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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Black N Blue - 1985 Without Love
Black N Blue - 1985 Without Love

ARTIST: Black N Blue
ALBUM: Without Love
LABEL: Geffen
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2003, Majestic Rock, MAJCD010


LINEUP: Jaime St. James - lead vocals * Tommy Thayer - guitar * Jeff Warner - guitar * Patrick Young - bass * Pete Holmes - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rockin On Heavens Door * 02 Without Love * 03 Stop The Lightning * 04 Nature Of The Beach * 05 Miss Mystery * 06 Swing Time * 07 Bombastic Plastic * 08 We Go The Fire * 09 Strange Things * 10 Two Wrongs (Don't Make It Love)

Black 'N Blue hit the scene with their excellent self-titled debut in 1984. Produced by Dieter Dierks (best known for his production work with The Scorpions), it garnered the band a fair amount of attention. But it did not result in the sales or airplay that the band and label (Geffen) had expected. After touring with acts such as Aerosmith, Dio, and Night Ranger, the band was ready for album number two. Bruce Fairbairn was brought in to give the album a more polished and radio-friendly sound (an approach that wasn't enthusiastically endorsed by the band). Based on Fairbairn's work with Krokus' 'The Blitz' album, though, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

(I have to give credit to Dave Reynolds (reyno-roxx) for this info, as he wrote the liner notes for the 2005 box set released by Majestic. I bought that box set in 2008 and highly recommend it.)

The Songs
The songs do have a more commercial sound than those on the debut, but the band did retain most of the power they had previously demonstrated. 'Rockin' On Heaven's Door' is a great way to open the album, providing an accessible anthem-type song to draw you in. The key and tempo changes during the guitar solo are nicely done. 'Without Love' is a good commercial hard rock song. It was released as a single, but did not make any impact on the charts. Jim Vallance has a co-write on this one. 'Stop The Lightning' takes a while to get going before settling into another nice melodic tune. This one has a few keyboards mixed in too. 'Nature Of The Beach' is pure party rock and a song that should have been a major summertime hit. 'Miss Mystery' is the other single from this album and is another Vallance co-write. While nowhere near being a power ballad, it is the most radio-friendly offering on here. That's side one of the LP or cassette, and it is the more commercial side. Side two starts with three songs that sound more like the material on the first album. 'Swing Time' is an energetic up-tempo song. 'Bombastic Plastic' is an ode to the good ol' vinyl LP and the excitement of cranking the latest addition to your collection. 'We Got The Fire' is also a quickly-paced tune. 'Strange Things' slows down the tempo but ups the intensity. The album closes with a bluesy hard-rock shuffle in 'Two Wrongs (Don't Make It Love)', and I've always really liked that one.

In Summary
Even though the focus was on producing an album that could get the band more airplay, the album didn't meet those expectations. I think the album was lacking that killer tune that could break through to the charts. Nothing at all wrong with the two songs released as singles, but they were strong album cuts rather than hit singles. The band was not really excited with the direction towards what they considered a 'wimpier' sound either. But I can't argue with the results. I bought the LP as soon as it came out, and I played it every bit as much as my Ratt, Krokus and Night Ranger albums from the same time. I put this and the Icon 'Night Of The Crime' albums on one cassette that I had a hard time ejecting from my auto-reverse cassette deck in the car. They would get with Gene Simmons for their next album in an attempt to return to a harder sound. But to me, this is my favourite of their four albums from the 80's.

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#1 | gdazegod on January 03 2014 00:48:51
You're right Jeff. That tempo change on 'Rockin' On Heavens Door' was a complete surprise. I thought the audio was corrupted when listening to it. Quite a clever change indeed.
#2 | gdazegod on January 03 2014 00:50:35
Here's one of the vids from the album.
YouTube Video:
#3 | Nick C on January 03 2014 03:08:16
Cool album the three tracks Without Love, Stop Lightning and Nature of the Beach were essential anthems at The Banshee and Rockworld/Jillys back in the day....real floor fillers Smile
#4 | Explorer on January 03 2014 12:18:08
A top album that gets a regular spin from me, and is a constant feature on the I Pod.
#5 | spawn71 on January 04 2014 15:25:32
Fantastic record, I love it! The Fairbairn work is a plus, the perfect prelude for 'Slippery When Wet', considering that Jon Bon Jovi was impressed by the sound of this LP. Apart from the highlights, the whole album still works perfectly for me!
#6 | GSpar77491 on January 05 2014 03:43:46
My second favorite by the band. A total upbeat summertime album that always ups the mood!
#7 | tompa on January 06 2014 10:47:33
The one album by Black'n'Blue on which I can still find a few good songs but nowadays I just can't listen to those 80's partymetal albums by the likes of Black'n'Blue, Kix, Ratt. Enjoyable at the time though.
#8 | jeffrey343 on January 06 2014 17:42:41
Yes, I did read in Dave's interviews used for the liner notes that Bon Jovi was so impressed with Fairbairn's work that he sought him out for 'Slippery When Wet'. I almost mentioned that in the summary. So this album, while not doing much for the band itself, ended up being a rather important one for our genre!
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