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Music Review Tuesday – Whitesnake

13 May

Today I am reviewing a band who, like Bon Jovi, epitomized the big hair bands of the eighties and early ninties. Picture 5000 14 to 17 year old boys pumping their fists in the air to the tunes coming from 50,000 watt amps. This band has probably had the most member turnover comparable to the fictional Spinal Tap and yet has had only one lead singer. In fact the singer, David Coverdale, founded the band. The band (I can’t believe I am reviewing) is Whitesnake. I know, the same glam metal ballad laced band prominant on the MTV airwaves in the late eighties. The band that spawned the love affair and eventual marriage of video babe Tawny Kitaen (who appeared in most of the Whitesnake videos) and Coverdale. Whitesnake has had many talented musicians involved in many of the various projects over the years. Here are some of the many names: Jon Lord, John Sykes, Steve Vai, Vivian Campbell, Cozy Powell, Adrian Vandenberg, Tommy Aldrige, Rudy Sarzo, and Anysley Dunbar. These names alone represent the many bands spun from Whitesnake.

I heard about the new album from Whitesnake while reviewing some new music on Amazon.com. I thought “No Way!” “Whitesnake is recording again?” Then again as I mentioned in my previous posting, hard rock and metal is making a comeback. So I guess Whitesnake is riding on this wave too. The new album is called “Good To Be Bad“. It was just recently released on April 22nd, 2008. (Note: The album is a double CD with new, unrecorded music on disk one and live previously recorded music on disk two. I will be focusing on disk one.) I have always been a fan of the more rockin’ Whitesnake songs like “Cryin’ In The Rain”, and “Still Of The Night” and not so much the ballad. This album has more fun, hard rockin’ cuts on it than any of the previous multiplatinum releases. The current Whitesnake lineup includes Coverdale, Doug Aldrich on guitar, Reb Beach of Winger fame on guitar, Uriah Duffy on bass, Chris Frazier on drums, and Timothy Drury on keyboards. The first track on “Good To Be Bad” is called “Best Years”. The song engages with a sonic riff that would send any real snakes into their holes. Then in comes the ever present and familiar David Coverdale vocals that scrowl (scream/growl):

Somebody help me
I’m feeling low
I’ve been down for so long
don’t know which way to go
drowning in sorrow
in deep misery
someone throw me a line
I’m clean out of time
Lord I’ve got to break free

Long live the guitar solo which is so present out of the gates in this first song. It is composed well and fits the tone of the song. Song number two is “Can You Hear The Wind Blow”. The lead in and prominent riff in this track is hot. I love the way the the last chord is held for an extra beat, then slid and held again. The song features a hint of slide guitar along with the virtuoso soloing of Reb Beach. The next track “Call On Me” incorporates some imaginative guitar work which I would expect from the likes of Aldrich and Beach. The bridge has some nice slide guitar that presedes the very cool escalating ionian scale solo. Now comes the first ballad on the album and it is called “All I Want All I Need”. It features Coverdale’s voice very well. The song, like most of them, is about finding love, keeping love, and professing love. It is very well done, but it is a ballad.

Album highlights include “Can You Hear The Wind Blow”, “Call On Me”, the title track “Good To Be Bad” starts with some cool distrorted wah guitar effects, and is sprinkled with some neat pinch harmonics reminiscent of John Sykes. Alright! Another cool guitar solo. “Summer Rain” is an acoustic exception with Whitesnake and very well done. It is a ballad but it features some very soothing and thought out lyrics:

I traveled each and every highway
With you in my heart
And all the gold and silver
Can’t keep us apart
You warm me like the morning sun
With you my life has just begun

Love comes over me
Falling like summer rain
Like summer rain
All your love for me
Feeling like summer rain

The song is my album fave right now. “Lay Down Your Love” is a well composed hard rock guitar song that reminds me of “Still Of The Night” with it’s blues influenced riffs. The mid-point of the song just totally rocks. “A Fool In Love” is reminiscent of old Whitesnake before their popularity. It is very steamy blues-oriented. The song even starts out with simulated pop and crackle like and an old vinyl record. The song is totally blues rock and a nice addition to the album. “Got What You Need” sounds like a combination of Whitesnake and older ACDC and works very well. The album ends with “till The End of Time” a nice acoustic blues oriented song that could have been placed on any early Led Zeppelin album.

I can’t believe I did it but I’m glad I did. The new Whitesnake album is a definite treat and a genuine nice surprise. The lyrics are secular but not laced with the sexual innuendo so prominent in the eighties metal bands. I will be listening to it on my mp3 player for some time to come. I give it four and a half stars out of five.

Check out the video for “Lay Down Your Love”.

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11 responses to “Music Review Tuesday – Whitesnake

  1. Really Robin

    May 14, 2008 at 10:34 am

    This is actually one of the “hair bands” I like. I really like the video – and the song is great.

    The only problem is that David Coverdale is the same age as my sister! And at fifty-six, I’m thinking it’s time for him to let go of the hair – yeah, even Jon Bon Jovi has had a haircut!

    You can act your age and still rock, that’s all I’m saying!

     
    • AIENBISHOP

      November 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      What? Jon Bon Jovi has had a haircut? so what? DC looks great with hair !! and who said that only young people can have long hair? i think long hair is great at any age! And DC don’t acts, he just ROCKS!

       
  2. barrydean

    May 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I’m glad you like them. I know what you mean about Coverdale. If you look at some of the closeups in the video he is definitely showing his age in the face. When I researched the guitarists and found that they are close to my age I was encouraged. But wow, are we really that old?

     
  3. Rob Rockitt

    May 16, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I don’t know. I think David Coverdale would look kind of scary with short hair. I agree with your take on Good To Be Bad. Whitesnake could have come out with a real stinker of an album, instead, they have created would I would consider one of their best releases yet.

    Rob Rockitt
    Hard Rock Hideout

     
  4. pastorsteve

    May 17, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Barry
    When I looked at the list of guys in the band over the years, one particular name (steve vai) brought back memories. I had the album in the 80s that he did with David Lee Roth. What a waste of talent, and I am not talking about dave. Tobacco Road would have been a decent song except for the vocals.

     
  5. barrydean

    May 17, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Steve,

    You are right about Steve Vai. The guy is uber-talented. He has recorded several solo projects for the most part reflect a certain genius, in another way reflect a bizarre mind. I will post one of my favorites in my shared box widget located near the bottom of the main page. The song is called “The Audience Is Listening”.

     
  6. TDub

    June 20, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Like you, I was very surprised by this album. I’m calling it the best of the band’s career!

     
  7. barrydean

    June 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks TDub. I totally agree. Although the self-titled “Whitesnake” album that featured John Sykes on guitar was pretty awesome.

     
  8. Aishah Bowron

    February 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Forget flashy posers like Adrian Vandenberg and Steve Vai !. Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden and Mel Galley are the best. I have all the Whitesnake albums from the Snakebite EP to the UK version of Slide It In. For me, Whitesnake died in 1984 after Jon Lord left.

     
  9. Chris Frazier

    July 18, 2013 at 2:37 am

    If you could please take that godawful picture of me down off of this page I would sincerely appreciate it. Thanks, Chris Frazier.

     
    • barrydean

      July 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Sorry Chris, and thanks for the feedback. I have changed the pic. Let me know if this suits you better. If not, and even better, please send me one. Rawk On!

       

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