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THE PLEASURES OF THE RIFF IN THE 1970s

 

Rick Derringer: Sweet Evil

Rick Derringer Sweet Evil album cover

Know absolutely zero zilch about this Rick Derringer cat 'cept the basic facts, mac – like he was once in the McCoys (Rick's been told much too often that he was the Real McCoy), moved on to sharing the spotlight with the Albino Twins and finally got the gumption to get his own ego in fancy neon (even teamed up with Brillo Queen Cynthia Weil, so what), and that's the History of Li'l Rick D. (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About This Boy). So don't wanna be pushy here, y'understand, cause this ain't no pitch to hype ya to the Auto John, but, franko, this mama mia is one spicy meatball. A plus plus, for dazzling stars, give it a bullet and you can dance to it too.

Listen, man, I been riding the bus to oblivion, watching androids eat their thumbs, can't stand this dismal pace, vegetating in a lethargic trance, until suddenly a screeching comes across the sky...ZZZZZZRRRRRRRRR...come on do the jerk, get outa that slump, fluffhead, get right with Derringer! Keep away from those rock mastodons muzzled by mercenary appetites; they only turn their listeners into lampshades. Derringer weakens your will to resist by sucking you into the Pleasures of the Riff.

Skeptical? Rock idols not giving you a fair shake lately? Don't trust record reviewers any farther than you can throw Ivan the Terrible? Well, do I have a surprise for you, bub (the shock will only be temporary, because Sweet Evil, a sincere attempt to get the name Derringer into the rock showbiz vernacular, is whatcha might call a humdinger stinger which means YOU'RE...GONNA...LUV...THIS...RECORD (consider yourself brainwashed).

First cut: "This might be a record, but I'm really here." Those are the brilliant existential words that slide you right into the fluidity of Sweet Evil; Rick lets you know pronto that he's his own boss (ain't no wax pancake gonna flatten his identity). 'Sittin' By The Pool' follows as a strong contender for Zep graffiti, blending quickly into 'Keep On Makin' Love', which matches those Aerosmith chops on Rocks with equivalent ferocity. Eight ambitious songs in all, exhibiting rampant streaks of detonation that'll make you mourn for those metal heavy oldies of '71.

If for nothing else, Derringer will deserve a niche in the heavy Hall of Fame for 'Sweet Evil', a title cut so memorable you'll immediately be linking it with the reveries of such classics as 'Dream On' and 'Stairway to Heaven'. Nope, no droopy duds on this baby.

After the inevitable success of Sweet Evil, it's a cinch that Derringer will escape the label of innocuous partypooper. An extensive series of hardknocks has culminated in a synoptic functional arrangement of coagulated expertise. The mucilage may not be Derringer's personality or charming star appeal, but what the hell diff does it make who Rick Derringer is, u'know: THIS RECORD IS WOOLY BULLY SO GET THAT THRU YR THICK NOGGIN (how many times ya want me to spell it out?!)

...'uh...uhh...uhhh...I think he said it was a good album, Arnie.'

 

© Robot A. Hull, 1977