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Whitesnake – The Purple Album [Review]

purplealbum

Whitesnake – The Purple Album
2015, Frontiers Records

Buy the album

1. “Burn”
2. “You Fool No One” (interpolating “Itchy Fingers”)
3. “Love Child”
4. “Sail Away” (featuring “Elegy for Jon”)
5. “The Gypsy”
6. “Lady Double Dealer”
7. “Mistreated”
8. “Holy Man”
9. “Might Just Take Your Life”
10. “You Keep On Moving”
11. “Soldier of Fortune”
12. “Lay Down Stay Down”
13. “Stormbringer”
Bonus Tracks:
14. Lady Luck
15. Comin’ Home

Band:
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Reb Beach – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Joel Hoekstra – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Devon – Bass, Harmonica, Backing Vocals
Tommy Aldridge – Drums
Derek Hilland – Keyboards

Producers: David Coverdale, Reb Beach & Michael McIntyre

After a steady stream of live releases, I was looking forward to hearing a brand-new Whitesnake studio album. I had known the band had been working on writing & recording tracks for the untitled album but I was assuming what they were going to give us would new and original Whitesnake tracks. Instead, when The Purple Album was announced, to say I was a bit deflated would be an understatement. For whatever reason, David Coverdale decided to have Whitesnake cover songs from his time in Deep Purple. Basically, the sounds have been record with a much beefier sound that’s very in line with what Whitesnake has been doing the last 10 years ago or so and some of the songs have been slightly re-worked.

In theory, I don’t have too much of a problem with any of this. I’ve read some comments online that consider it blasphemous that Whitesnake would record a bunch of Deep Purple songs and plenty of reviewers knocking this album and saying the band didn’t do a good job. Personally, I don’t care if Whitesnake releases an album of Deep Purple covers. But that’s just it. I don’t care. It just seems like a throwaway and irrelevant album to me, no more of less important than the various live albums they’ve released in the last few years. Having said that, being the Whitesnake fan that I am, I was always going to give this album at least one spin.

Now would’ve really made this album interesting is if Coverdale decided to record some songs from the Mark II line-up that featured Ian Gillan on vocals (at least as a fun bonus track). THAT would’ve made for a fascinating listen.

I’m really wondering what happened during all the time that Coverdale said they were working on the new album because I know they were at least writing material when Doug Aldrich was still in the band. What happened to that material? Was he only writing rearrangements for this album? And, oh yeah, Doug Aldrich is gone from the band. I’ve felt he was an essential part of the band since David brought Whitesnake back but the split seems amicable as Doug wanted to move on to new projects. His replacement? Night Ranger’s Joel Hoekstra. Okay. At least Tommy Aldridge has returned to the band and is still a monster on the drums.

While The Purple Album doesn’t seem all that necessary, when you get down to the music, it’s fairly enjoyable. In fact, I can digest some of these tracks much more easily now that they have been updated production-wise. Take Deep Purple songs, give them the production of Whitesnake’s last two studio efforts, Good to Be Bad and Forevermore and that’s The Purple Album. Coverdale’s voice is much more weathered by this point but I think that’s a good thing. He has more soul in his voice than he ever did and I think on some of these tracks it provides for a better vocal performance and feeling than what he could’ve provided in the 1970s.

At the end of the day, while I’m disappointed I’m not listening to new Whitesnake material, The Purple Album has turned out to be a pretty good album in it’s own right.

Highlights: “Burn”, “Love Child”, “Sail Away”, “The Gypsy”, “Lady Double Dealer”, “Mistreated”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “You Keep On Moving”, “Soldier of Fortune”, “Stormbringer”

Various Artists – Live and Heavy [Review]

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Various Artists – Live and Heavy
1981, NEMS Records

1. Deep Purple – “Smoke on the Water”
2. Nazareth – “Razamanaz”
3. Motorhead – “White Line Fever”
4. Def Leppard – “Rocks Off”
5. Rainbow – “All Night Long”
6. Status Quo – “Roll Over Lay Down”
7. Whitesnake – “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”
8. UFO – “Lights Out in London”
9. Gillan – “Unchain Your Brain”
10. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”

What a brutal album cover that totally screams “heavy metal”. I picked this one up on vinyl in great condition for only $1 at a local flea market annex shop called Fort Walton Beach Vintage Records. Live and Heavy is a compilation put out by the British label NEMS that, unsurprisingly, features live tracks by UK rock bands. Had this been released a year or two later, I’m sure it would’ve been full of NWOBHM bands but instead we get bands that are more closely associated with ’70s hard rock and heavy metal.

