CD Review: Whitesnake – Made in Britain/The World Record

CD Review: Whitesnake – Made in Britain/The World Record
Frontiers Records
All Access Review: A-

Whitesnake - Made in
Britain/The World Record 2013
David Coverdale is not a man without a country. He calls two of them home.

Always the charming rascal, with lust in his heart, a bawdy sense of humor and the restless, romantic heart of a drifter – the type of character he seems to identify with the most – perpetually looking for true love, Coverdale is English through and through, even if he now has dual citizenship in the United States. He probably stills takes his tea in the afternoon.

Taken literally, the title to the new package of rousing live recordings from pop-metal warhorse Whitesnake is self-explanatory. Undoubtedly it refers to material culled from a massive 2011 tour that included nine sold-out U.K. shows and as many as 87 other concerts from around the globe for the boisterous, pulse-pounding Made in Britain/The World Record, but it could just as well describe Coverdale the man – worldly, cultured and yet clearly a product of his native environment.

Ever the likeable rogue, Coverdale is in his element on the 25-track, two-disc Made in Britain/The World Record, singing with surprising clarity and as soulfully as ever – especially on wistful, beautifully rendered versions of “Fare Thee Well” and a softly acoustic “One of These Days,” the warm rasp in his voice dripping with nostalgia and longing. Time hasn’t ravaged his voice one bit; it still rings out clearly amid the bluster and charged electricity this Whitesnake outfit brings to classics like “Fool for Your Loving,” “Bad Boys” and an exuberant, testosterone-fueled “Slide it In” that practically reeks of cheap sex – just as Coverdale intended.

Radioactive meltdowns occur as Whitesnake takes on Deep Purple’s “Soldier of Fortune” and a satisfying medley of “Burn” and “Stormbringer” to end the set, but they mean business when they grind away, like a desperate stripper short on rent money, in “Lay down Your Love” and “Snake Dance.” Much like those two STD-infested sonic brothels of pure bluesy nastiness, both of them sleazier and more infectious than the originals, “Can You Hear the Wind Blow” certainly smolders and “My Evil Ways” smokes, with mean, biting riffage courtesy of guitarists Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich, whose slide guitar work in the intro to “My Evil Ways” has an edgy drawl and sharp aspect to it.

Without their heaviness, their feel, their stylistic diversity, their vibrant tones and rich variety of orgasmic solos, Made in Britain/The World Record wouldn’t be nearly as vital or as fiery, and when melody and harmonies are called for, as they are on “Here I Go Again,” “Love Ain’t No Stranger,” “Is This Love” and “Give Me All Your Love,” Beach and Aldrich play with style and taste, making their presence known but not in an overbearing manner. The songs are allowed to breathe, as the six-string killers sneak around stealthily under dark, spellbinding atmospheres, like that which envelopes parts of “Still of the Night.” They make the epic arrangements of “Forevermore,” off the 2011 album of the same name, soar, but without the remarkably dynamic drumming of Brian Tichy, a definite star in the making, they would go nowhere.

A worthy and quick successor to Made in Japan, an equally dazzling, if not quite as expansive, Whitesnake live album released earlier this year, Made in Britain/The World Record will seduce and overpower longtime fans and new converts alike with superb sound and indefatigable instrumental vigor.
– Peter Lindblad


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