WHITESNAKE - Box 'O' Snakes [The Sunburst Years 1978-1982] (2011)
Aimed squarely at the completist, this box covers the glory years of David Coverdale’s post-Purple vehicle. Though drawing together seven studio sets and two live albums (with some unissued tracks), it doesn’t include all extant material, some of which has appeared on past remastered, expanded editions of the albums.
1978’s debut Trouble (with a line-up of Jon Lord, Neil Murray, Dave Dowle, Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden and Coverdale) contains the Deep Purple-esque powerhouse Don’t Mess With Me amid the boogie (Day Tripper with vocoder) and jazz-fusion (Nighthawks), while the title track is the blues-edged rock that the band honed thereafter. Live At Hammersmith, meanwhile (recorded in 1978; released 1980), rounds up some then-current and pre-’Snake glories. Love Hunter broke the Top 30 in 1979 with standards such as Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues and the frantic Mean Business. The following year, ex-Purple colleague Ian Paice took up the sticks for the definitive line-up’s Ready An’ Willing. It hit No 6 with gems such as Fool For Your Loving, the rousing Blindman and slide-laden Ain’t Gonna Cry No More. Live In The Heart Of The City went one better, showcasing the band’s prowess in a live best of. They were at the height of their game for 1981’s Come An’ Get It, sporting classics including the title track’s tongue-in- cheek smut, Don’t Break My Heart Again’s colossal stomp and the refined Child Of Babylon. Whitesnake fragmented before 1982’s Saints And Sinners but, with Cozy Powell and Mel Galley aboard, momentum was retained with another rollocking platter, chiefly Crying In The Rain’s studied guitar lines, the reverent screaming of Here I Go Again and overlooked belters such as the catchy Young Blood. The two Live At Reading sets from 1979/80 round up 14 cuts – some repeated, others unaired – with sporadically iffy tape sound on the ’79 outing. Still, the DVD collects 10 promo clips, four from Old Grey Whistle Test 1978/82, and the 46-minute Official Bootleg: Washington Capital Center 1980. Finally, there’s the four-track Snakebite 7” on white vinyl and a 90-page booklet. Minor flaws aside, ’Snake diehards have plenty to shed their cash over.
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