This compilation has a killer line-up: Gillan-era Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, UFO (“Lights Out” is titled “Lights Out in London” on this release), Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, Motorhead… some of the very best heavy rock bands England has to offer. Even Def Leppard makes an appearance. Pretty good deal for such a new and young band (at the time) to get a track compiled with a number of other legendary bands.

Had this been a compilation of studio tracks, I probably would’ve passed. I’m not big on live album but for a collection of live cuts from these specific bands, I figured it was worth a buck.

The inner sleeve lists the various dates and venues these tracks were recorded. Always good to have that info. I was afraid this was going to be a super low-budget compilation that wouldn’t even bother.

This is a good pick-up for fans of hard rock from the 1970s and early 1980s.

Highlights: “Smoke on the Water”, “All Night Long”, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”, “Lights Out in London”

Metal Excess Awards 2012

Despite 2012 being a year where a number of major classic rock acts reappeared with new albums (KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith), I was slightly disappointed with the rock scene overall. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to less music in 2012 than I have compared to the previous 5 years or so. Whether it’s because I’m getting too old or getting too busy, I didn’t sit down and listen to or write about as much music as I have since I started this blog a few years back. I haven’t been paying attention to the world of hard rock & heavy metal as I should have. Forgive me. Maybe I can make up for it in 2013.
Anyway, here’s my contribution to the millions of “Best of 2012” lists that are already all over the internet!
Best Albums of 2012
As I said, 2012 didn’t seem like an incredibly bright year for rock releases but that doesn’t mean I’m knocking some of the cream of the crop. Rick Springfield (of all people!) delivered a classic album that I just had to give the #1 spot based on how much I played it. My Darkest Days had yet another incredibly strong release. Other than Hess at #7, the rest of the top 10 is made up of veteran artists who know how to get the job done.
1.Rick Springfield – Songs for the End of the World
2. My Darkest Days – Sick and Twisted Affair
3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
14. Jack Blades – Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride
15. Trixter – New Audio Machine
16. Lita Ford – Living Like a Runaway
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
23. Papa Roach – The Connection
23. Zerokings – Kings of Self Destruction
24. Primal Fear – Unbreakable
25. Fozzy – Sin and Bones

Missed Them in 2012…

These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.

* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP

Best EP/Compilation/Cover/Singles

The “everything else” category.

1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]

Most Anticipated in 2013

Judas Priest:   Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?

Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.

My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.

Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.

Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.

Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.

Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.

AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.

Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.

Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!

Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.

Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)

Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.

Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)

Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.

Who Cares (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) – Out Of My Mind / Holy Water

Who Cares (Ian Gillan, Tony Iommi & Friends) – Out Of My Mind / Holy Water (2011, earMUSIC/Eagle Rock Records)

1. “Out of My Mind” … 5:19
2. “Holy Water” … 7:00

Band:
Ian Gillan – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Linde Lindstrom – Guitar
Jason Newsted – Bass
Nicko McBrain – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards

How’s THIS for a super group: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Iron Maiden’s Nick McBrain, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, ex-Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord and HIM’s Linde Lindstrom! Well, um, nothing against Lindstrom but, wow, he feels a bit out of place doesn’t he? I think his connection is he’s either dating or married to Iommi’s daughter.

Who Cares was initially a project put together by Gillan & Iommi to help benefit the rebuilding of a music school in Armenia but there was always the vague promise that Gillan & Iommi would continue to work together on some new material. I imagine with a reunited Black Sabbath that won’t be happening… ever (Sabbath will probably take up the next few years and these guys are old enough already). Shame. I’d much rather hear a Iommi & Gillan record (Geezer can tag along too) than a new Sabbath album with Ozzy.

Initially released as a digital single, the album has been made available on 7″ vinyl (limited to only 1,000 copies) and as a deluxe CD single featuring a video clip and a 30 minute documentary.

Despite being a one-off super-group that implied Tony & Ian might continue to work together, Who Cares went a bit under the radar, I think. Yes, it was done for charity so it’s not like there was any huge label or promotion backing this but given the talent involved I would have expected more buzz from the rock/metal community.  The songs are just phenomenal and while I haven’t heard any of Gillan’s recent work with Deep Purple, the guy can still sing and scream like a rock ‘n’ roll god (even if his voice is a tad bit weathered, but at 66 years old, I’ll give him a break).

“Out of My Mind” is just plain heavy. Not Born Again heavy, but still heavy nonetheless, stomping along and sounding Black Sabbath & Deep Purple put in a blender: Iommi pulling out a great riff and solo, Gillan singing with venom and Jon Lord doing what he does best. Musically, it’s really not too far off from what we might’ve heard from Heaven & Hell.

