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Rick Derringer

Joy Ride: Solo Albums 1973-1980

Review by Gary Hill

This four CD set is a great package. It comes in a nice box and includes four separate CDs, each a full album from Rick Derringer.  There is at least one bonus track on each of three of the four discs. Rick Derringer got his start with the McCoys (and there is a version (with several variants) of their trademark song "Hang on Sloopy" here), but really learned to shine both with his band Derringer and on his solo albums. There are various notable musicians on various discs here including Bobby Caldwell, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter (Derringer was in his band and his brother's at one time), Johnny Winter, Chick Corea, David Johansen, Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell and more.  To me a lot of Rundgren's music sounds like Todd Rundgren so it's appropriate that Rundgren produced Guitars and Women and that Utopia guys guested on it. All in all, this set is just so cool.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1: All American Boy
           
Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Without question this is Rick Derringer's best known song. It's a killer rock with a smoking hot guitar riff. This holds up really well to my ears. I still love the guitar solo on this killer tune. It's a safe bet you've heard this one.

Joy Ride
Acoustic guitar starts this instrumental. It works out with a cool fast-paced melodic rock sound. This is a fun number that makes me think of things ranging from the Who to ELO at times. The guitar soloing and some of the other elements remind me of The Allman Brothers just a bit. It serves almost as an intro to the next cut.
Teenage Queen
This comes in feeling a lot like the previous piece. It drops way down for a balladic section that's sort of glam rock meets Rod Stewart and Warren Zevon. The cut builds out from there in a natural way.
Cheap Tequila
This folk rocker has a lot of country music in it. I dig the slide guitar. This feels rather tongue-in-cheek, but it's a lot of fun.
Uncomplicated
Mainstream rocking sounds are the driving element here. This has some cool slide guitar and really works well.
Hold
This melodic rocker definitely makes me think a lot of Todd Rundgren. It has a soulful vibe and really just works so well.
The Airport Giveth (The Airport Taketh Away)
Another melodic rocker, this might fit under the "folk rock" heading. The strings add something, but feel just a bit over the top to me.
Teenage Love Affair
This reminds me quite a bit of early Rush. It's a fast paced jam. I could swear that it's Geddy Lee singing on some parts of this cut. This has a great rock and roll sound to it. It rocks. There is some cool talk box guitar soloing on this thing.
It's Raining

Again, I'm reminded of Todd Rundgren just a bit on this classic sounding melodic rocker.

Time Warp
This instrumental is fast paced and so cool. It leans toward progressive rock in some ways. It's a melodic and energetic cut.
Slide on Over Slinky
This rocker has a fun-time vibe to it. In some ways it's not far removed from "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo." There is some great guitar work on this one.
Jump, Jump, Jump
This rocker has a lot of jazz built into it. It's a song built around falsetto vocals. It's a real work of class. I can see why it was the closer of the original album. It's just such a great cut.
Bonus Tracks
             
Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo (Single Edit)

Here is the familiar single of the trademark Rick Derringer rocker.

Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo (Mono)
This time around (as the title and parenthetical say) we get a mono version of the classic tune.
Teenage Love Affair (Mono)
A mono version of the earlier cut, this rocks.
Disc 2: Spring Fever
             
Gimme More

This is a fast paced and catchy mainstream rocker. It's a solid tune and a good opener.

Tomorrow
Here is another song that makes me think of Todd Rundgren. It's a cool rocker that's particularly effective. The keyboards bring some hints of progressive rock to the mix.
Don't Ever Say Goodbye
Picked guitar starts this. The cut works out from there with a  mainstream mellow rock sound. This has a real balladic approach to it. The chorus has some great hooks. It makes me think of Rundgren again.
Still Alive and Well
With a lot of old school rock and roll built into it, this is another killer rocker. I love the effects on the guitar solo. The saxophone brings a lot of magic to the table, too.
Rock
There is a lot of psychedelia built into this. Overall, though, it's much more of a space rocker at first, feeling like a mix of Captain Beyond and Hawkwind. It works to more of a pure psychedelic rocker. That said there is even a bit of fusion here. This is classy stuff. The guitar solo is purely on fire.
Hang on Sloopy
Derringer revisits his musical past with this bouncy little number. It's a classy cut. The tuned percussion is cool.
Roll with Me
There is a lot of old school rock and roll built into this killer cut.
Walkin' the Dog
Here is a cool rendition of the classic old-school tune. I prefer Aerosmith's version, but this is strong.
He Needs Some Answers
Cut from much the same cloth as "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo," this is classy.
Skyscraper Blues
The harmonica adds a lot to this tune. This a cool blues rock groove that feels like a party.
Bonus Tracks
 
