Whitesnake Retrospective: day 2 - 1978

So dear reader, we come to 1978.  After two solo albums and a four song EP, David Coverdale was ready to relase the first proper album by Whitesnake - "Trouble".  To me this is the strongest of all the classic WS albums, which is not to say that it was all downhill from their first album.  No, not by a long shot, there were many high points after this, but this is probably the most consistent of them.

By this time, Whitesnake was forming into a real band, not just a backing unit for dave.  Jon Lord, of Deep Purple fame took over on keyboards.  Though he was a sideman in this band, he had a lot of cool solos, and in many places his distinctive organ sound growls away behind the two-guitar attack of Moody and Marsden.  "Trouble" is so much of a band effort that there are two songs without Coverdale at all.  One song is an instrumental, and another features Bernie Marsden on lead vocals.  Dave Dowle continued on drums, and while he was not as famous as some of the later occupants of the WS drum stool, he is the best locked in with Neil Murray's melodic, funky bass lines.  For example "Love to Keep you warm" is diven by Murray's bass riff.

Check out this live video from the Old Grey Whistle test of two of the songs, "Trouble" and "Lie Down".  The latter is a fine barrelhouse number with some nice piano playing, and a bit of Bernie Marsden's co-lead vocal in the bridge of the song (somewhat reminiscent of Glenn Hughes in Deep Purple Mk. III).  In "Trouble", we get to hear both axemen take bluesy solos.  Here is a  promo video for "The Time is Right for Love", a shuffle tune that shows off the tight rhythm section.

Tomorrow - Whitesnake does their best effort to have a Spinal Tap-esque album cover!

Whitesnake Retrospective day 1 (1977-78)

 In the spirit of Ola's Blog, I think it is time to look back through the retrospectiscope, on the music of classic 70's Whitesnake.  If you are thinking that Whitesnake begins and ends with bubblegum hair metal that saturated the airwaves in the summer of 1987 - think again.  To those of use afficianados of British hard rock from the 1970's, Whitesnake was, along with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, one of the premiere hard rock acts that appeared in the wake of Deep Purple's demise.  Or, to put it another way: "huge in Germany, Finland, and Japan, but totally unknown in the US".  My kind of music.

So, shall we start from the beginning?  In 1976, the final incarnation of Deep Purple (which included Tommy Bolan on guitar), already had quite a resemblance to the whitesnakiness that was to come.  But this band did break up, Tommy Bolan died, and David Coverdale went off to make two solo albums.  For the first of these, 1977's "White Snake" (which I have never heard in its entirety), he did this promotional video for "Lady" - not a great song funny to watch for it's pre-MTV style.  He made a second solo album, "Northwinds"  that had a few cool tracks, and was produced by Roger Glover.  Finally, by 1978, a Whitesnake lineup solidified and produced a 4 song EP called "Snakebite".  This spawned a minor hit with the cover version of "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City".  

This video shows us the frontline of Coverdale, guitarists Micky Moody (with the hat)and Bernie Marsden (with the doubleneck) , and bass player Neil Murray.  It may be hard to appreciate him coming out of your computer speakers, but Murray is one of my favorite bass players of all time.  Coverdale called him "the most melodic bass player since McCartney" and I couldn't agree more.  Moody and Marsden also contributed backing vocals here, and on every subsequent release, providing a key element to the classic Whitesnake sound.  David Dowle played drums, quite exceptionally on this and a few other releases, and Pete Solley was the keyboard player for this EP.  Both would soon be replaced by more famous Deep Purple alumni, but that is another story.  

Next chapter - trouble in 1978!



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Ok, saw three films yesterday at the Festival, here are the trailers:
Autumn Ball

Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution

The Red Elvis

Three very different films. Autumn Ball was a serious drama with comic overtones, about life in Estonia. Specifically, the lives of a group of people who live in a dingy apartment block. I think I have seen this kind of genre film before, but it was different, and the film was well shot and directed. I think we will be hearing from director Veiko Õunpuu again.

Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution was probably the most mainstream, and had the best reception from the crowd. A comedy about a British family that moves to East Germany.

And then the Red Elvis, the Dean Reed Documentary. Really well made, a documentary that lets the people in the film tell the story, these people who knew Dean. I thought he came across as a complex but naive character, others with me thought he was just a jerk.  You decide!



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hi Blog audience,

well I haven't posted in a while, as I have had some issues to deal with... At the same time I have been busy with work, and getting out to shows, and playing music.

Ok, it's off to the Philly Film Fest this afternoon!

Art Museum

It was a fine show last night, there must have been a few hundred people there to see the Nicki Jaine band.  Thanks to everyone who came, and also to Jamie for selling merch, Birth of Venus for singing some tunes, to the Museum for being so hospitable, my dad for driving me down and helping with gear, and everyone.

Simpsons Movie

It was ok, but not great.  A lot of these gags are getting kinda old after 18 years.  It was set up like an episode.  In the same way that the first 10 minutes of a Simpsons episode changes plotline every 5 seconds, until finally we settle on something, the first half hour of this movie was like that.  Then it settled into a crisis, Homer gets them in trouble and saves the world in the end.  Like a typical episode stretched out to 90 minutes.  But perfectly watchable.

Mike Judge knew best - he killed Beavis and Butt-Head after a few short, tasteless, years.  The Simpsons producers should take a lesson from that.

Ray

well maybe I over reacted - SEPTA

So it seems that if I drive over to Yardley, then the rate only went up by $1.  Interesting, in their infinite wisdom, the SEPTA gods decided to stick it to NJ as much as possible.  The real screws were twisted on to Zone 6, and West Trenton was just changed over from Zone 5 to Zone 6.  Oh well.

Scam - correction

ok, I got it wrong, in reality it is even worse.

The onboard Surcharge is only $1 - but they screwed us over about 4 different ways:

1.  Double the fares
2.  onboard surcharge EVEN WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BUY A TICKET AT THE STATION
3.  Change West Trenton from Zone 5 to Zone 6
4.  Eliminate off peak discount


by bye Septa, I'm done with you.  I'll pay for parking, thanks.

Septa SCAM

well I had a nice Nicki Jaine Band gig last night at Rustic Music, in Philly.  It was our first gig with Eric Coyne, an excellent celo player who plays just perfectly - like any conservatory trained musician he can read anything, but he also can play by ear and make up parts from chord charts. 

Although I avoided traffic by taking the Septa down from West Trenton, I got totally scammed by their new pricing policy.  I am not that p.o.'ed about the $6 one way fare, but they now scam you with a $3 surcharge if you buy the ticket on the train - EVEN IF THERE IS NO TICKET OFFICE OR TICKET MACHINE AT YOUR STOP!!  I can understand, like in NJ Transit they do this, but at least there is a functioning ticket machine at every stop, so you have no excuse.  But Septa is too cheap to install this, so they are just screwing over the occasional travlers like me, while trying to keep the daily commuters happy.

Coming back I got scammed again because in center city, the ticket booth closes at 9 pm (oh, how conveeeeeenient) so if you want to buy a ticket before you get on your 10:51 train, be prepared to shell out an extra $3  - again.   And, no , there are no ticket machines in Market East.  I'm sorry, but this puts Philly down in the bush leagues as far as I am concerned.  This kind of crap would not cut it in a real city like NYC.

So last week, round trip fare was $8.50, this week, $18.00.  If I am going to pay that kind of fare I'd might as well go into New York, at least I'll have the priveledge of getting a train home after midnight.

(hey, my first blog rant!)