RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Blue Murder – Blue Murder
Rock Candy Records
www.rockcandyrecords.com

Rating: B+

Rock Candy Records has mined another gem from the hard rock quarry!  This time around it is the debut album by supergroup Blue Murder.  The album, originally released in 1989, was the brainchild of former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes. 

It was Sykes who brought mega success to Whitesnake with his guitar playing on the USA version of Slide It In and his songwriting, and playing, on the album Whitesnake.  Despite his contributions to the Snake’s success, David Coverdale removed him from the band to make way for Steve Vai.

Sykes put together a band with veteran drummer Carmine Appice and former The Firm bassist Tony Franklin.  Sykes was reluctant to take on lead vocals, but after being prodded by record executive John Kalodner, he gave it a shot.  And it worked fine, as he did a great job blasting out the tunes on the album. 

The music was, at times, heavier than what Whitesnake had been, but there were plenty of clues, if one listened carefully to the music to realize that this would have made a damn fine Whitesnake album, had Sykes has stayed in fold. 

The album begins with one of the best tunes on the album, “Riot.”  As with all songs on the album, when it comes time to solo, John blasts it to the moon.  He can flat out play and his solos on this album are fueled by his desire to make his new band every bit as great as his former band. 

“Jelly Roll” was the MTV hit and features a softer, more hair band approach, while “Valley of the Kings,” co-written by one of the people considered for the vocalist job in the band, Tony Martin, is a pure Spinal Tap with a great guitarist rocker. 

“Sex Child” is the best and worst on the album.  It is the best guitar riff, but one of the worst song titles…ever.  The song, however, does rock, no denying that.  But, lyrically, well…it’s not very politically correct!

“Blue Murder” has writing credits by the entire band and was set up to be a great anthem.  “Black-Hearted Woman,” another band written track, ends the album with brute power. 

This is a great debut album from a band that should have been much more popular than they were.  The album did okay, sales wise, but it was not the powerhouse people thought it would be.  To bad, really, as it would have been interesting to see where this band would have gone if the album had been a smash. 

As it stood, the band released a follow-up studio effort in 1993 and a live album the following year before calling it quits.

The Rock Candy version features a great booklet with an interview with John Sykes conducted by rock scribe Malcolm Dome. 

This is a great hard rock album that time almost forgot!  Good thing we have record companies still around like Rock Candy bringing great music where it deserves to be, back to life. 

By Jeb Wright 

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