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

Derringer – Sweet Evil
21 Guns – Salute
Rock Candy Records

Rating: C+

Rick Derringer was a rock and roll hero going clear back to the days of The McCoys and the classic tune “Hang On Sloopy.”  Next came high profile gigs with Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter.  By the time the mid 1970’s hit he found himself fronting the band Derringer, which included second guitarist Danny Johnson, drummer Vinny Appice and bassist Kenny Aaronson.

The band were going for a more pop oriented hard rock sound and damn near made it…yet they stopped short of major success.  They even brought in Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas to record them yet this still didn’t take them over the top.

Here is what happened: The music is good but not great.  The production is fine yet it lacks the pop and sizzle of an Aerosmith album.  The performances are okay yet nothing begs the listener to come back for more. 

On the plus side, Rick could play a nice guitar solo and his backing band was made up of damn fine musicians.  “Don’t’ Stop Loving Me” should have been a big hit but perhaps the song, and the album, were just a few years too late.

Rock Candy have resurrected this one and added some new liner notes sprucing this one up.  They continue to kick ass when it comes to finding albums like Sweet Evil that coulda/shudda but were not quite what they might have been.  

This one, to be totally honest, lies somewhere in middle.  With songs like “One Eyed Jack” and Sitting By the Pool” the band proved they could rock.  Yet, at the end of the day, America only partly agreed. 

A fickle bunch rock and roll fans can be! 

By Jeb Wright