Black N’ Blue: Without Love (1985)

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. 

Thanks Sir..

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..

“BOMBASTIC PLASTIC!”

“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. 

Good record…

 

 

 

56 thoughts on “Black N’ Blue: Without Love (1985)”

  1. Yes, the next album isn’t the greatest but I had always heard this was a good one. I just never got in to the guys and never bought anything of theirs. There was too much music and not enough bank account back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya John. I bought the debut from these guys as well and it was good. This one was better whereas the third one was a step back.
      If you come across this one scoop it…

      Like

  2. This would partially count as CanCon I reckon! Nice one Deke, this is a band I have yet to catch up with on CD (just VHS archives) or LP. So maybe I will give some of the Fraze back catalogue a looksee eh?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That was a great track. MuchMusic would show stuff like that now and then but I think BNB’s problem was they didn’t tour Canada at all or just played the usual suspect cities like Toronto, Montreal and I would think Vancouver since they are from Oregon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah true but they got the Geffen deal and some top notch producers in Dierks, Fairbairn and (insert laughter here) Simmons. lol
        But yeah geographically located may have been an issue as well

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well said ‘Monster Plod’. Keel’s Right To Rock always reminded me of Gene demos. Songs that would not make the KISS cut but were good for Keel lol
        Having said that the second Keel ‘Final Frontier’ was better..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m intrigued by this one, but Same Old Song And Dance is a favourite of mine and I need to chalk off some points for that cover. Wee bit too slick – played well enough, but it really needs Tyler’s vocal. St James just cannae sell it. In my opinion, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah it’s hard to pull off a good Steve-o. I don’t mind it but the fact that its an actual bonus bonus back in 85 is the best thing about it plus it was only available on cassette tape back than. lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tyler was a helluva vocalist on those first run of records. Strung out. Raspy. Killed it, man. I’ve been really into early Aerosmith recently. Just perfect rock n roll.

        But anyhoo, I’ll be sure to check this out. I was gonna have a look on YouTube earlier, but ended up sitting down and listening to Dokken!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah man, I mean, he has some good stuff sometimes, but definitely gloves. Place is a fire trap, hardly get down the aisles for all the boxes precariously stacked everywhere. And nothing is priced – he just makes it up by looking at it, judging what he thinks it should be… sometimes that’s in your favour, sometimes not. It’s a whole experience, going in there, man.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so poppy. So so utter poppy. So produced! What a great sounding LP. I’ve got the first two on vinyl. I think they’re responsible for some of the worst lyrics ever, but they’re the least awful on this record. I mean one of the first lines on the first LP is “I’m gonna pound my heat into your meat”. Come on! Bruce definitely whipped these guys into better shape, only to be torn down by Gene again on the next LP!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said Bruce whipped em into shape but Simmons took em back down to the below the belt area so to speak.
      For the time though ‘Without Love’ is a fun album as thats what the 80s were fun..until 1992 lol

      Like

  5. Since u guys watched a lot of MuchMusic. Do u recall seeing a special on the band Smack? I remember when that one was taped. I even got a MuchMusic tshirt.
    Here’s Smack

    Run Rabbit Run

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a great record Deke. So slick…..i actually liked it better than the debut. More tasty hooks.

    *side note….i’m pretty sure you and i were first introduced to Black n Blue on the first Metal Massacre record (hold on to 18) ? I could be misremembering in my old age though.

    Regardless…great review Deke. Gonna spin this one today. Glad Gary was able to hook you up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right Muc. I think that Metal Massacre one featured ‘Chains Around Heaven’ I could be wrong but great recollection.
      I’m glad Gary has gotten the vinyl going at his shop as it’s slim pickens around here… but I don’t need to tell you that. lol
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

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