obscure hard rock acts Sterling Cooke Force. Signed briefly to the UK’s Ebony Records, their début “Full Force” was released in 1984. As fate would have it, label mates Grim Reaper were already making waves in the industry and the small staff at Ebony focused all of their attention on moving them to the next level. Consequently, this meant “Full Force” received very little promotion and airplay. Within a year or so, the band was already without a label and struggling to make a dent in the American scene. An indie released follow up album did little to improve the situation and the band ceased to exist by the late ’80s.