David Coverdale

White Snake

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After Deep Purple crumbled in the mid-'70s, vocalist David Coverdale began a solo career with 1977's White Snake. Before too long, Coverdale would adopt that album title as the name of his new band. Coverdale gathered future Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody, keyboardist Tim Hinckley, bassist De Lisle Harper, and noted session drummer Simon Phillips. Background singers Liza Strike, Helen Chappelle, and Barry St. John are prominently featured, too. Uncredited horn players also contribute to the album. Ex-Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover produced the album and also added some synthesizer parts. White Snake is a tentative, generally disappointing album because Coverdale is clearly flummoxed regarding the direction the music should take. There are some blues-rock numbers that benefit from Coverdale's rich, throaty vocals and Moody's reliable guitar parts. (They would settle on this style for Whitesnake.) However, much of the album shows Coverdale's love of R&B and soul. Remember that it was this route that Deep Purple took, particularly on 1974's Stormbringer, that drove guitarist Ritchie Blackmore to quit the band in disgust. "Lady" manages to blend R&B and hard rock elements effectively thanks to Moody's slithering guitar and the punchy horns. The smoldering "Blindman" is the best song because of its blues-rock purity; it actually sounds like a blend of Free, Bad Company, and, ultimately, future Whitesnake. "Goldies Place" is a blue-eyed stab at R&B and funk. "Whitesnake" is a guilty pleasure rocker; the sexual symbolism surpasses mere double entendre, but it's not quite hardcore porn. "Peace Lovin' Man" goes so far as to approach gospel-influenced soul. "Hole in the Sky" is a smooth, dreamy ballad. Spitfire Records' 2000 CD reissue includes decent liner notes and first takes of "Peace Lovin' Man" and "Sunny Days" as bonus tracks.

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