Whitesnake – ‘Saints & Sinners’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

After the album ‘Come an’ Get It’, the band was starting to crack.  Issues were developing, tensions were rising.  They started to work on the album during 1981, but it wasn’t a smooth ride.  In December 1981, Micky Moody left the band.  Then in early 1982, David Coverdale put the band on the back burner and took some time off to be with his daughter who had become ill.

The sick daughter wasn’t the only reason Coverdale put things on hold.  The band was having financial troubles and he couldn’t understand where the money was going.  During the hiatus, he parted with his management and Coverdale started to handle the business side of things.  Also during this time, three other members left the band (or were fired). They would be Ian Paice, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray.  Jon Lord was the only one to stay in the band with David. And of course Martin Birch still produced. He hadn’t left yet either.

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As a result, David needed a new band.  Not to finish the album because it was basically done, but to tour with.  David found guitarist Mel Galley from Trapeze and Cozy Powell on drums from Rainbow and lastly, Colin Hodgkinson on bass.  The band was complete.  However, the album still had some backing vocals needed so Micky came back briefly to finish the backing vocals along with Galley.  Galley is the only new player to appear on the album.

 

The album had moderate success and reached #9 on the UK Charts, but still no real success in the U.S.  That was to come soon enough.

Enough about the history on the album, let’s get to the songs…

Side One:

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“Young Blood” brilliantly opens with a hard driving song with a fantastic Ian Paice drum beat and some awesome guitar slinging by Marsden and Moody.  David struts his vocals and the album is off to a heck of a start!!

And nothing slows down with “Rough an’ Ready” as David comes out with a confidence and swagger that we know and love.  The bluesy guitar work and has a sort of Purple feel thanks to Lord’s keyboard fills and Paice’s drum fills.  It is a solid track that shows the band is here to take no prisoners with this album.

The tempo picks up even more with “Blood Luxury” in what comes across as a bar-filled rock song with an almost honky-tonk feel.  You could almost two-step with the best of them on this one.  The breakneck speed in both tempo and Coverdale’s vocals, you barely have time to catch your breath which is a good thing in this case.  This was the third single off the album, but sadly only in Japan.  Too bad everyone else missed out on this jam.

“Victim of Love” is another blues track with David front and center.  This almost sounds like it could have fit nicely on their next album “Slide it In” with tone and sonics.  The music though is a little muted as David is really the showcase and the guitar solo is a little too short.  It isn’t the best song on the album, but it isn’t the worst either…kinda lies somewhere in the middle.

And now we get a classic Whitesnake song…although the real classic version didn’t come out until the re-recording of the song for the ‘1987’ album.  “Crying in the Rain” gets its first appearance here.  This version isn’t as bombastic as the future one, but it is a little slower, a little dirtier and darker. And of course there is a killer guitar solo.  All the elements are here of greatness and I have to say I find this version to be fascinating.  It is a little more simple and very effective.

Side Two:

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Side 2 kicks off with another early version of a Whitesnake classic.  “Here I Go Again” is up in all its original glory. Again, this isn’t the song you know from the ‘1987’ album, this is another beast of its own.  One of the big differences is no synthesizers on this one.  It is Jon Lord’s organ instead.  It kicks it off and gives it an almost church-like feel to it.  It kicks in full force and doesn’t quite meet the energy of the latter version, but has its own feel and groove.  Another big difference is the line “like a hobo, I was born to walk alone”.  In the latter version, that “hobo” becomes a “drifter” and I have to say “drifter” sounds so much better.  The hobo part is this song’s only fault.  Again, this is not as bombastic as the re-recorded version, but doesn’t need to be.

“Love An’ Affection” is up next and gives us a bluesy little track. It is a little clunky of a song and nothing about it really takes off to make it stand out.  A little bland with the exception of a short solo by Jon Lord.

Not to different from the previous song “Rock An’ Roll Angels” treads along the same path.  The song is a little looser and a little more upbeat and fun, but starting to feel like filler and not enough killer in it to make it stand out.

“Dancing Girls” picks it back up and saves this side for me.  More fun than the previous two tracks and David sounds like he is having fun again. Listen to Jon Lord on this one, he is killing it and gets a stellar solo as well.  David though slays as well. I love the chorus and how they chop it up and it makes it catchy and engaging.

The album ends with what might be the best song on the album, the title track “Saints An’ Sinners”.  It is all funked up and sounds like Glenn Hughes came back for this one, but he didn’t. I love the funk riff and the pacing of the song.  The band got their balls back with this one and David is in his comfort zone vocally as he gets a little grittier.  A good way to close out the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Young Blood – Keeper
  2. Rough An’ Ready – Keeper
  3. Blood Luxury – Keeper
  4. Victim of Love – Keeper (1/2 point)
  5. Crying in the Rain – Keeper
  6. Here I Go Again – Keeper
  7. Love An’ Affection – Delete
  8. Rock An’ Roll Angels – Delete
  9. Dancing Girls – Keeper
  10. Saints An’ Sinners – Keeper

The track score is pretty solid at 7.5 out of 10 songs for a score of 75%.  Only a couple of songs I would totally skip over, but the rest are pretty solid.  So much so that overall the album gets a 4.25 out 5.0 Stars. A strong performance and some memorable, classic Whitesnake tracks.  The first side of the album is top-notch and the second side has 3 stellar song that push this over the top.  Even though the band was falling apart, I feel they still captured a little magic on the album. One of my favorites so far…not the best, but it is pretty high on the list.  Let me know what you think of this one and I can’t wait for the next one on the list.

Up next…Whitesnake – ‘Slide It In’.

The David Coverdale Series:

  1. Deep Purple – Burn
  2. Deep Purple – Stormbringer
  3. Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
  4. Deep Purple – Made in Europe
  5. David Coverdale – Whitesnake
  6. Deep Purple – Last Concert in Japan
  7. David Coverdale – Northwinds
  8. David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite
  9. Whitesnake – Trouble
  10. Whitesnake – Lovehunter
  11. Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing
  12. Whitesnake – Live…in the Heart of the City
  13. Whitesnake – Come An’ Get it
  14. Deep Purple – Live in London
  15. Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners
  16. Whitesnake – Slide It In
  17. Whitesnake – “Give Me More Time” 12″ Single (Bonus Review)
  18. Whitesnake – ‘The Best of Whitesnake (Bonus Review – 1982 release)
  19. Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
  20. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
  21. David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
  22. Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
  23. Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)

Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):

  1. Whitesnake – 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  2. Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  3. Whitesnake – Unzipped – Box Set
  4. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  5. Whitesnake (Snake) – Still of the Night Live in Battle Creek, Mich. July 26, 1987 (Bootleg)

36 thoughts on “Whitesnake – ‘Saints & Sinners’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

  1. Well, two huge classic songs came out of this album and got the Sykes treatment. I never knew about the ‘Hobo’ until I heard the live 84 show from the Slide it In Box set. I was like ‘Whut??’ hahaha.
    Great review John. Someday I will have to invest in this album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this one is worth investing in if you ever see it out and at a reasonable price. Hobo is such a dated word and that it just sounds stupid in the song, but probably because I know it as drifter. I think it would still sound bad even if I didn’t know that. Still great track though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great album in my view. I really like the early versions of the two songs that would be appear on the 87.
    And we all know how hobo sounded when we heard it the first time. I was like what the hell was he thinking. Lol.

    But it’s those other songs that don’t get as much attention that also grab me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not the biggest fan, but this one stood out when I listened to their albums a while back because I knew those two tunes. It’s been a favourite since, but regardless of those tunes, it’s a good rock album.

    Liked by 1 person

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