It had been 11 years since the last full Whitesnake studio album (okay, it was really a Coverdale solo album, but it had Whitesnake in the name) and 2 years since any new music with the four new tracks on ‘Live…In The Shadow of the Blues’. Whitesnake was finally ready to bring us a full album’s worth of new material. David Coverdale and his new guitar flavor of the day, Doug Aldrich, worked diligently to bring us an album of new Whitesnake material that would hopefully remind us of old and take us in to the future.
The line-up of the band is now…
- David Coverdale – Vocals
- Doug Aldrich – Lead Guitar
- Reb Beach – Guitar
- Timothy Drury – Keyboards
- Uriah Duffy – Bass
- Chris Frazier – Drums
The biggest difference between this album and the last live album is Tommy Aldridge is no longer in the band. I love his drumming and I have to admit when I found out, I was a little disappointed, but Chris does well on his own and doesn’t disappoint.
As David normally does, he sits with his star guitar player and they write the album in the same way he did with Sykes and Vandenberg. Now you get Aldrich. They seem to try and recreate the old Whitesnake sound, but try to be fresh and I was expecting a whole lot with this album. And you get some great songs, but I have to admit that the flamboyance and style I saw from Aldrich on the live albums was really missing from here. He tried so hard to be Whitesnake that he left himself off the table and I think that surely would’ve added to the album if he was himself. It worked for Vai when he came in to play on ‘Slip of the Tongue’. Maybe it was the production of the album, but whatever it was, it was missing a little something that would make it memorable.
Now of course, that doesn’t mean this album was bad. Far from it. It had some very shining moments, but some not so shining as well. Let’s jump write in and get to the music.
The opening track, “Best Years” comes at you like a hammer and is such a heavy song that I was digging it from the get go. I feel like they were trying to capture some Coverdale/Page vibe which they didn’t quite succeed, but doesn’t take away from the song at all. It is still the type of opening track you want and expect from David and company. It grabs hold and sets the mood and delivers. David sounds great although he might not be up to the level from 20 years ago, but who would be. He is still unmistakably David Coverdale. After hearing “Dog” on the last album, this was what i was hoping for from the band for a new album.
The band doesn’t take their foot of the gas pedal with “Can You Hear the Wind Blow” which was the fourth and final single off the album. The guitar riff to open the song is so raw sounding and the band is pure hard rock on this one. There is no blues rock sound we are used to hearing and it lends itself more to the late 80’s sound but a little more tough sounding. Doug and Reb’s guitar sounds are great together, but as good as the song is it needed a better solo, something more memorable. Still love the song though.
Next up is “Call on Me” and it is another scorcher and I’m loving the three heavy songs in a row. The first side definitely lights it on fire with this opening trio of songs. The guitar sound is so thick and heavy and comes at you like a mad dog ready to bite. What I am noticing is the guitars sound is at a lower register without all the high, screeching notes we have gotten in the past which gives it that heavier sound. I find it perfect for this song.
Now we get are first ballad with “All I Want All I Need” and it was perfectly placed to let you catch your breath after those opening tracks. David always loves a good ballad and he delivers and nice heartfelt, sappy little love song. He vocals aren’t as sweet and tender as there is a roughness to his vocals now, but it still works the same and gets the point across. He still comes across is the great balladeer.
It is right back to the heavy with the title track “Good To Be Bad”. The one cheesy thing here is the added line of “bad to the bone” which he has used before and more affectively in the song “Slow & Easy”…it was way cooler there. The song has some great guitar playing and heavy ass drums and as with all of Whitesnake songs, it is full of cock rock lyrics and why not as David isn’t trying to recreate the wheel here. This is still Whitesnake and thankfully so.
“All For Love” was the second single off the album and another rocker although not as heavy. It is more middle of the road. Not one I would release as a single and a little boring for me overall. Too generic for my tastes. This was first song where I really noticed the keyboard and Timothy does a good job. Outside of that not much else good to talk about for me.
