Coverdale posted on Twitter that 31 May is the 37 year anniversary of the “Ready An’ Willing” album. So I called it up on Spotify for a few relistens.
My Whitesnake fandom started with the 1987 album. It was my first introduction and I was hooked. It was so guitar heavy, yet accessible. Sometime after I had the album, I purchased the 7 inch single to “Give Me All Your Love” because of an unknown B-side track. The track in question is “Fool For Your Loving”. I got home, dropped the needle and I was shocked. It sounded like a garage demo compared to the polished 87 album.
But the song was good, so I was curious to hear more. The magazines of the time didn’t really talk much about the earlier part of Whitesnake, so I went to “Rings Music World” (our local record shop) with $10 in pocket change. I looked under “W” and all that was there was the 87 album. I went to the discount boxes and found the cassettes to “Ready An’ Willing” and “Saints And Sinners” for $5 each. So for $10 bucks I had some new tunes to listen to, albeit many years after their release.
The band is what makes Whitesnake roll so good during this period. Neil Murray on bass and Ian Paice on drums lay a solid groove and foundation. Jon Lord on keys is a bit more in the background, compared to his Deep Purple output, however he does offer some cool keys on “Aint Gonna Cry No More”. Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden on guitars are really unsung heroes and veterans of the stage by 1980, while David Coverdale brings it all together with his voice. Plus he’s a pretty cool bluesy guitar player, something he doesn’t get enough recognition for.
The album leads with “Fool For Your Loving”. The track was originally written for BB King and it went on to become Whitesnake’s first hit. I was asked by a friend which version do I like better, the 1980’s version or the 1989 version. My answer is both. The original version has that bluesy feel which I dig, while the 89 version has the Steve Vai modern feel which I also dig. Both are different, but the essence of the song is still there.
“Sweet Talker” is a breather before the sleaze and roll of the title track. “Ready An ‘Willing” has one of those addictive foot stomping grooves that still works today. It’s a timeless song, in the same way “Fool For Your Loving” is. While “Carry Your Load” has this Beatle’s vibe that sounds fresh, it’s “Blindman” which is the piece’de’resistance on this album.
“Blindman” is one of my favourite Whitesnake songs. Yeah it might sound similar to “Soldier Of Fortune”, but hey, that’s music. My wish would be for “Blindman” to achieve the same love as other Whitesnake songs.
Like a Blindman
I can feel the heat of the sun
But like a Blindman
I don’t know where it’s coming from
“Aint Gonna Cry No More” is White Led Zep Styx Snake and I swear Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades built Damn Yankees on the backs of songs like these. Influences aside, it’s a track that’s good enough to stand on its own.
“Love Man” is a 12 bar blues dirge. “Black and Blue” is another 12 bar blues rock and roll drinking style of song. “She’s A Woman” is “Black and Blue” part 2. Personally, the last three songs are pure filler, but the first six are not.
Happy 37th Birthday.