Tag Archives: Whitesnake

The first seven rock records I ever owned

With music-loving parents rock music had always been in the background growing up. By my early teens I’d begun taping a few things off my dad when I first got a portable tape recorder. But these are the first albums that I actually owned.

ONE – AC/DC – Highway To Hell

My dad had been an early adopter as far as AC/DC were concerned, buying High Voltage not long after it was released in the UK and playing it pretty much constantly as I recall. Highway to Hell came out in 1979 and not only did my dad have a copy but my older stepsister had one, too. By 1981, though, she was getting far more into punk and so gifted me her copy. My first rock album – and what an absolute classic to start off with.

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TWO – Status Quo – Never Too Late

Not the greatest Quo album but a good solid album and a great cover of ‘Somethin’ Bout You Baby I Like’ which had made the top ten. I was already a confirmed Quo fan when the album was released in March 1981, just in time for my fifteenth birthday in May – thanks Mum!

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THREE – Slade – We’ll Bring The House Down

Another fifteenth birthday present (thanks Dad!). I’d been aware of Slade in the early 70s, of course, but by the time I was a teenager they’d virtually disappeared off the radar completely. But I remember watching Top Of The Tops when Slade burst on the screen with their brilliantly raucous comeback single ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’. I asked for the album for my birthday and a life-long devotion to all things Slade followed. Not Slade’s most famous album by a long stretch, but in terms of making an impact on a youthful Darren perhaps the most significant album I ever owned.

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FOUR: Deep Purple – In Rock

A friend at school sold me this second-hand. He decided he was a punk not a metalhead and this was therefore surplus to requirements so I bought it off him for 50p. A true classic album, I loved (and still do) the combination of Jon Lord’s eerily atmospheric Hammond, Ritchie Blackmore’s manic guitar wizardry and Ian Gillan’s deranged screaming. Deep Purple had been defunct for several years by this time but this was an indication that I would be dipping back into the back catalogues of the previous decade for many of my subsequent musical purchases over the coming years.

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FIVE: Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing

Bought from a record shop in Southport while I was in a youth theatre project this album immediately impressed – with one unforgettable tune after another. Just a few weeks later Whitesnake, along with AC/DC and Slade, would be one of the first bands I ever saw – live at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival.

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SIX – Status Quo – Whatever You Want

I remember getting this from the local newsagents where they had a small rack of cut-price LPs amongst all the magazines and sweets. I bought it mainly for the title track and ‘Living On An Island’ but this became an album I played loads.

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SEVEN – Rainbow – Down To Earth

Another bargain, this is one I got cheap from a mail-order company. I had already taped my dad’s copies of ‘Rising’ and ‘Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow’ by this time and was a fan of Ronnie James Dio’s vocals but I also really warmed to the more commercial rock of the Graham Bonnet-fronted Rainbow, too. Still a really great album and still one of my favourites.

I took this (along with my recently-purchased Ready an Willing and Whatever You Want) to a party in the summer of 81 and they all got a bit scratched and battered, sadly. It was an early lesson in why you should not take records to parties – but, with any luck, hopefully someone would be inventing the CD for me in a couple of year’s time….

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So that was my first bunch of albums. Many, many hundreds more would follow over the years. But, looking back, I feel fairly nostalgic thinking about how it all started for me and, if I may so myself, not a bad choice of albums at all….

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Rock: album review – Whitesnake ‘The Purple Album’

As I’ve noted before, it’s understandable on the one hand but a real shame on the other that classic Deep Purple songs from the Mark 3 and Mark 4 eras are now all but forgotten by the band themselves. So efforts by both Glenn Hughes and now David Coverdale to celebrate the legacy of that era of the band and keep the music alive are to be applauded. Certainly in a live context anyway. But the question is do we actually need a CD of the David Coverdale-fronted Whitesnake performing cover versions from the David Coverdale-fronted Deep Purple?

I was a little bit sceptical and refrained from buying the album for several months. But seeing Coverdale’s erstwhile Purple bandmate, Glenn Hughes, the other month re-awakened my interest in all things Mark 3. So it was that I put this CD on my Christmas Present list.

And the verdict? There’s no doubt from the lengthy sleeve-notes penned by Coverdale of the passion and pride he feels for the musical output of his former band. And The Purple Album revisits thirteen tracks from the three albums (Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band) of the Coverdale-fronted Purple. They don’t attempt to be exact replicas of the originals. But while the tunes on the album have the sound and feel of the modern Whitesnake in many ways, neither have they been messed around with too much either. There’s great versions of Burn, You Fool No-one, Mistreated and Stormbreaker and there’s some great guitar work from Whitesnake guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekestra. And there’s some nice, gentle and beautifully melodic versions of Sail Away, Holy Man and Soldier of Fortune, too.

Obviously, if you have not already got the Burn, Stormbringer or Come Taste The Band albums then get those before you think about buying this. But as a celebration of the tunes from those classic albums this is worth having. Because yes – those tunes certainly deserve to be celebrated.

Released May 2015

http://www.whitesnake.com/

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Related reviews:
Glenn Hughes at The Electric Ballroom
Deep Purple at The O2

Snakecharmer at O2 Academy Islington 13/11/15

Bluesy heavy rock fronted by ex-Deep Purple vocalist, David Coverdale, Whitesnake in the late70s/early 80s were utterly brilliant. One of the first rock albums I ever bought as a teenager was Ready an’ Willing. Whitesnake evolved into something quite different but the early vintage of Whitesnake was always the one I was most interested in. Ex-Whitesnake members, guitarist Micky Moody and bassist Neil Murray, are keeping the flame alive with Snakecharmer, playing a mix of Whitesnake classics and newer material in that similar melodic, bluesy heavy rock similar vein.