Hang on Sloopy (Mono)
As you can guess, this is a mono mix of the earlier cut.
Don't Ever Say Goodbye (Mono)
And here we get another mono version of a cut from the album proper.
Disc 3: Guitars and Women
    
Something Warm
This has a lot of that Todd Rundgren sound built into it. It makes me think of The Babys quite a bit, too. It's a solid rocker.
Guitars and Women
While the title track is bit more of a melodic rocker, it has a lot of the same vibe as the previous cut. It's another effective piece of music.
Everything
The opening on this is made up of a classical guitar solo. It works out from there gradually, shifting toward melodic rock. This is a complex cut, leaning toward progressive rock and fusion in a lot of ways. The harder rocking section later in the piece really shines.
Man in the Middle
I dig this classy rocker a lot. It's screaming hot stuff. It's melodic, catchy and energetic.
It Must Be Love
This is a screaming hot rocker. It's one of my favorites on the full set of discs. Rick Nielsen wrote this song, and his guitar sound is all over this, even though he doesn't play on it.
Desires of the Heart
This pop rocker is another that feels like Rundgren quite a bit. I love the melodic guitar soloing on this thing.
Timeless
Another that makes me think of Rundgren a lot, the instrumental section on this is purely on fire. It brings things into a seriously prog rock like territory. The rest of the song isn't all that far removed from that sound, either.
Hopeless Romantic
Built around a piano based ballad structure, this is a strong cut. It also feels a lot like Rundgren's music.
Need a Little Girl (Just Like You)
Here is another cut written by Rick Nielsen. Drums open it. The bass joins and the rhythm section holds it for a time. Then it powers out into a killer hard rocking jam. This is another highlight of this third CD.
Don't Ever Say Goodbye
This is much more of a balladic piece. It does have a powered up chorus that works well. In fact, the whole cut works well. I just think that the previous number would have made for a stronger closer for the album. I dig the guitar solo on this quite a bit.
Disc 4: Face to Face
 
Runaway

Piano opens this cut. The vocals come in over the top of that backdrop. It works out from there to more of a rocking kind of arrangement. This is a fun tune for sure. The later sections of this again make me think of Rundgren quite a bit. This is a catchy and energetic piece.

You'll Get Yours
This bouncy and energetic rock and roller is classy. It makes me think of Dire Straits just a bit.
Big City Loneliness
Piano starts this number and holds it for a time. As the vocals join so do other instruments. Again this makes me think of Rundgren.
Burn the Midnight Oil
This rocker has some elements of power metal. It's not quite metal, though. It is hard edged and energized. I guess the Rundgren reference is valid here, but this time more like Utopia. This is a killer cut. In fact, it's one of the highlights of the whole set.
Let the Music Play
This is more of a pop rock cut. It's a fun tune that calls to mind Rundgren to a large degree. The multiple layers of vocals work really well, and this is a great tune.
Jump, Jump, Jump
This live version seems to rock a bit more than the studio rendition. It features some great guitar soloing. While I love the studio version, I think I prefer this one. The instrumental section later in the piece is purely on fire. I love the piano work when it drops down from there.
I Want a Lover
A bouncy rock and roller, this is a lot of fun.
My, My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
Here Derringer tackles Neil Young in a live rendition. I have to say that I prefer this version to the Young one. The vocals are stronger. Mind you, the guitar sound on the Young version is meatier. The difference in the vocals more than makes up for that, though.
Bonus Track
        
Let the Music Play (Mono)

The closer is a mono version of the song from earlier in the set.

 
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