Whitesnake – ‘The Blues Album’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

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…

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 – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
  21. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
  22. David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
  23. Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
  24. Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
  25. David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
  26. Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
  27. David Coverdale – Into the Night
  28. Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
  29. Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
  30. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
  31. Whitesnake – Forevermore
  32. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990: Monsters of Rock
  33. Whitesnake – The Purple Album
  34. Whitesnake – The Purple Tour (Live)
  35. Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood
  36. Whitesnake – The Rock Album
  37. Whitesnake – Love Songs
  38. Whitesnake – The Blues Album
  39. Whitesnake – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
  40. David Coverdale – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

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)

David Coverdale & Whitesnake – ‘Restless Heart’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

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.

IMG_1839

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.

IMG_1837

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.

IMG_1840

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.

IMG_1838

“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!!

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Fade Away – Keeper
  2. All in the Name of Love – Delete
  3. Restless Heart – Keeper
  4. Too Many Tears – Keeper
  5. Crying – Keeper
  6. Stay With me – Keeper
  7. Can’t Go On – Delete
  8. You’re So Fine – Keeper
  9. Your Precious Love – Delete
  10. Take Me Back Again – Keeper
  11. 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:

  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 – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
  21. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
  22. David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
  23. Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
  24. Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
  25. David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
  26. Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
  27. David Coverdale – Into the Night
  28. Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
  29. Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
  30. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
  31. Whitesnake – Forevermore
  32. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990: Monsters of Rock
  33. Whitesnake – The Purple Album
  34. Whitesnake – The Purple Tour (Live)
  35. Whitesnake – Flesh & Blood
  36. Whitesnake – The Rock Album
  37. Whitesnake – The Albums Ranked Worst to First
  38. David Coverdale – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

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)