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  • Personnel: Rick Derringer (vocals, guitar).
  • A 40-year veteran of the rock wars (he was 16-years-old and a member of the McCoys when their "Hang on Sloopy" knocked the Beatles' "Yesterday" out of the number one spot on the pop charts in the summer of 1965), Rick Derringer forged his own hard rock sound during stints with both Johnny and Edgar Winter in the late '60s and early '70s, and has stuck to it ever since (although recently he has made forays into both smooth jazz and Christian rock). During the '90s he recorded four solo albums for Mark Varney's Shrapnel Records, three of which, 1993's Back to the Blues, 1994's Electra Blues, and 1998's Blues Deluxe, are represented on Collection: The Blues Bureau Years by four songs apiece. So consistent is Derringer's version of hard, blues-inflected rock that everything here feels like it belongs together, and even though Derringer had different players with him for each of the three albums, it all sounds like it was cut at the same session. Think "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo" deja vu and you'll have the basic template. Highlights include the opener, "Trouble in Paradise," a cover of Johnny Winter's "Meantown Blues," and the blistering "Blues Boogie" instrumental. Nothing here is the blues in the strictest sense, but Derringer knows all the riffs on guitar, and when he amps up and cuts loose, it feels like vintage '70s hard rock, which, come to think of it, Derringer had a big part in creating. ~ Steve Leggett
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