Friday, March 23, 2007

Blue Murder-s/t, 1989

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A little while after getting let go from Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes (also formerly of Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy) hooked up with drummer Carmine Appice and bass player Tony Franklin. Franklin had played with the Firm and Appice had been around the block having played with Ozzy, Ted Nugent, King Kobra, Vanilla Fudge, Cactus and Humble Pie. They formed Blue Murder and were signed to Geffen. Sykes, an experienced back-up singer took on lead vocal duties here and he does a decent job. The apple didn't fall far from the tree as there is a good dose of Whitesnake present on this album. Maybe some Dio thrown in there as well at times. Yet there is more as well as the music sometimes has an almost dreamy quality that works. It sounds like each member is really going at it without going overboard. I love the thick, rich production as it certainly sounds like there are more than three guys playing here. I think they mix it up with different paced songs and some variations in style. The album peaked at number 68 on the Billboard charts which is a decent for a debut. Yet they really should have been bigger. I think perhaps it was maybe two years past when it could have been huge. By 1989 the sappy power ballads and thinner commercial hard rock were growing in popularity. Stuff like Blue Murder almost had at least part of a foundation in 1970's hard rock wasn't what people wanted in the late 1980's. However this album holds very well today and that can't be said for everything else that came out in 1989. So this was a Supergoup that actually lived up to their hype.


Blogger On My Watch said...

Played this one over and over. loved them. it's a shame they didn't really take off but you're right about the bad timing thing. I thought Sykes had a great voice.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Robert Ethier said...

I remember being pretty excited about this one. I love Valley of the Kings and Jelly Roll and Ptolemy. Sex Child was OK, but you could really tell on that one how much Sykes had to do with Whitesnake's self-titled would fit in nicely with Still of the Night.

5:38 AM  
Blogger captain corky said...

Never heard of them but I definitely can see how the timing wasn't right for them. Good review.

5:45 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Love this album. One of my favorites from the time. Jelly Roll is catchy and made a good single, but I liked Ptolemy, Billy, Blue Murder, and Valley of the Kings.

The second album was a big let down. I rarely listen to it anymore, even though I want to like it. You know it's not good when the big hook for that album was a remake of Itchycoo Park.

-- david

6:32 AM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

This disc will go down as one of my all time favorite CD's.

To me this was pretty much a continuation of the sound that made Whitesnake's 1987 disc so great.

If you do not own this, you need to run to pick this up! It is excellent.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Onmywatch-I think it is still highly regarded today though.

Robert-I like most of the album.

Captain Corky-Thanks.

David-I still have not heard the second and probably won't get it unless it's two bucks or so.

Hardrockhideout-I definitely like it better than the Whitesnake album, but they are similar in style.

10:13 AM  
Blogger rock_of_ages said...

Definately a good album but Sex Child is poor IMHO. Jelly Roll is a cracker tho and I'm surprised no-ones mentioned the epic Valley Of The Kings co-written with Sabbath's Tony Martin. He nearly ended up as the singer in this project!

On the subject of supergroups I've just posted up a review of an overlooked UK supergroup at Rock Of Ages. The very excellent Faces! No one's put their name forward here yet.

10:22 AM  
Blogger aXe mAn said...

Blue Murder was a great super-group!! They put out a couple good albums. Both were really good!
But their first one was my favorite!!!
John Sykes ROCKS!!!
Some of my favorite Blue Murder tracks are:
"Black Hearted Women", "Valley Of The Kings", and "Jelly Roll"!
So.... it is plain and simple:
Blue Murder KICKED ASS!!!

5:07 PM  
Blogger Pizzle said...

yeah Blue Murder was amazing!
@mark, do you have an email or so? got a question for you but couldn't find a way to contact you on your profile

5:34 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Rock of ages-Sex child has some annoying lyrics.

axe man-I agree that John Sykes is a good player and overlooked for sure.

pizzle-You can contact me at

7:48 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I agree with all that you said. I wish I hadn't gotten rid of the cassette because it's a very strong album, one I'll eventually restore in CD format. Good review.

11:34 PM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

"Jelly Roll" was one of my favorite songs back then, but I've never heard any of their other stuff. I should probably look them up.

7:19 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I should check this out, thank for the review.

Wouldn't it have been awesome if Sykes had landed the Dio gig?

2:53 AM  

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