It had been 3 years since Jeff’s last solo album, 2009’s ‘Beautiful Mess’. That album was good, but a lot of people didn’t like it’s direction as it wasn’t the hard, melodic rock that fans of Jeff love. And I get it, but let’s be honest, Jeff should be able to make whatever music he wants to make. I wasn’t a massive fan of that album, but it had some great moments for sure. ‘Damage Control’ sees Jeff listening to his fans and giving them what he they want. He is always good about that. And I wonder if the title is in reference to that fan reaction from the prior album. It seems pretty tongue-in-cheek if you ask me.
I want to say the album dropped around January 6th, 2012, but I could be mistaken. But before that release date, Jeff put in a lot of work on this album and he worked with a ton of writers and a ton of musicians (and sometimes both). Some of the writers were old friends such as Jamie Borger (Talisman) and Gary Schutt (solo band) and then there were names we hadn’t heard yet in his career like Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake/TSO). Jeff has known Joel for awhile and Jeff would return the favor a couple years down the road (which we will review as well.
Jeff had a total of 21 songs ready for the album, but they needed to dwindle it down to 11 which somehow he did. The songs were recorded all over the world on three different continents including Europe as well as North & South America. The album wound up on Frontiers due to the long standing relationship he has had with Serafino Perungino. They agreed to do a Deluxe Edition where Jeff could actually include 14 of the 21 songs as long as there was a DVD with an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and some music videos and that is the copy I have and will review.
The album kicks off with “Give a Little More” and it is nasty piece of a rock with that gritty guitar riff, the heaviness of the bass the drums. Jeff attacks the vocals with in equal intensity. An almost anthemic, melodic rock song that is proof that Jeff can still deliver the heavy rock like fans complained about. This song is a statement and the guitar solo by Leo Mancini is the exclamation point on that statement.
In the last few years, David Coverdale has been quite busy rehashing old material, but in a good way. He has brought us deluxe box sets for albums such as ‘Slide It In’, ‘1987’, ‘Slip of the Tongue’ and even ‘Unzipped’ the all acoustic box set. And thid year in 2021, we are supposed to get ‘Restless Heart’. But for now, he is rehashing old material yet again.
This time it is a series called ‘Red, White & Blue’ Trilogy. The Rock Album (White) was up first and then we got the Love Songs (Red) and now it is time for the The Blues Album (Blue, duh) which is our 40th Review in the David Coverdale Series. Crazy! Each album is really a glorified greatest hits album with its own theme and the titles give you those themes quite nicely. The big difference on these albums is more than just a remastering. The songs have been tinkered with and given a little touch-up with some re-mixing and even a little touch-up on arrangements and other little surprises. The songs aren’t completely re-imagined, thankfully it is no Bon Jovi “This Left Feels Right”. The songs are still very much recognizable, just enhanced ever so slightly.
This time around we get 14 Tracks and because of that, we aren’t going in to full detail song by song. We will highlight them as we go. The thing about these albums is they only cover a certain period of the band from 1984’s ‘Slide it In’ up to 2011’s ‘Forevermore’. Nothing off their latest album, 2019’s ‘Flesh & Blood” and strangely, this time there is nothing off 1989’s ‘Slip of the Tongue’ which is quite baffling. We do get a song from the bonus tracks on ‘Live in the Shadow of the Blues’ which is a nice treat. The biggest difference from this release and the other two are that there are NO new tracks on this one like the others. I’m a little disappointed by that aspect. There are also two tracks that appear on the other two which is another disappoint. Granted they are still a different mix than those other albums, but still.
The theme of the album is Blues so all the songs are sonically blues in nature…some more so than others. We do get some songs that are more rock and then blues, but there are hints of it in the guitar. One of the more rocking tracks is the opening song “Steal Your Heart Away” which is a beast and completely rocks out with the exception of the guitar has hints of Jimmy Page that blues sound he had. The mix on this brings those guitar to the forefront and cleans them up nicely. “Good to Be Bad” is more metal than blues, but Dave’s vocals seem to be enhanced to give them a more blues tone. “Give Me All Your Love” seems to only have been tweaked to give John Sykes guitars a little more punch.
The one track that was tweaked the most was “Take Me Back Again” which had Whitesnake current guitarists, Joel Hoekstra, adding a solo and keyboardist Derek Sherinian adding his own flair to the song as well. This is the most blues track so far and is plain killer. Side Two kicks off with the dirtiest, most awesome song, “Slow & Easy” seems to have an improved drum sound as damn, Cozy Powell is killing it and then “Too Many Tears” which was on the Love album prior, but here now sounds like more of a country & blues track with the guitar sound. The final track on the first LP is “Lay Down Your Love” and that opening sounds cleaner and doesn’t have the annoying echo opening as the original, a vast improvement and then that guitar comes in dang near blows the roof off this joint.
The second LP kicks up the blues with the opening track “The River Song” and is really what this album is about. The blues guitar playing is exceptional throughout especially that opening picking. And then to go in to “Whipping Boy Blues” is magical especially with the brand new opening with the frog and nature sounds. Takes you down to the swamp and really makes you feel the blues. Then we get the bonus track from “In the Shadow of the Blues” called “If You Want Me” and another brutally rocking track. The vocals have been improved with added textures and flavors. And lastly on this side we get “A Fool In Love” which is David doing the Blues the best. This side of the album has been what this album is all about. Perfection filled Blues Rock!!
