MUSIC REVIEWS: Whitesnake Anniversary Remasters-Slide It In & Slip of The Tongue
Enjoying UK popularity as blues based rock outfit with members of Deep Purple joining him, David Coverdale steered his band Whitesnake onto American shores beginning in 1984 with a trio of successful albums, singles, popular sexy videos and concerts. Two of those CD’s 1984’s Slide It In (the one that started the American assault) and 1989’s Slip Of The Tongue are enjoying re-mastered anniversary treatment.
From the slight keyboard opening of the simple “Gambler” to the rockin’ title track, even to some old blues remnants of Whitesnake past “Slow and Easy,” and “All Or Nothing” (featuring Jon Lord on organ) these ten songs are made for a singles market. Whitesnake was certainly ‘uncoiling’ (yeah, I can get witty at times, can’t I?) into a wholly different animal with their brand new Geffen record deal, but the band’s players had the chops to retain at least some of their old bluesy swagger. Before this album’s release the band was undergoing personal changes with a new line-up that Coverdale says-in the booklet that accompanies this set-came out of a straight ahead need to break America and it does show on snappy rockers like “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Guilty Of Love.”
While Coverdale won’t ever be accused of plying lyrical complexity, somehow these plaintive wails for ‘you know what’ work here with snappy fun choruses in “Give Me More Time” (Lord’s prominent at times here which is nice) and the shadowy “Standing In The Shadow.” Don’t’ ask me where “Hungry For Love” comes from, this is Whitensake doing Foghat and the last tune, “Guilty Of Love” with its dual guitars sounds like Thin Lizzy.
Besides the ‘original’ 10 songs there’s ‘bonus’ tunes here too, UK mixes mostly of the original CD. Seemingly the UK market was a different animal than the American one, since drummer Cozy Powell is wonderfully represented with a much more ‘up front’ mix on the bonus ten.
1989’s Slip Of The Tongue saw Whitesnake become MTV darlings, yet undergoing more personal changes, most notably the addition of guitarist Adrian Vandenberg and the ever-speedy Steve Vai. This is a totally different band with nary a connection to the bluesy old snake or even the gritty rock one of Slide. These 10 tunes are completely late 80’s commercial rock (forget lyric complexity), with Coverdale is screeching through the opening title track, pyrotechnic guitars pyrotechnic-ing through every conceivable space and predictable songs like “Fool For Your Loving” and the non-stop (not in a good way) “Kitten’s Got Claws.” Drummer Tommy Alridge is no Cozy Powell, the over all production is high gloss. This is a much weaker album than any of its predecessors.
The ‘power-ballad’ “The Deeper The Love” is a nice enough tune, the annoying guitars are subdued, revealing Coverdale’s solid pipes when he’s not competing. There’s some slight funk in “Slow Poke Music,” yet an unfortunate example of why those Coverdale/Plant comparisons get made. “Wings of the Storm” is a guitar showcase and while not wholly unexpected is not totally terrible…if it had stayed an instrumental. The album closer, “Sailing Ships” is really pretty, with nicely muted guitars and a precise Coverdale, but halfway through, Bammo, here comes the band!
There’s a lot less bonus tracks here; a single B-side “Sweet Lady Luck,” a ‘Vai voltage mix’ of “Fool For Your Love,” as well as two live cuts from Donnington in 1990.
Both two-disc packages contain Coverdale’s candid thoughts in thick booklets and a DVD second disc. Some of Slide It In‘s visual offerings are promo videos of “Guilty Of Love” and “Slow and Easy,” a “Guilty Of Love” from a Donnington festival-used in the Whitesnake video release Whitesnake Commandos and a Top Of The Pops appearance from 1984. Slip Of The Tongue‘s disc two contains eight visual treats, the first three promo videos from Slip “Fool For Your Loving’89,” “Now Your Gone,” and “The Deeper The Love,” a couple of live moments, “Starkers In Toyko,” “Judgement Day”) (again?!) from “Live…In The Still Of The Night” and the last two are live footage from the 1990’s Donnington performance.