“Holy Water” is a bit more majestic in scope with a taste of the Middle East. I’m not all that well-versed on Deep Purple with Steve Morse but from what I have heard, this sounds like the type of song you might hear from them as Jon Lord’s keyboard factors heavily into this track and Gillan is a bit more subdued.

Who Cares was put together for a great cause and features great music so it’s definitely worth buying. It also shows us what a great pairing Gillan & Iommi can still be and hopefully we can get some more music of out this duo in the future.

Amazon.com

Stryper – The Covering

Stryper – The Covering (2011, Big3 Records)

1. “Set Me Free” … 3:45
2. “Blackout” … 3:58
3. “Heaven and Hell” … 6:11
4. “Lights Out” … 3:44
5. “Carry On Wayward Son” … 5:16
6. “Highway Star” … 5:45
7. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:15
8. “Over the Mountain” … 4:21
9. “The Trooper” … 3:53
10. “Breaking the Law” … 3:02
11. “On Fire” … 3:08
12. “Immigrant Song”  … 2:18
13. “God” … 4:55

Band:
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Oz Fox – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Timothy Gaines – Bass, Backing Vocals
Robert Sweet – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Charles Foley – Keyboards, Organ, Piano

Producer: Michael Sweet

And Stryper continues their trend for having AWFUL album covers. =P

Luckily, the album art is not a good indicator of the music itself because this is seriously one great album of covers! When I first heard it was going to be a cover album, I kind of rolled my eyes. That’s usually a sign that a band is slowing down and/or giving up on new material but then they started releasing all these samples and they sounded amazing. I guess the band has caught some flack from their Christian fanbase for having the gall to cover secular music and evil bands such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and KISS but whatever. Get over yourselves! Christian acts don’t need to be singing about God & Jesus in every single song. Just because you want to cover Van Halen and Scorpions it doesn’t mean you’ve turned your back on the Lord.

Anyway, what a great line-up of bands to cover! In order, they are: Sweet, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, UFO, Kansas, Deep Purple, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. The only original song of the bunch is “God” which is a fantastic hard rocker that just doesn’t let up and gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year.

It was Murder By Pride that pulled me onto the Stryper bandwagon. That was a very good album. Sometimes a veteran act seems to be going through the motions even when they release new material but that wasn’t the case then and even though the band is covering songs here, they still sound energetic and on fire. “God” gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year because they are on a roll.

The band stays pretty faithful to the source material only making slight alterations here and there but these are some killer covers. “Blackout” and “Lights Out” are pure fire and it’s interesting to hear Michael Sweet vocals on these songs. I think he’s got a unique singing style and it’s interesting hearing him find some middle ground between his own style and the styles in which these songs were originally sung.

One of the better cover albums I’ve heard. Essential pickup for 2011.

Highlights: “Set Me Free”, “Blackout”, “Lights Out”, “Shout It Out Loud”, “On Fire”, “God”

http://www.stryper.com/
http://www.facebook.com/Stryper

Buy ‘The Covering’ at Amazon.com

Upcoming Reviews

Albums are piling up again! Here’s what I’m planning on reviewing by next weekend:

Nonpoint – Miracle
Pretty Maids – Pandemonium
Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon: Double Album Deluxe Edition
Alexx Calise – In Avanti (finally?)

All of this in addition to my usual personal collection reviews and maybe a few other recent releases depending on what I have time for! I bought a bunch of Deep Purple albums and have listened to a few but there’s enough to have a ‘Deep Purple Week’ so I’m thinking I may do that sometime in the coming weeks. I’ll possibly do a Whitesnake week too in the near future. I’ve been on a big Whitesnake kick lately.

WHITESNAKE – Trouble

Whitesnake – Trouble (1978, Geffen Records)

1. “Take Me With You” … 4:44
2. “Love to Keep You Warm” .. .3:43
3. “Lie Down (A Modern Love Song)” … 3:14
4. “Day Tripper” … 3:47
5. “Nighthawk (Vampire Blues)” … 3:40
6. “The Time is Right for Love” … 3:27
7. “Trouble” … 4:48
8. “Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick” … 3:25)
9. “Free Flight” … 4:05
10. “Don’t Mess with Me” … 3:18

Band:
David Coverdale – Vocals
Micky Moody – Guitar
Bernie Marsden – Guitar, Vocals (“Free Flight”)
Neil Murray – Bass
Dave Dowle – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards

Producer: Martin Birch

Though it isn’t the first album to bare to Whitesnake name, Trouble is the first full-fledged group effort because Snakebite (released earlier in the same year) featured a handful of David Coverdale solo material that was recorded before Whitesnake was formed.

