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Whitesnake – Good to be Bad

Label: SPV
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Yet another hard rock dinosaur has been given a second chance on life. Could this be a new Whitesnake hatchling? Was the rebirth the result of DNA manipulation? Did Coverdale find the fountain of youth? Regardless of the circumstances I’m glad the outfit is reactivated.
I am a Whitesnake fan and find the catalogue has offered plenty of great music and several classic albums that should be recognized. With that said, you have the much bluesier material from 1978-79 (“Snakebite”, “Trouble”, “Lovehunter”) with the first two albums in 1977 under the name David Coverdale’s Whitesnake. The still bluesy yet more hard rock based albums which I really enjoyed that followed “Ready n Willing” (1980), Come and Get It (81), “Saints and Sinners” (82) and “Slide it In” from 84. The hugely successful ’87 self titled album followed with a more metallic riffs delivered by six string demon John Sykes and then the Steve Vai flashier more L.A. inspired “Slip of the Tongue” in 1989. Finally, 1997’s “Restless Heart” which was the only album to feature touring guitarist Adrian Vandenberg on lead guitar.

“Good to be Bad” I think is a fine Whitesnake album to return with that is a hybrid of all eras. “Best Years” kicks things off a little slow but in the spirit of those earlier 80’s records with a bit of the harder rock riffs found on the 87’ self titled album provided by David Coverdale’s newest six string right hand man Doug Aldrich. “Can You Hear The Wind Blow” follows in line with a foot taping beat and some spiced up soloing. At its core, this album I think really sees Coverdale bringing the snake back more to its roots. The arrangements really don’t posses the metallic quality to the 87’ self titled album or the gloss from “Slip of the Tongue”. Still, songs like “Call on Me” do still maintain a muscular tone and you can hear Aldrich is steering the ship.

Unfortunately, Reb Beach’s talents on second guitar I really don’t hear on the record.

What’s a Whitesnake album without a ballad?. You gotta have a song for the ladies. Here, the candle lit dinner mood setting “All I Want All I Need” follows the “Is this Love” formula pretty closely. In an ironic turn of events, title track “Good to be Bad” tips its hat to the attitude of “Ready n Willing”. Bluesy, slightly funked up riffs, a classy in swagger and solo section. And if you are looking for that really old 70s Whitesnake blues arrangement than look no further with “Summer Rain” and “Till the End of Time”. David delves into his soul for these. “Lay Down Your Love” has a good energy and another which goes back to the early 80’s and the record “Saints and Sinners”.

Overall I enjoyed the album. I think David Coverdale has enlisted a new batch of players that have recaptured a part of the snake not heard from in many years. Still….I think the songs could have used some double bass (boy do I miss Aynsley Dunbar’s drumming on that 87’ record and after Tommy Aldridge) and some heavier riffs (I know Doug Aldrich has some John Sykes in him). Lets see what the next record offers. Hopefully Coverdale can hold on to Aldrich and offer Reb Beach some of the spotlight.
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