Then we go into another ballad “Summer Rain” and the third single off the album. I want to say that the singles chosen for this album would not be what I would’ve picked other than “Can You Hear the Wind Blow” which was awesome. They aren’t really representative of what the album was about. Okay, sorry, back to the song. “Summer Rain” is mostly acoustic and a sweet song and David is as tender in the vocals as he can be and it works. It is a cheesy little song overall and just goes on way too long at over 6 minutes. Do we really need a 6 minute ballad? No!
“Lay Down Your Love” opens with just David and his vocals layered over and over as he sings the title of the song. Then we kick in to some blistering riffs and the drums pound us in to David best vocal delivery on the album. Another Coverdale/Page type song with a little blues guitar I feel we have missed more than I thought on this album. Aldrich tries to pull out his Page skills to some success as I knew he what he was trying to do, but still not perfect. And I am beginning to think it is the production and the mix on the guitars that is leaving me a little empty with his playing. Sorry, I am being overly critical cause this song still kicks some major ass and Doug’s playing is fantastic and he delivers a great solo.
Speaking of blues, they go full on Blues with “A Fool in Love” with the opening and it is all good until the chorus which to me was lacking and didn’t feel right for the style of the song. I dug the verses more and the David swagger in his delivery, but overall, it left me wanting more
Then we get back to the fun with “Got What You Need” which takes me back to the ‘1987’ years and a uptempo, helluva a good time rock song. The give and take on the instruments and the vocals gives the song a feel like they are having a blast playing and that makes you have a good time as well. Not the most original song, but still a blast.
The album ends with another ballad “Til the End of Time” as he ended ‘Slip of the Tongue’ with “Sailing Ships”. And again, it works. The song doesn’t sound like “Sailing Ships” at all so not a comparison there. This is a blues track and something David sings so well. There is a slow foot stomping pace to the song and the chorus comes on so smooth it just slides on in. There is an overall sadness to the song and David emotes it beautifully. Really stellar track to go out on.
- Best Years – Keeper
- Can You Hear the Wind Blow – Keeper
- Call on Me – Keeper
- All I Want All I Need – Keeper
- Good to Be Bad – Keeper
- All For Love – Delete
- Summer Rain – Delete
- Lay Down Your Love – Keeper
- A Fool In Love – Delete
- Got What You Need – Keeper
- Til the End of Time – Keeper
The track listing score is 8 out of 11 of 73%. There are some really good tracks here and a few not so great. The album opens really strong, but starts to fade after the 5th song with too many misses then hits. One thing that bugged me was 9 out of the 11 songs were over 5 minutes which can make the album drag on too long and this one did just that at moments. But David sounds fantastic and although his range isn’t what it used to be, he is still one of the best rock vocalist in the business. I don’t think it is their best effort, but it was still enjoyable and when it came out it was such a pleasant surprise to get a new Whitesnake album after so many years. Overall the album gets a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars and is still a must in your collection.
Up next…Whitesnake – Forevermore
The David Coverdale Series:
- Deep Purple – Burn
- Deep Purple – Stormbringer
- Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
- Deep Purple – Made in Europe
- David Coverdale – Whitesnake
- Deep Purple – Last Concert in Japan
- David Coverdale – Northwinds
- David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite
- Whitesnake – Trouble
- Whitesnake – Lovehunter
- Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing
- Whitesnake – Live…in the Heart of the City
- Whitesnake – Come An’ Get it
- Deep Purple – Live in London
- Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners
- Whitesnake – Slide It In
- Whitesnake – “Give Me More Time” 12″ Single (Bonus Review)
- Whitesnake – ‘The Best of Whitesnake (Bonus Review – 1982 release)
- Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
- Whitesnake – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
- Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
- David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
- Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
- Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
- David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
- Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
- David Coverdale – Into the Night
- Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
- Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
- Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):
- Whitesnake – 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Unzipped – Box Set
- Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
- Whitesnake (Snake) – Still of the Night Live in Battle Creek, Mich. July 26, 1987 (Bootleg)