It’s amazing how well put together the sound and direction of this band was right out of the gate. Trouble sets the tone for the rest of the group’s blues-rock era. But could we really expect anything less given the talent involved? Coverdale delivers his typically wonderful vocal performance throughout (though he would get even better on later albums), Jon Lord’s keys dance delicately and enhance the songs instead of bogging them down and the guitar duo of Moody & Marsden is quickly becoming one of my favorites and has convinced me I really need to buy those Company of Snakes albums. Neil Murray also puts in a fine performance as does drummer Dave Dowle.

There’s a number of notable songs on this release, even if upon first listen, none really stuck out to me. The band takes The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and gave it a blues-rock feel to pretty cool effect. Dig that voice box! “Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick” is an awesome instrumental and no offense to Mr. Coverdale, but it’s one of the best songs on the album. Then there’s “Free Flight” which features the vocal talents of Bernie Marsden. Again, it may be missing Coverdale but it’s a great number.

Now that I’ve heard this album about eight or nine times all the way through, I enjoy all the songs to one degree or another. There’s no immediate “hit” but this is great 1970s hard rockin’ blues.

Picked this one up used on Amazon.com for only a few bucks.

Highlights: “Take Me With You”, “Day Tripper”, “Trouble”, “Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick”, “Free Flight”, “Don’t Mess With Me”

www.whitesnake.com
www.myspace.com/whitesnake

DEEP PURPLE – Burn

Deep Purple – Burn [30th Anniversary Edition – Remastered] (2005, Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records/Purple Records)
Original Release: 1974, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Burn” … 6:00
2. “Might Just Take Your Life” … 4:36
3. “Lay Down, Stay Down” …4:15
4. “Sail Away” … 5:48
5. “You Fool No One” … 4:47
6. “What’s Goin’ on Here” … 4:55
7. “Mistreated” … 7:25
8. “”A” 200″ … 3:51
BONUS TRACKS
9. “Coronarias Redig” [2004 Remix] … 5:30
10. “Burn” [2004 Remix] … 6:00
11. “Mistreated” [2004 Remix] … 7:28
12. “You Fool No One” [2004 Remix] … 4:57
13. “Sail Away” [2004 Remix] … 5:37

Band:
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar
Glenn Hughes – Bass, Lead Vocals
Ian Paice – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards

Producer: Deep Purple

Years ago, during a Columbia House or BMG Music binge, I ordered Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers and then I never bothered with another Purple album. I wasn’t overly impressed by the album at the time and I’ve always had this hang-up on Deep Purple that they were “too 70s” and too heavy on keyboards and organs and that’s just not my style of rock.

Well, years later I decided to give the band a chance again by picking up Burn featuring the Deep Purple debut of two of my favorite rock vocalists – David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. It didn’t hurt that I found this anniversary edition online, brand new, for only six bucks and some change.

Again, everything about this album screams 1970s. The keyboards, the album cover, the funky & bluesy bass lines. I should really hate this album but somehow, I like it. I don’t love it, but I like it a lot and its a real treat listening to Coverdale and Hughes share lead vocals. Coverdale didn’t play any instruments in the band, so I’ve always wondered how he felt about sharing vocals with a band member who is playing an instrument as well. Just seems like a weird deal to me, but it was the 70s after all!

This album began the end of Ritchie Blackmore’s involvement in the band he co-found as he hated the bluesy and funky direction Hughes and Coverdale were taking the group in. I will say this, this album features some GREAT performances by Coverdale. Just listen to “Mistreated”.

The remixes I guess are nice if you have a really good ear or sound system for that type of stuff. I don’t have either, but I appreciate the effort put into this package to make it something special. “Coronarias Redig” was a B-side and is a pretty cool funky jam. There’s a very comprehensive booklet as well that’s full pictures and talks about the history about the band during this time frame. I love it when reissues include retrospectives like that. It oughta be a law.

