* Prices may differ from that shown
I was quite heavily into Whitesnake once upon a time. I used to await their albums with eager anticipation, but then - around the time they became more popular - I sort of lost interest a bit. It wasn't due to the fact they were suddenly commercially successful or that I suddenly hated them, I just found other things to listen too, bands such as Metallic and Halloween... 'The Early Years' sums up the time in which I liked to listen to their music most. When I was browsing through Amazon recently, I saw this album and clicked the Add To Basket without hesitation. There were a few songs listed that I always had a soft spot for, most importantly 'Don't Break My Heart Again,' but more that that lot later.
Whitesnake were formed in late seventies by David Coverdale, following Deep Purple's split (he was the vocalist who took over from Ian Gillan, in case you didn't know). They arrived on the scene when Punk Rock was rife and such bands were not very hip at all - in fact they called them the dinosaurs of rock. While the likes of the Sex Pistols shouted and spat at the audiences world-wide, Coverdale and co performed there heavy rock blues, quietly getting on with business and building up a reputation as a fine rock band. Deep Purple was a hard act to follow, but Coverdale managed to pull it off extremely well.
'The Early Years' (I know, a cheesy title, but I will let them off) contains 18 songs from 1978 to 1984. In this era their music slowly but surely grew more heavy, but retained its 'bluesy' feel. Slide guitars, jazz pianos, Hammond organs, lyrics about sex and drinking - all the ingredients you need really. There were sum naff songs during that time, and some are on this album, but there were some timeless classics too. There were very few band changes compared to what would happen in later years, and they seemed to enjoy what they were doing.
Here's a Band for you!
As I have mentioned, David Coverdale provides the vocals (1978 - Present). The rest are as follows:
Micky Moody - Guitar (1978 - 1984)
Bernie Marsden - Guitar (1978 - 1982)
Neil Murray - Bass (1978 - 1987)
Jon Lord - Keyboards (1978 - 1984)
Dave Dowle - Drums (1978 - 1980)
Ian Paice (1980 - 1984)
Mel Galley - Guitar (1984)
Colin Hodgkinson - Bass (1984)
Cozy Powell - Drums(1984)
There are a lot of songs for only six years when you think about it. This compilation was complied by Mr Coverdale himself and he has made some great choices. "Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues" (4:19), from the 'Lovehunter' album kicks of the proceedings. Written by Coverdale and Marsden, this is a definite blues/rock anthem. A great little number. This is followed by "Sweet Talker" (3:35), also written by Coverdale and Marsden and from the album 'Ready an' Willing.' Next up is the Coverdale, Marsden and Moody classic "Would I Lie To You" (4:27), taken from 'Come and Get It.' This is a real toe-tapper of a song. It bursts into life with its dirty riff and catchy chorus. One of my favourites...
The blues orientated "Trouble" (4:41) is next. Written by Coverdale, Marsden and Moody it is from the self titled album: a nice gentle rock tune to chill out to, with a great little guitar solo. Fifth on the list is "Gambler" (3:59) from the 1984 album, 'Slide it In,' when they were starting to 'heavy' things up a bit more. Marsden had left by this point and it was written by Coverdale and newcomer Galley. "Lovehunter" (5:31) is next. Taken from 'Lovehunter' it was written by Coverdale, Marsden and Moody. It's a slow, but emotion-filled song that chundles along nicely.
"Don't Break My Heart Again" (4:00) is the seventh song on the album. This has to be one of my favourites and if it had not been included I might well have written to Coverdale to complain. Taken from the 'Come and Get it' album it was written by Coverdale and is just awesome. A slow, but sudden intro where Lord's Hammond organ is evident. Sharp drums and gnarling guitar snatches, then Coverdale's fine voice follows. All musicians are on fine form here and it does not let you down at all:
I've had enough holding onto the past,
Make no mistake it could be your last...
Don't break my heart again, like you did before
Don't break my heart again, I couldn't take anymore..._
"Ready An' Willing" (3:15) is next up. Written by Whitesnake, it is from the album of the same name. "Child Of Babylon" (4:22) follows this. Written by Coverdale and Marsden, it is from 'Come an Get It.' I am pretty sure that most of you will have heard the song "Here I Go Again" (4:58). This is the earlier version from 'Saints and Sinners.' Written by Coverdale and Marsden, it is not as 'heavy' as the more popular version from a later album. I think I prefer this version though. It has a bluesy charm to it and is more innocent in a way. Perhaps it's Lord's organ intro, I don't know...
"Just another heart in need of rescue
Waiting on love's sweet charity..."
A few 'throwaway' songs follow, but I am sure a few Whitesnake fans might disagree: "Carry Your Load" (4:00) written by Coverdale and taken from 'Ready an Willing', then "Rough An Ready" (2:54) from Saints and Sinners and written by Coverdale and Marsden. "Wine, Women An' Song" (3:23) is next, written by Whitesnake and taken from 'Com and Get it'. Then we have "Lie Down... I Think I Love You" (3:09), written by Coverdale and Moody and taken from 'Trouble.' I can think of other better song that could have been put here instead. 'Long Way from Home,' anyone? We round off with the ever popular "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" (6:12). This is the live version from the album 'Live in the heart of the City' and is a remake of Price/Walsh song. I prefer the studio version... "Fool For Your Loving" (4:31) is next, also live and again I prefer the studio version. It was written by Coverdale, Moody and Marsden and is one most of you will know well. "Take Me With You" (6:22) is next. Another live version from 'Live in the heart of the City' and was written by Coverdale and Moody. Lastly we have "We Wish You Well" (1:37), taken from 'Lovehunter' and written by Coverdale.
I have to say there are a few poor choice here and many other songs that did not make the cut could and should have. Having said that, there are a few gems here as well. I bought it from Amazon for £4.99, and for me that is money very, very well spent...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
2 Sweet Talker
3 Would I Lie To You
6 Love Hunter
7 Don't Break My Heart Again
8 Ready An' Willing (Live)
9 Child Of Babylon
10 Here I Go Again
11 Carry Your Load
12 Rough and Ready
13 Wine Women An' Song
14 Lie Down... I Think I Love You
15 Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City (Live)
16 Fool For Your Loving (Live)
17 Take Me With You (Live)
18 We Wish You Well