Rick Derringer

All American Boy (CBS 73) Rating: A-
After forming the McCoys (best known for their classic Derringer-penned hit, "Hang On Sloopy") at the ripe old age of 15, and then spending time livening up the work of Johnny Winter and his younger brother Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer released his first and (arguably) best solo album, All American Boy. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" should already be familiar to most of you, what with its standing as something of a "classic rock radio" standard. It's actually a remake of a song he had performed with Johnny Winter, and it is a most excellent riff rocker. Those of you expecting the album to deliver more of the same are likely to be disappointed, however, as that's the heaviest song on the album. There's plenty of choice guitar elsewhere, though, including "Joy Ride (Instrumental)," a brightly upbeat guitar showcase that leads into "Teenage Queen," arguably the best of several (the others being the Patti Smith co-written "Hold" and "The Airport Giveth (The Airport Taketh Away))" melodic, string-laden ballads that the likes of Todd Rundgren would be proud of. Rick isn't what I'd call a great singer or lyricist, but he's able to pull these songs off in pretty, affecting ways, in part due to some well placed female backing vocals (on the latter two). "It's Raining" is another melodic soft rocker with whispery vocals from Rick, but don't think he's some kind of wimp or anything. After all, "Time Warp (Instrumental)" is a terrific, fiery Latin-tinged instrumental (I guess the song's title was a giveaway there), while "Uncomplicated" is just that, being a simple but enjoyable boogie rocker. Sure, there are a couple of silly missteps ("Teenage Love Affair" and "Slide On Over Slinky"), but "Cheap Tequila" shows Rick's versatility with a briskly paced, almost country sounding rocker that sounds a little like Elton John. Saving the best for last, "Jump, Jump, Jump" is a soulful, atmospheric, dramatic power ballad that successfully ends this overlooked gem of an album.

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