The final side kicks off with the foot-stomping “Woman Trouble Blues” which has added come guitar to boost the song, but I have always loved the harmonica playing in the song which really adds that extra blues flair. It is all stellar. They slow things down with 1987’s “Looking for Love” which seems to have Sykes guitar cleaned up and clearer which no one would complain about. The final track is the classic “Crying in the Rain” which seems to have a slightly new beginning, some added guitar parts and a new ending that fades out with an echo added.
And there you have it. I think I like every track on here and the changes to the mix are all subtle and yet effective. Nothing strays far from the original and it is only enhancing the flavors of the song to give us the desired taste we are salivating over. He tweaked a pinch here and a dash there and gave us the best of the three albums in the trilogy. I will give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars only because no new tracks and two repeated songs from the other albums (although a different mix). I know for sure that this one and the Rock one will get played again and again depending on my mood as to which one. The Love album is good, but too much on the ballad side. I still think you need to pick up all three…why not!!!
The Red, White & Blue Trilogy is now complete. The Love Album, The Rock Album and now the Blues Album. What a thing of beauty…
Now we are waiting on the announcement of The Restless Heart Super Deluxe Box Set and now rumors are running rampant that David Coverdale and Jimmy Page are working on a Deluxe Edition of Coverdale/Page…ooooh!!! That would be awesome. And in the liner notes of the Blues Album he even talks about a Box Set for Good to Be Bad!!! Some interesting stuff coming the David Coverdale world. Until next time…
For My Sunday Song #204, we are going after one of Whitesnake’s newest songs and hits of the ‘Flesh & Blood’ album called “Trouble Is Your Middle Name”. The song was the second single off the album and when I heard it, it was the first time in years I had been excited about a Whitesnake song or album.
The song is about a girl. What Whitesnake song isn’t in some way, shape or form. This is about being drawn in to a relationship where you know you shouldn’t, but you so want to despite all the bad that goes with it. The attraction and desire are too much to not give it a try, yet since the girl is so much trouble, you know it isn’t going to end well. And it doesn’t. Not much to it really, but man the song just grabs you.
It grabs you because the music is some of the best the band has done in years. David wrote this one with the great Joel Hoekstra who played with Night Ranger and he plays with Cher and TSO as well. It is great to see David writing with him and Joel brings so much to the band. The song opens with blast of sirens then David singing a verse and the song explodes to life. The drum sound on here is so powerful and with Tommy Aldridge back on the kit, you get some of the best drum sounds you could want.
After The Purple Tour, the band would continue and finally record a new album full of all new original Whitesnake songs. This would be the first album of new material since ‘Forevermore’ back in 2011. This would also be the first album that Joel Hoekstra gets to actually perform and play songs that he actually helped write and record and not be a Deep Purple cover band.
Speaking of writing, David likes to write with his star guitarists. This time though, David really has 2 star guitarists that are both very capable and talented writers. David has 3 songs written with Reb Beach and 4 written with Joel. And to get even better, he has 2 written with both of them. And to go even one step further, they all co-produced the album along with Michael McIntyre.
We are now to the final Live album I will be reviewing for the band. Since their reunion back in 2003, Whitesnake has overloaded the general public with Live albums. Seven to be exact!! Now, those seven do cover several eras of the band, but still Seven!! The Purple Tour Live album is the latest and it covers an era of the band I have yet reviewed for a live album…the Joel Hoekstra era. Yes, I define my eras by the lead guitarists. I know Reb is still one of those guitarists, but this is Joel’s first.
And interesting note, do you know who the longest running member of Whitesnake is aside from David, of course? That is right, it is Reb Beach. He has been with the band for 18 years. Then Tommy Aldridge would be a close second although his years were not consistent years like Reb, he was in and out 3 times. The current line-up is as follows:
After too many live albums released, the band finally decided to do another album. Before that could happen, they needed a replacement guitarist as Doug Aldrich left the band on May 9th of 2014 after more than 10 years with the band. One of the longest stretches of any guitarist. I believe he left to go play with The Dead Daisies and do his own thing.
A replacement now needed to be found and it was about 3-4 months later that Joel Hoekstra was tagged as the replacement guitarist. Joel had been playing with Night Ranger previously and he figured this was a higher profit (I mean higher profile) band and he is not wrong about that. Joel is fantastic and he has his own solo stuff as well as playing with Cher and TSO for their Christmas Tours. The rest of the line-up is as follows:
David Coverdale – vocals
Reb Beach – guitar
Tommy Aldridge – drums
Michael Devin – bass
Joel Hoekstra – guitar
Now that the band was fully staffed again, a new album was in the works. This time around, thankfully not a live album, but it was only a covers album. Not just any covers album, no that had been done a million times, this one focused on only one band. Deep Purple! David decided he wanted to record a Deep Purple collection of the best songs from his era of that famous band. The funny thing about this is that David tried so hard to not mention or play anything from Purple while being Whitesnake from the eaerly 90’s and back. You never heard a song by Purple in the setlist. That changed in the late 90’s when a song or two would show up. Now, David wanted to pay tribute and an homage to that wonderful time in his life. Continue reading “Whitesnake – ‘The Purple Album’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)”→