Good To Be Bad

Whitesnake

What comes around…Here it is 2008 and all of a sudden it’s like 1988 all over again. It’s true, if you wait 20 years, what was once hip will come back in style again, just slightly “seasoned” for the most part. Like an old girlfriend that has had some slight cosmetic work done and looks great on the outside, in comes a slew of releases by bands that put out some of the most popular music the 80s had to offer. Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Dokken, and Great White were all part of a genre of music that was frowned upon for most of the end of the century, and have all great new CDs out or coming out.

One of the finest bands of the era was Whitesnake featuring former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale. Here was the prefect set-up of a singer with gorgeous bluesy voice, rock star looks, and videos that featured him cavorting around with his ex wife, the ex-sexy Tawny Kitaen. Two decades later, Whitesnake returns with Good To Be Bad, and just like that old girlfriend I alluded to earlier, has had some work done and seems to look just fine, thank you.

Whitesnake, as always, is a revolving door of personnel. Gone are the guitarists, Adrian Vandenberg, Steve Vai, John Sykes, Vivian Campbell etc. In are guitarists Doug Aldrich (ex-Dio, etc.) and Reb Beach (ex-Winger, ex-Dokken, etc.) Gone is bassist Rudy Sarzo; in is Uriah Duffy. Gone is drummer Tommy Aldridge; in is Chris Frasier. Keyboardist Timothy Drury rounds out the ensemble. All are great musicians and the band sounds terrific.

Musically, this CD is a solid piece of work. Unlike other Whitesnake discs, Coverdale’s vocals struggle to keep up with the rest of the band in some spots. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of brilliance, such as on the CD’s best cut “Lay Down Your Love,” which sounds like it was recorded in 1989, but updated with a modern a cappella intro.
Other songs like “Call On Me” and the title track show that range the singer has — going from growler to shouter, verse to verse — but something is just missing. Fortunately, the terrific guitar work from Aldrich and Beach save the CD from growing stale.

Fans will appreciate the ballads “All I Want All I Need,” which is this CD’s “Is This Love.” I’m guessing there will eventually be a video featuring a beautiful woman climbing all over Coverdale and a sports car. “Summer Rain” is a nice enough power ballad, and could become crossover hit on adult contemporary radio. Coverdale has always been good at these type of songs.

“All For Love,” the first single, is a rocker and will hopefully get some radio play this summer. But I wouldn’t expect a lasting image of Whitesnake accepting a Grammy next year. Good To Be Bad is truly a CD for Whitesnake fans. I look forward to seeing them live on tour if and when that happens. I may even find an old girlfriend to take with me.

~ Junkman

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