Derringer -The Complete Blue Sky Albums 1976-1978 album review

Rock’n’roll’s nearly man’s golden years

Cover art for Derringer -The Complete Blue Sky Albums 1976-1978 album

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golden years. Odd to think of the Grammywinning Rick Derringer – the teenage guitar prodigy who went on to dazzle both Edgar Winter and Steely Dan – as a nearly man. Given his pedigree and the band he built around him for Derringer in 1976 – Danny Johnson, Kenny Aaronson and Vinny Appice – it’s still a surprise that the album didn’t spark a band career. Pushing back against his teenage pop career, Derringer opted for a hard rock album that stands favourable comparison with Montrose’s debut, although when it came to producing the record it was clear that Derringer was no Ted Templeman. That said, it’s a real, almost forgotten highlight of this five disc set that gathers the band’s three studio albums together with the excellent Live In Cleveland and the timeless Derringer Live.

By the band’s own admission, they never caught that sort of live spirit in the studio. And while their debut lacks punch there’s no denying the impact of Let Me In and Sailor.

Let Me In and Sailor. Jack Douglas (Aerosmith) came in to oversee follow-up Sweet Evil, and time has been kind to it – the strutting Sittin’ By The Pool and the rolling I Didn’t Ask To Be Born still sound especially good. But, like its predecessor, it didn’t capture America’s imagination. Appice and Johnson were gone before the band’s final album, If I Weren’t So Romantic, I’d Shoot You, was released. Tellingly, it’s the weakest of the three studio records, sounding the death knell for Derringer’s solo dreams in a short, frenetic two-year span.

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.