Highlights: “Burn”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “Sail Away”, “You Fool No One”, “Mistreated”, “Coronarias Redig”

www.deeppurple.com
www.myspace.com/deeppurple

BLACK SABBATH – Purple Sabbath Definitive Edition

Black Sabbath – Purple Sabbath Definitive Edition (CDR bootleg)
Recorded: November 4, 1983 at The Centrum in Worchester, MA

1. “Captured Live Intro” … 1:12
2. “Black Sabbath Intro” … 2:20
3. Children of the Grave” … 5:05
4. “Hot Line” … 5:01
5. “War Pigs” … 7:30
6. “Iron Man” … 8:59
7. “Zero the Hero” … 7:46
8. “Heaven and Hell” … 8:42
9. Guitar Solo … 8:42
10. “Digital Bitch” … 3:51
11. “Black Sabbath” … 7:52
12. “Smoke on the Water” … 5:18
13. “Paranoid” … 3:51

Band:
Ian Gillan – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bev Bevan – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

With all of the singers Sabbath has had, it’s very interesting to listen to them having to cover each other. In this bootleg of Captured Live radio show featuring a performance in ’83, we not only get to hear then-current singer Ian Gillan sing a few his own killer songs from Born Again (and Deep Purple!), but also the works from Ozzy and Dio. He does a very good job on “War Pigs” especially, I think. I’ll take a live Gillan version of “War Pigs” over the Ozzy studio version any day (yes, my dislike for Ozzy knows no limits).

I even enjoy the lengthy guitar solo. I don’t see how so many rock fans can hate it when solos come up. I often think they’re the most interesting part of live performances. You already know the songs by heart, you don’t want to listen to some different and live that you’ve never heard before? There’s also a fine performance of “Smoke on the Water”, from Gillan’s old band Deep Purple. Apparently, this cover didn’t go over well with the Sabbath fanbase at the time when they would play it at concerts, but I don’t see what the big deal was.

It’s really unfortunate that after this tour Gillan ended up leaving Sabbath to rejoin Deep Purple (even though they would would deliver a great comeback with Perfect Strangers) because this line-up produced some great live performances and one of Sabbath’s best (and heaviest) albums. It would’ve been really interesting to see where they went from here.

Highlights: “Hot Line”, “War Pigs”, “Zero the Hero”, “Heaven and Hell”, Guitar Solo, “Smoke on the Water”, “Paranoid”

www.blacksabbath.com
www.heavenandhelllive.com
www.myspace.com/heavenandhelllive
www.deeppurple.com
www.myspace.com/deeppurple

WHITESNAKE – Saints & Sinners

Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners (1982, Geffen Records)

1. “Young Blood” … 3:30
2. “Rough an’ Ready” … 2:50
3. “Bloody Luxury” … 3:24
4. “Victim of Love” … 3:34
5. “Crying in the Rain” … 5:58
6. “Here I Go Again” … 5:08
7. “Love an’ Affection” … 3:08
8. “Rock an’ Roll Angels” … 4:07
9. “Dancing Girls” … 3:09
10. “Saints an’ Sinners” … 4:22

Band:
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals, Piano, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Bernie Marsden – Guitar
Mel Galley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mick Moody – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neil Murray – Bass
Ian Paice – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards

Produced by: Martin Birch

Phenomenal release and I’m ashamed it took me so long to own it (though I still think Good to Be Bad is my favorite ‘snake album). Coverdale has always used blues in the band’s music, even into their pop metal era, but man, this is some great bluesy hard rock. And check out Jon Lord on keyboard! I’ve grown to appreciate Deep Purple and their heavy use of the keyboard more over the years, so it’s actually nice to hear it featured prominently here as well. This would be the last Whitesnake album to feature both of Coverdale’s ex-Deep Purple bandmates Ian Paice and Jon Lord (though Lord would continue in the band until ’84).

I’ve never had a problem with the pop-metal version of Whitesnake (though I think Slip of the Tongue was a bit too slick for its own good) and I’ve never had a problem with the bluesier early years either, but you can’t deny the greatness of the old bluesier sound when hearing Saints & Sinners. As great as Coverdale’s voice is, it’s nice to hear him scaling back on the high pitch wailing he used so much on 1987’s Whitesnake and 1989’s Slip of the Tongue.

Of course, it’s no secret “Crying in the Rain” and “Here I Go Again” debuted on this album before getting a pop metal makeover in 1987. This version of “Crying in the Rain” is far and away the better version, it’s full of soul. As for “Here I Go Again”, it’s a nice (original) take on the song, but I prefer the bombastic version the band would later record.

My favorite track is “Dancing Girls”. The riff is great and the chorus is catchy as heck. This should be played right alongside “Girls Girls Girls” in every strip club in America.

I’ve noticed some discrepancies in regards to the contributions of Bernie Marsden and Mel Galley on this album. Most sources I’ve seen say one or the other played guitar (some say Galley only provided backing vocals), but until I get a confirmation either way, I’ll credit both on guitar and as members of the band.

Highlights: “Young Blood”, “Crying in the Rain”, “Here I Go Again”, “Love an’ Affection”, “Rock an ‘Roll Angels”, “Dancing Girls”, “Saints an’ Sinners”

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