The Whitesnake veterans have teamed up with ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist, Laurie Wisefield; the son of Rick Wakeman and keyboard supremo in his own right, Adam Wakeman; and Thunder drummer, Harry James. They are joined by vocalist Chris Ousey who handles the David Coverdale material perfectly, yet resisting the temptation of becoming a Coverdale trinute act.

I’ve seen another former Whitesnake member, Bernie Marsden, perform solo on several occassions and it’s nothing less than an absolute joy. But while Marsden’s shows these days duly celebrate the Whitesnake legacy there is a real emphasis on the slower blues that is his love and passion. A Snakecharmer gig, however, is more in the spirit of the heavy rocking nature of early Whitesnake, with the added bonus of a top-class lead vocalist and, of course, Micky Moody’s irreplacebale slide guitar playing. And anyone who thinks that an extended drums and slide guitar solo spot is a tad self-indulgent and over the top needs to het along to a Snakecharmer gig to see just how good this can be.

There’s some great new material. But, more than anything it’s those old Whitesnake numbers we are at this gig for. And how glorious it is singing along to Ready an’ Willing, Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving. I was 15 again, deftly manouevering myself to the very front row at Donington with my mate Gareth. The simple, life-affirming, communal joy of live rock music.

So how devastating it was getting home after the gig and finding out about the terrible events in Paris: other rock fans, like me, just wanting to enjoy the simple pleasures of a night out at a live gig. But tragically, unlike those of us at the Islington Academy tonight, many of them never coming home. I was reminded immediately of the emotive words of another of David Coverdale’s erstwhile colleagues, Glenn Hughes. Only a couple of weeks earlier on the final night of his UK tour Hughes spoke emotively and passionately about the beauty of music and its ability to break down barriers and bring people together, even when there is so much hate in the world. Terrorism will not stop that.

Setlist:
Guilty as Charged
A Little Rock & Roll
Ready an’ Willing
Accident Prone
Falling Leaves
Ain’t Gonna Cry No More
Nothing to Lose
Crying in the Rain
Moody’s Blues (slide guitar & drums solo spot)
Slow an’ Easy
My Angel
Here I Go Again
Fool for Your Loving

http://www.snakecharmer.org/

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Bernie Marsden at Giants of Rock, Minehead 8/2/15

Bernie Marsden and band begin their Sunday night stint at Butlins with a rendition of Jack Bruce’s Sitting On Top of the World, in tribute to the recently departed musician. With some fine guitar work we also get to hear an excellent version of Peter Green’s Oh Well as well as a small taste of music from Marsden’s latest solo album, Shine.

However, this being Giants of Rock it’s fair to say that what pretty much everyone in the audience wants to hear is some classic late 70s/early 80s-era Whitesnake songs from Marsden’s time with the band.  He doesn’t disappoint. Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City, Walking in the Shadow of the Blues,  Fool for Your Loving, Ready and Willing and Here I Go Again are all superbly delivered,  with each becoming a mass sing-along. The sheer pleasure Marsden gains from performing is clear throughout. Abandoning the mic for several of the choruses he appears genuinely moved at the sight of hundreds and hundreds of people enthusiastically singing the words to these songs back at him.

Musically proficient, nostalgic, participatory and, above all, joyful this was a fine choice for the final night of Giants of Rock 2014.

http://www.berniemarsden.co.uk/

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Previous review: Bernie Marsden at Jazz Cafe

Bernie Marsden at Jazz Cafe 22/10/14

When I first moved to London twenty-odd years ago and eagerly began scouring listings magazines the Jazz Café always sounded to me like it must surely be one of the capital’s coolest venues with unimaginable levels of sophistication for a northern boy like me. It isn’t. It’s pretty much like any other well-run small music venue, as I finally get to find on my visit to see ex-Whitesnake guitar ace, Bernie Marsden.

Whitesnake, with a constantly-evolving line-up, made the transition from bluesy and very British heavy rock band to slick American-based hair-metal outfit. Marsden was very much part of the earlier period. Later on he and his superb band will perform some classic songs from those days: Fool for Your Loving, Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City and Here I Go Again. But anyone wanting a whole evening dedicated to Whitesnake nostalgia is best off looking to other bands on the circuit. Marsden has much broader musical heritage to draw on and a brand new album, Shine, to promote as well. We hear a number of songs from Shine, including show-opener Bad Blood and the ecologically-themed Who Do We Think We Are. Marsden is a guitar wizard but his songwriting, just like in those classic Whitesnake days, is always catchy and melodic, never just a platform for technical noodling. He also gives us a beautiful version of Fleetwood Mac’s Dragonfly, recalling past collaborations with Peter Green, as well as a version of Sitting On Top of the World in tribute to Jack Bruce.

Those early Whitesnake classics drew the biggest applause tonight and were undoubtedly amongst the highlights of the evening. But it’s fair to say there’s much more to Marsden that that as tonight shows.

Setlist:
Strictly Latino
Bad Blood
Wedding Day
Born Under a Bad Sign
Ladyfriend
Who Do We Think We Are?
Dragonfly
Kinda Wish She Would
Fool for Your Loving
Sitting on Top of the World
Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City
Walk Away
A Place in My Heart
Here I Go Again
Encore:
Hoxie Rollin’ Time

http://www.berniemarsden.co.uk/

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