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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Black N Blue - 1984 Black N Blue
Black N Blue - 1984 Black N Blue

ARTIST: Black N Blue
ALBUM: Black N Blue
LABEL: Geffen
SERIAL: 24041
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1994, Brunette (Japan), ALCB-3017 * 2003, Majestic Rock, MAJCD009


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Strong Will Rock * 02 School Of Hard Knocks * 03 Autoblast * 04 Hold On To 18 * 05 Wicked Bitch * 06 Action * 07 Show Me The Night * 08 One For The Money * 09 I'm The King * 10 Chains Around Heaven

Black 'N Blue were formed in Portland, Oregon in 1981 and signed with Geffen for their debut in '84. Somehow they managed to secure the services of Scorpions and Accept producer Dieter Dierks who produced the album at his studios in Germany. Geffen was obviously looking for their own Motley Crue or Ratt and the debut was good enough to suggest they had the talent. The music was your basic party metal, but there is a real sense of heaviness surrounding the debut. Supposedly this is the kind of band Metallica and Anthrax were trying to wipe out. If they took a closer look these guys were just as heavy in their own right. It's just unfortunate they look as menacing as a group of 12 year old schoolboys on the album cover.

The Songs
Apart from the pointless cover of Sweet's 'Action', it's all rebellious anthems about staying young and fighting for rock and roll. You wouldn't have to listen to a song called 'The Strong Will Always Rock' or 'Hold On To 18' to know that. There are a ton of hard riffs throughout, which qualify 'I'm The King' and 'Autoblast' as quality metal contenders. Anthrax weren't that much heavier on their debut. 'Show Me The Night' features the brilliant soloing of Thayer and a tight rhythm section. There are some problems with St James vocals. They are not quite muscular enough on occasion to emphasise a mood of rebellion, which is the theme at hand.

In Summary
On the other hand there is more class displayed here than by many other limp wristed 80's wimp rockers like Dokken, Cinderella or Tesla. Where those bands featured bland vocals and music, Black 'N Blue seem to exude more of an AC/DC or Krokus vibe, uncompromising, non contrived hard rock. Keel were very similar. It may sound unrealistic, but the growing up tough lyrics and music of 'School Of Hard Knocks' sound genuine. Some ponces may find this laughable, but this is a monumental debut. Black 'N Blue would release a couple more albums, the most notable being 1988's 'In Heat' produced by Gene Simmons. Soon after they split having made no lasting impact. Of course Thayer has gone on to become Simmons lackey and right hand man, even filling in for Ace Frehley at a recent gig. There was brief reunion in 1998 and a live album but that's about it. I doubt anyone recalls this album in 2002, but it's worth a serious listen. It's not AOR by any means, just the real deal in American metal and hard rock.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 01 1970 01:00:00
I happen to really like this one. I saw 'Hold On To 18' on MTV one weekend in '84 when I came home from college, and I got the cassette shortly after. I played it a few times each year until I got all 4 B&B CDs last fall. I had never heard of 'Violent Kid' until I found an album of demos & rarities that is available on Rhapsody. To me, this one has four great hard rock tunes - 4, 7, 8, & 10. And the rest are also good.
#2 | sabace on June 21 2007 17:28:10
this was a major disappointment for me, they left out their greatest track 'violent kid' and the production sucks! much prefer the demo compilation!
#3 | reyno-roxx on June 04 2008 14:42:21
I agree with sabace to a point. I was very disappointed with this album when it first came out. It was too polished and 'Violent Kid' wasn't on the album (John Kalodner appears to have had a pathological hatred towards this track, which is why it was never cut for any of B'NB's Geffen albums) but I warmed to it over the years. By the time I picked up the CDs in Japan when Brunette first issued them, I couldn't stop playing this record on the flight back home. Still love it.,
#4 | rkbluez on May 25 2010 03:13:35
I always loved this was one of the best from the Hair Metal era...songs like Autoblast, Hold On To 18 and the mighty Chains Around Heaven where as good of better than most of the competition back then...I'll always take bands like Armored Saint, Malice, Black'N' Blue and the like over poppier shit like Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd.

This would make a great CD for a reissue on Rock deserves the full treatment.
#5 | super80boy on January 21 2018 20:55:39
This debut is chocked full of sturdy corporate metal rockers, which was the “in thing” back in 1984. They were more straight forward and harder than many of their peers and had a Dee Snider clone at the helm. Standout Songs: album single ‘Hold On To 18’, ‘The Strong Will Rock’ and the driving ‘I’m The King’. A worthy debut for sure.
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