Whitesnake – “The Rock Album”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Review: Dawn Osborne
The Rock Album is a revisit by David Coverdale to tracks from the Saints and Sinners era (granted that ‘Here I Go Again’, the only Saints and Sinners track, already got a facelift on 1987) to date including one unreleased track. It’s part of a red, white and blue trilogy (love songs, rock songs and epic blues numbers). The first album available, of what will be three, this is the white in the equation. Available on white vinyl and, in that, with the retro snake on the white cover, bearing a resemblance to the original version of the Trouble album (although there are no songs in common – Coverdale sadly does not own the recording rights to his earliest material post Deep Purple when he had the same management). Sixteen songs in total The Rock Album has the quintessentials, but also some quirky surprises to keep the fans on their toes.
Kicking off with the classic ‘Still of the Night’, the version is faithful to the original, but it’s fun to spot the difference on what is a super well known track. This fresh version has much sharper guitar and crisper vocals, an orchestral update to the middle dreamy sequence where you can really hear the angelic backing vocals and finally, a changed ending with more atmospherics. Carrying on with knocking the dust off there’s a new sparkling version of ‘Best Years’, which is 12 years old now, cut glass modern production techniques give it an upgrade. ‘Tell Me How’ has a brand new start and is quite a bit longer than the original with notable changes to the guitar and a syncopated extra juicy bit in the center. ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’ has new keyboards and beefier guitars and seems slightly faster to me than the original. From the same album ‘Slide It In’, guitars remain switched to turbo for the new version of ‘All or Nothing’. As with a lot of the newer versions the thunderous drums are still there, but it’s easier to distinguish everything else in the mix. There’s twiddly stuff going on in the background of one of the choruses of ‘Give Me all Your Love’ that I’ve never heard before. Guitars seem brighter at the end of ‘Can you Hear The Wind Blow’. The four songs from the ‘Restless Heart’ period (two from the album/two B sides from singles) have been rocked up for 2020 with new soprano backing vocals on the title track, extra organ on ‘Anything You Want’, and ‘Cryin’, and ‘Can’t Stop Now’ have been transformed from slightly gospel into true Whitesnake songs with more bite. ‘Here I Go Again’ is so much more lush than you had ever imagined before. It’s almost like someone lifted the old grimy varnish off a great old master revealing its forgotten power. Acoustic guitar from Adrian Vandenberg has been added to ‘Judgement Day’, always a powerful track, it now has extra oomph from added keyboards and newly discovered guitar bits from Steve Vai not heard before. ’She Give Me’ a rarity from the DC solo album ‘Into The Light’ is punchier and harder with more powerful drums. ‘Always The Same’ is the brand new unreleased track, unmixed until recently from the Flesh and Blood sessions, with the same wonderful joie de vivre that characterizes DC’s later work as he has truly learned to love life.
Whitesnake – “Always The Same”
So you’re gonna be aware you’re listening to new versions of these songs, but it’s not going to diminish your enjoyment and love of the old versions at all. If anything there’s just a new clarity about the songs as if they’d been washed in fairy liquid and got a new gleam so you can see the patterns on your fine china more clearly. Mr Coverdale has the most serious work ethic of just about anyone in the music industry and his attention and application has paid off in a collection worth anyone’s investment. Just need to see them live again soon now, damn that virus!!!