One thing that Rick Derringer could never be accused of is failing to be eclectic. Having recorded everything from MOR adult contemporary to bubblegum pop/rock to ballsy blues-rock over the years, the singer/guitarist has demonstrated that eclectic is his middle name. And Derringer's blues-rock/hard rock output is the focus of The Three Kings of the Blues, a best-of collection that Blues Bureau International assembled in 2010. Why Three Kings? Because Derringer is heard performing material associated with B.B. King, Albert King, or Freddie King. This 51-minute CD draws on three Blues Bureau releases: Derringer's Blues Deluxe from 1998, his Jackhammer Blues from 2000, and the L.A. Blues Authority's Fit for a King from 1993 (the L.A. Blues Authority is an all-star project that has included Derringer). Blues Bureau's picks are good ones, and those who enjoy hearing Derringer's edgier, gutsier side can't go wrong with performances of Freddie King's "You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling," B.B. King's "Crying Won't Help You," and the Albert King-associated "Born Under a Bad Sign." Derringer also shines on Charlie Segar and Big Bill Broonzy's "Key to the Highway"; Segar and Broonzy both came out of the blues' acoustic pre-World War II era, but Derringer has no problem making "Key to the Highway" relevant to amplified blues-rock. The Three Kings of the Blues is not the last word on Derringer's Blues Bureau recordings, but it isn't a bad place to start if one is interested in exploring his blues-rock/hard rock output for that label.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson