ufoHe’s back – albeit a little later than advertised – but Self Made Man needed extra time to compile this week’s classic rock-themed musings owing to the late arrival of his new favourite record.

Now he’s had time to fully appreciate Whitesnake offshoot Snakecharmer it’s time to read the verdict…

…and remember Self Made Man writes exclusively for RUSHONROCK every week! 

Ask any rock fan under 40 to nominate their favourite Whitesnake album and they’ll almost certainly choose 1987.

On the other hand, those of us over 40 would go for Ready An’ Willing, Come An’ Get It, Lovehunter or even Saints & Sinners.

David Coverdale would no doubt opt for the former. After all, 1987 was the album which broke the United States of America, sold by the bucketload, earned him a fortune and turned him into a megastar.

It was also an album which marked not so much the end of the beginning but a break from the past.

Coverdale made his name with Deep Purple and after two hugely underrated solo albums, he formed Whitesnake, whose nucleus consisted of Bernie Marsden and Mick Moody on guitar, the late, great  Jon Lord on keyboard, Neil Murray on bass and another former Deep Purple pal Ian Paice behind the drums.

Singles such as Fool For Your Loving, the title track from Ready An’Willing, Here I Go Again and Don’t Break My Heart again all broke into the UK’s top 20.

Whitesnake seemed to tick all the boxes. They were loved by rock audiences yet managed to transcend the genre by appealing to a mass audience too. No mean feat.

Coverdale, however, was looking for something else and to his credit, he found it, making wholesale changes to the line-up, sharpening his own and his colleagues’ image and ultimately becoming one of the biggest bands of the hair metal era.

Even those of us who were there at the beginning couldn’t fail to be impressed with 1987, the quality of its tracks, the finely-honed musicianship and a production which captured its time.

For the past 25 years, 1987 has been the template for all subsequent works despite a never-ending array of line-up changes.

In concert too, Coverdale remains the frontman of 1987 vintage rather than 1978. Metal has taken over from blues rock, the shriek (albeit a deteriorating one) has replaced melliflous tone.

However, while some of us have loyally stuck with modern-day Whitesnake, it’s with less affection than when we first got to know the band.

Check out two live albums released 25 years apart. Live..In The Heart of the City smoulders while Live…In the Shadow of the Blues (2006) explodes and the after-shock isn’t particularly appealing.

Thousands of fans would love the original Whitesnake line-up to reform (sadly, without Lord) and for Coverdale to go back to the future but it ain’t going to happen.

Instead, we have the next best thing. Moody and Murray have linked up with some hugely talented musicians to form Snakecharmer and release an album of the same name.

It’s the sound of what Whitesnake might have sounded like had they evolved rather than revolved in the mid-80s.

Snakecharmer may prove a one-off album and will sell but a fraction of those late 70s releases, never mind the platinum-selling 1987.

But for those who, like me, prefer early Whitesnake material, it’s an album definitely worth buying.

Ian Murtagh