Live... In the Shadow of the Blues

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David Coverdale is back with a brand new Whitesnake on Live...In the Shadow of the Blues. Recorded between 2005 and 2006, this double disc documents a new band -- with veteran monster drummer Tommy Aldridge (Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers, Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy Osbourne), guitar wizards Doug Aldrich (Dio, Carmine Appice, Bad Moon Rising) and Reb Beach (Winger, Eric Clapton), bassist Uriah Duffy (Carmine Appice, Pat Travers Band, Christina Aguilera), and keyboard boss Timothy Drury (Eagles) -- and runs not only through the hits in an inspired and dirty-ass fashion, but comes up with four new cuts as well, recorded in the studio and tacked on at the end of disc two. The studio cuts first: it's no secret that Coverdale is not the most profound lyricist, and these songs are no exception. With titles such as "Ready to Rock," "If You Want Me," "All I Want Is You," and "Dog," that's obvious from the jump -- but the same was true for hits like "Slide It In" and "Ready & Willing." That said, there is fresh energy here. Aldrich and Beach are monsters, pure and simple. This is a deeply guitar-driven attack, raw and wild and woolly. What remains to be seen is if these cuts can inspire any of the former big hard rock heads to come out of the woodwork in the 21st century. After all, these are the first new studio tracks from Coverdale since 1997! The formula is the same, it's just ramped up and a bit more metallic; perhaps Coverdale feels -- as he does his very best Robert Plant here -- that the loud and proud signature will be enough to attract not just the dwindling rolls of the faithful but attack some younger blood as well. The songs are great for what they are (beautifully crafted, supersonic hard rockers); it's just a head-scratcher when considering who might be interested in playing them on the radio or on the telly. The standouts are "If You Want Me" and the stellar power ballad "All I Want Is You" (if young people dug Whitesnake you could see them at gigs swaying and flicking their lighters to this one). The live material is top-notch. All of it. Coverdale sounds inspired and his band just roars like a behemoth. From the really vintage material like "Burn/Stormbringer" to "Is This Love," the band knows it inside out and turns some of it inside out. In many ways, this is as good or better than Live in the Heart of the City. One is not sure what "Blues" Coverdale is referring to in the album title, and it makes no difference. This is a live 'Snake record that kicks it. Period.

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