Crazy to think that this is my first used vinyl purchase in a year. It didn’t help the cause that a local business that sold used vinyl closed up before the world took a shit and once all that went down there was only two options.
Sunrise Records (a national chain) and Amazon (with free shipping)
But thanks to my pal Muc who posted a link to local shop Comix Plus that was showing off the stock that they have accumulated in used vinyl I was intrigued.
I checked it out and quickly seen two titles I wanted. Aerosmith “Draw The Line” and Black N’ Blue “Without Love”.
I grabbed them both. Nice to have a local option that we can support and thanks to the owner of Comix Plus, Gary who when I messaged him about the Aerosmith album “Draw The Line”(a sealed RSD copy) messaged me back that he had another copy of “Draw The Line” that was used and in VG condition that If I wanted I could get that one instead. I went with the sealed copy but I appreciate the fact that he could have had saved me some cash.
Black N’ Blue (from Portland Oregon) were on the up and up back in 1994 with the self titled debut that featured some pretty cool tracks like “Hold Onto 18”, “Chains Around Heaven”, “Autoblast” produced by Dieter Dierks (Scorpions)
By 1985 though the band headed to Vancouver B.C and hooked up with the late great Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock and Mike Fraser to record “Without Love”.
This is one fine damn hard rock melodic album. You know with the production team of Fairbairn, Rock and Fraze the sonics would be here throughout.
Opening tune “Rocking On Heavens Door” is killer opening tune. Some great drumming by Pete Holmes drives this song with a catchy chorus.
Using there Vancouver connections the band enlists Jim Vallance on a couple of co writes that being the title track “Without Love” and the single “Miss Mystery”.
Both are great songs but for my money the title track is the better of the two featuring one of those memorable Vallance choruses.
Lead vocalist Jamie St James and Guitarist Tommy Thayer are the duo responsible for writing up the tunes on this album and in saying that made a pretty good songwriting team.
Actually listening to this album today the whole first side of “Without Love” could have been released as singles as that was what Geffen Records probably wanted from the band.
“Hits Boys, Hits” chirped the cigar smoking Geffen suits back then.
The second side is fairly decent as well. “Swing Time” leads off with a ton thats heavy on the drums and guitar featuring a swing like pattern.
One of my favourite titles of this album is “Bombastic Plastic”. It’s more of that 80s drive of the guitar power chords to make you raise your fist and yell..
“We Got The Fire” features Mike Reno( Loverboy) guesting on backing vocals on a pretty uptempo little three minute ass kicker of a track.
The album ends with two songs the first being “Strange Things” and closing with “Two Wrongs (Don’t Make It Love)” which has has that slow like sleaze rock pace during the verses and ramps up during the chorus.
Now when I originally bought this back in 85 on vinyl Tbone was with me and he picked up the cassette copy of “Without Love” and look what the bonus track was tacked on the end of Side 2 on the tape is?
A recorded live cover tune of Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song And Dance” featuring not only the Black N Blue guys but Spider (Streetheart), Matt Frenette (Loverboy) and Bob Rock(guitar) joining along. No artist or bands did this back in time that I know of. Well here it is posted below..
Overall a pretty good rock album and when we have Mike Fraser back on the “LeBrain Train” in a few months I will hit him up on a few questions about recording this album.
The word is this was one of the albums Jon Bon Jovi heard the production and wanted Bruce Fairbairn to produce the next Jovi record which was? We all know the answer to that one..
Slippery When Wet!
Funny how this album did not go over big time as the songs, performance and production are there. But who can predict these things as Black N’ Blue gave it a shot.
With there next release they went with Gene Simmons at the dials on the “Nasty Nasty” album that Tbone had bought as well. I heard his copy and I will leave it at that.
If you are to seek out any Black N’ Blue give “Without Love”a shot.