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Whitesnake – The Early Years

Label: EMI Records
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

This collection of songs is a great education for anyone unaware of Whitesnake pre “Slide It In”. David Coverdale started the band in the late 70’s when it was called David Coverdale’s Whitesnake, and released “Whitesnake” and “Northwinds” in 1977.

Now, this era of Whitesnake is not metal at all, both in sound and style its bluesy hard rock, none the less an important part to Metal's beginnings. The guitars are rockin but not even close to the sound everyone is familiar with on the ‘87’ breakthrough album. This Whitesnake is more straight ahead, soulful, a very ‘70’s’ sound to the piano and keyboards, sometimes with female backing vocals. Even though Coverdale was in Deep Purple, his material for Whitsnake does not have that kind of sound.

Many classic tunes were written at this time, just ask Dave Murray from Iron Maiden who sported a Whitesnake “Lovehunter” shirt back around ‘81’(photo can be found in the “Killers” remaster). “Walking In The Shadow of The Blues”, “Would I Lie To You”, “Don’t Break My Heart Again”, “Lovehunter”, “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”, all classic bluesy hard rock. You also get foot tapping rockers like “Sweet Talker”, “Ready An Willing”, and “Wine Women and Song”.

Also included is “Gambler” from the album “Slide It In”, an album that was recorded in two versions, one with the lineup from the 70’s, and the one America is familiar with having John Sykes on guitar. The very informative booklet liner notes give you the story on this situation, as well as Whitesnake’s history and discography.

The massively hit single “Here I Go Again” is presented in its original form taken from the album “Saints and Sinners” from 1982 as with “Fool For Your Loving” from “Live in the Heart of the City” in 1980.

This is one of the best retrospective collections out there and is and highly recommend especially given the band at hand.
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