Home Albums Album Review : WHITESNAKE – ‘THE BLUES ALBUM’ (Rhino)

Album Review : WHITESNAKE – ‘THE BLUES ALBUM’ (Rhino)

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To  coin a phrase from one of the worlds most charismatic and dynamic frontmen, “Eres one for ya!”. Whitesnake with David Coverdale at the helm, release the third and final part of the colour trilogy albums.

Here with the Blues as a focus, tracks lifted from six studio albums and one solo album dating from 1982 to 2011 have been revisited and remixed.

From its inception, the band have always had a blues underpinning which lends itself to Coverdale’s soulful, powerful tones, and that’s why so many of their hits can be found within the 14 tracks on this release.

Leaping like a tiger with its bouncy groove and meaty riffs comes `Steal Your Heart Away’. Coverdale’s vocal swagger is in full effect here.

Next up, `Good To Be Bad’ sees Doug Aldrich’ guitar parts tamed a little and Coverdale’s vocal tone warmed somewhat to move this song more towards the Blues side and away from its original metal edge.

 Give Me All Your Love’, originally on the Whitesnake 1987 album, also gets a refreshing tweak which pulls John Sykes guitar riffery to the fore with wonderful clarity.

We go back to traditional slow blues with `Take Me Back Again’ and find a thicker, more intense sound than on its first outing with additions from Joel Hoekstra on guitar and Derek Sheninian on Keyboards which makes the song ooze with emotion and leaves a darker undertone.

Slide It in’s hard hitter, `Slow And Easy’ gets a big injection of clarity in this version making it truly a ‘snake classic. The beginning of `Too Many Tears’ becomes more haunting than ever as the organ, drums and guitar are brought to the fore as Coverdale’s lighter vocal delivery adds light and shade.

The harmonies at the start of `Lay Down Your Love’ have been reduced and overall, the track is a much harder affair especially on Aldrich’s solos which are further forward in the mix.

All in all, a vast improvement on the original. The jangly blues beauty of the guitars on `The River Song’ remain untouched thankfully, but the Coverdale croon has gained added warmth here.

Whipping Boy Blues’ adds some Amazonian atmospherics at its start as well as additional voice and harmonica interludes and overall has a cleaner mix which adds space and makes the track better for it.

The massive `If You Want Me’ remains mostly unchanged as does `A Fool In Love’ which is as mean and moody as it always was.

The kicking, `Woman Trouble Blues’ storms along with additional guitars and Hammond organ parts to smash this song home.

We return to `1987’ with `Looking For Love’ Here Coverdale’s vocal is pushed further forward until John Sykes solo kicks in, at which point every note is much clearer than previously heard.

The album closer, `Crying In The Rain’ now has a new intro, extra keyboards and changed guitar riffs which fill out this epic monster of a track. The closing vocals also gain extra echoes.

 Coverdale has made a fantastic job of taking the known and loved tracks and using modern production techniques and tracks, made embellishments that add to the original.

This isn’t just a compilation remix album; every track has been thought about and improved both in clarity and musicality. All tracks here have taken on a new life with clearer vocals, additional guitars and keyboards, making good songs into fantastic ones.

Most Whitesnake fans will know the songs, but not as there are portrayed here. Mr Coverdale you are vocal master but also you have a wonderful ear for music and how it should be heard. Hats off to you sir!

Review by Paul Sabin for MPM

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