Blue Murder – “Blue Murder” (1989)

Blue MurderGuitarist John Sykes had quite an impressive resume in the 1980s.  He was a veteran of the NWOBHM from his years with Tygers Of Pan Tang, and a member of Thin Lizzy for their final studio album, the excellent Thunder And Lightning LP.  Most famously, he was a member of Whitesnake — helping make 1987’s Whitesnake album a blockbuster smash.  After Sykes was unceremoniously canned from Whitesnake, he formed Blue Murder with Carmine Appice (drums) and Tony Franklin (bass).  Sykes was the vocalist as well as the guitarist for the band.  Though Sykes didn’t sing in any of his previous groups, he was actually a quite capable singer for Blue Murder (a pleasant surprise).  The album itself was a guitar-centric blend of Zep swagger and aristocratic bombast.  Faves here include the epic, grandiose Valley Of The Kings and the hard-edged Blue Murder.  Also, Jelly Roll is a tasty jam that starts as an acoustic stomp, and ends in full-on power ballad mode.  However, the album does slip in quality on side two (save for the aforementioned title track).  The made-for-radio ballad Out Of Love is the biggest letdown — coming off as nothing more than cold soup.  My score: B+

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4 thoughts on “Blue Murder – “Blue Murder” (1989)

  1. Even though this album was nominated for a Juno award for Bob Rock’s production, I find the production a tad muddy myself. But your review pretty much nails it, it’s a B.

  2. I was listening to this a lot last week actually. Think you pretty much nailed it. I think I’d give it an B+ or an A- Valley of the Kings is AWESOME. A Tony Martin co-write too. Would have liked to see Sykes and Martin working together more on the basis of that.

  3. This album does not slip in quality anywhere AT ALL! A+ all the way (OK, some of Sykes’ “baby girl” lyrics sound a little creepy looking back…..). This is one of the best albums to come out of the 80’s – 3 of the best players in the world, fantastic songs, unique style and sound not heard before or since. The tones are fat and the production is monsterous, a perfect match for ‘Blue Murder”s grandiosity. When you hear ‘Valley of the Kings’, you really get that vibe of how monumental a task it was to build the pyramids. That song has a real cinematic quality to it. On a side note, I really wish Sykes would release some of the demos that led up to the album as the embryonic line-up featured both Ray Gillen and Cozy Powell. And Tony Martin figures in there, too, somewhere having co-written ‘Valley of the Kings.’ P.S.: Rock Candy recently re-issued the album.

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