Rick Derringer

Guitars and Women

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At 17, Rick Derringer earned a spot in the record books by singing lead on '60s chestnut "Hang on Sloopy." Then "Rock N' Roll Hoochie Coo" netted the guitarist an eternal FM classic. (He's also rumored to be the title character in "Rikki Don't Lose That Number.") Lost in history is Derringer's perennial position as a '70s arena rocker. Derringer always dwelled third from the top in those great festival lineups that dominated the decade. This stadium spotlight life is documented on the aptly dubbed Guitars and Women. Fellow warped wunderkind Todd Rundgren's mid-range production approach lacks the great sonic boom exclusive to the time period, but this LP doesn't try to recreate the wheel; sturdy songcraft, vintage '70s dexterity, and Derringer's stance as a rock & roll true believer combine to make Guitars and Women purr like a Camaro on the open road. These are solid tunes, not just excuses for great guitar breaks (of which Derringer supplies plenty). Wannabe radio slice "Something Warm" starts things off unobtrusively in a quaint summer car-stereo fashion. "Everything" almost achieves a ponderous perch atop the Alan Parsons pyramid. Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, at the top of his game, contributes two disposable dandies: "Need a Little Girl" and "It Must Be Love." (Many of these lyrics reappear in Trick's own "I Love You Honey but I Hate Your Friends" and "Standing on the Edge.") Derringer deftly imitates Nielsen's jagged riffs and broken runs. "Timeless" could easily have come from one of the Runt's own releases. "Don't Ever Say Goodbye" is a great anthemic finish to a no-worries American pop/rocker, which is nicely preserved, as always, by Razor & Tie, who tack on two more Derringer originals from the deleted '80s follow-up, Face to Face: "Let the Music Play" and "Runaway." Pat Benatar's future hubby, Neil Geraldo, adds more guitar, and bassist Kenny Aaronson went on to HSAS.

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