Whitesnake remained dormant for quite a while. But in 1994, the band released a greatest hits album and ended up doing a short tour that included David Coverdale, Adrian Vandenberg, Warren DeMartini (RATT), Denny Carmassi (Coverdale/Page) and Rudy Sarzo. The tour was short and the band disappeared again shortly there after.
I know I am skipping a Deep Purple live album that came out between ‘Coverdale/Page’ and ‘Restless Heart’, but I am trying to not repeat live shows with the same line up. The Purple release ‘California Jammin’ was released in 1996 and has the Mark III line-up which I covered on ‘Made in Europe’ so I don’t feel the need to cover them again. I hope you are okay with that choice…I know I am.
Now on to the next Whitesnake album. Okay, not really. This isn’t a Whitesnake album. It is a David Coverdale solo album that the record company made him add the Whitesnake name in to the title and that is why it reads David Coverdale & Whitesnake. When you hear it, you will agree, this isn’t Whitesnake.
The new album does have Adrian Vandenberg and we finally get an album that he actually plays on with David. But it is not what you expect. The dual guitars of Whitesnake are not there. The playing is very understated on most of the songs and it is not a guitar heavy album at all. No sir. It is back to the early R&B and Blues roots for this one.
Adrian and David wrote most of the album together and the band for this album included Carmassi on drums and then added Guy Pratt on bass and Brett Tuggle on keyboards. The band had a label in Europe and Japan, but the U.S. market never had an official release of this album. After the tour of this album, Whitesnake would end yet again. David decided to shelve the band one more time and it would be 10 years before we got another Studio album from the band. I don’t know what happened, but it can’t be good for David to hang it up so fast. He wasn’t happy at all with the turnout of the album and tour.
It was a very hard album for me to wrap my head around and I am not positive I am fully there yet, but it is time to write the review as I have spent the last 2-3 weeks trying to absorb this album. And on that sour note, let’s get to the music.
From the opening song, “Don’t Fade Away” you knew this was going to be different. It was soft, full of keyboards, a soft drum beat and it was a ballad. An opening track as a ballad…baffling. It is a nice song though, it is evident that the bombast of the last 3 releases is over. David is putting that behind him. This one isn’t a complete throwback to the earlier Snake sound, but is in that direction. Adrian pulls out a nice solo to keep the “Power” in power ballad and David sounds quite pleasant with his emotive vocals.
Then comes “All in the Name of Love” which has a mixture of 80’s/90’s pop soul sound. A little blues vibe as well in the guitar sound, but the song falls flat for me. It is too generic and familiar sounding and not in a good way. There is no good hook to grab you and I felt empty.
The title track, “Restless Heart”, finally brings life to the album. Great opening guitar riff and the song has some punch. David’s soulful-filled vocals on the opening lyrics turn into the David we love throughout the rest. The song is more of what we are used to hearing from the band, and honestly what I love the most. This song gave me some hope in the album.
Then it was immediately back to the ballad with “Too Many Tears”. This tune had a great blues guitar sound and harkened back to days of old with the band and is actually a welcome sound. Adrian throws these little bits throughout that really add to the song and feel and his solo helps make the song as well. And let’s not forget David as this is one of his best performances on the album. He digs deep and goes so soulful and feels right at home. The album is a little full of ballad type songs, but this one is worth it. It was the lead off single, so the band felt that way as well.
“Crying” takes us full on blues and David gets down and dirty as does Adrian’s badass riff. The grit in David’s vocals and Adrian’s playing is so gritty and sleazy that it makes me feel like I need a shower and I loved it. This song feels like it could be on Slide It In or anything earlier. A total kick ass song.
Next up is a cover of Lorraine Ellison’s song “Stay With Me” (written by Jerry Ragovoy and George David Weiss). The original is a soul song from 1966 and David captures the feel and essence of the song with the vocals and tones of the song. It starts off a little slow with a nice groove and as it builds in volume and tempo, David adds some gravelly bits to the vocals to get the emotion across. The band nails this song.
“Can’t Go On” was yet another blues and ballad song. A slow groove and nothing flamboyant, just a simple song. There is something catchy about it despite its simplicity. Maybe that is it. There isn’t much here, but a low toned guitar solo by Adrian and David’s vocals and that is enough.
We get a little pick me up with “You’re So Fine” and it is a happy tune which a few and far between on this album. Being 1997, this song feels like an 80’s track that seems to be pop and rock mixed together. Maybe a sounds a little like John Parr. A little of David’s womanizing songs that might have been a left over off any of the 3 previous Whitesnake albums. It isn’t a bad song, but not over-the-top great either. Just fun.
“Your Precious Love” slows it back down and by this time, I am tired of the ballads. This one is generic and boring and very skippable. So enough said about it.
Things don’t pick up tempo wise with “Take Me Back Again”. It is a pure blues track and David ends up screaming a few verses and Adrian’s playing is nasty at times as he shows off his blues playing. The tempo picks up a little and David is giving it his all on vocals and saves the song. I didn’t want another slow song, but this one turned out okay with Adrian’s playing and David’s vocals…mostly Adrian’s playing.
And the album is completely saved with the final track “Woman Trouble Blues”. This song sounds like it was a leftover from Coverdale Page with the Page-like guitar sound and the electric harmonica played by Elk Thunder (yes, that is his name). It feels so Zeppelin like and Adrian captures Page’s essence. Might be my favorite song on the album so what a way to go out. Even David sounds like he did on that album. Now I want to go back and hear Coverdale Page again!!
- Don’t Fade Away – Keeper
- All in the Name of Love – Delete
- Restless Heart – Keeper
- Too Many Tears – Keeper
- Crying – Keeper
- Stay With me – Keeper
- Can’t Go On – Delete
- You’re So Fine – Keeper
- Your Precious Love – Delete
- Take Me Back Again – Keeper
- Woman Trouble Blues – Keeper
The track score is 8 out of 11 tracks or 73%. The album does take me back to the early blues and R&B Whitesnake albums, but still keeps a little of the modern sound. The album had too many slow tracks which would be my biggest complaint. It won’t be one I go back to a lot, but it still has some memorable tracks that are essential to the Whitesnake family such as Woman Trouble Blues, Restless Heart and Too Many Tears to name a few. Overall my rating is going to be a 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars. Maybe not the best, but still enough on the bone to give it a try.
Up next…Whitesnake – ‘Starkers in Tokyo’
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 – 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
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)