Review by Phil
Bernie Marsden, born in 1951, has been a major part of the UK rock and blues music scene until his untimely death in August this year. He may be best remembered for his time with David Coverdale’s Whitesnake, having co-written many of the group’s huge hits including ‘Fool for Your Loving’, ‘Walking in the Shadow of the Blues’ and ‘Here I Go Again’. His career though started in the late 60s
and his first professional work was with the fledgling UFO in 1972 and toured with them that year as well as recording a couple of demos.
He joined Cozy Powell’s Hammer and then Babe Ruth in ’75 and ex-Purples Paice Ashton Lord before joining Coverdale along with fellow guitarist Micky Moody and stayed for five studio albums and the live album ‘Live in the Heart of the City’.
After leaving Whitesnake he completed some solo work and released two albums with Alaska and hooked up again with Moody in 1989 to form the Moody Marsden Band releasing live acoustic and electric albums under that name before releasing a studio album Real Faith in ‘94. Following that he continued to gig and record Whitesnake material.
He has had an extensive solo career over the years, releasing countless albums, and more recently Kings, Chess and Trios across 2021/2022.
He continued to write and record and completed this album in August, and at the wish of his wife who believed he would have wanted it that way – the new album will be released on schedule on 24th November.
The album is all new Marsden material and starts with the first single release – ‘Being Famous’. A burble of Leslie’d Hammond introduces the gritty, rocky sound of Marsden’s guitar with a neat solo taking us into the first verse. The track as you may expect from the title is about his career, recording and touring while needing to keep your feet on the ground and has its roots in the early Whitesnake sound. His complaint that his hotel room is too plush, is unlikely to resonate with too many working musicians though! The chorus is catchy and the guitar solo fits perfectly, not too fast but with plenty of feeling. ‘Midtown’, co-written with Mick Lister is more laid back and AOR in nature with a heavier keyboard backing and good hooks in the chorus. ‘Longtime’ tells of meeting an old friend on the northern line and is more ballad-like with harmony vocals and haunting guitar work.
‘Invisible’ was co-written with Jaime Kyle (aka the Goddess of Rock) and she takes vocal duties for this track. The song trucks along nicely with gritty guitar harmonics, great lead work and a catchy chorus, this is a great collaboration and is sure to be a big single release.
‘Son I’ve Never Known’ is a more poppy and easy listening track before the instrumental ‘Steelhouse Mountain’ closes side one (if you’re listening to the vinyl version).
‘Working Man’ tells of the difficulties of an unemployed man struggling with recession and trying to look after his family and ‘Valentine’s Day has neat dual guitar work. ‘Savannah’ was co-written with Joe Bonamassa and the Americana influence is evident and there’s nice guitar and organ work backing the vocals.
Bad Reputation is a stomping rocker in the early Whitesnake vein with a great riff, good harmony vocals in the chorus and of course great guitar work in the solo. ‘You Know’ is more mellow before the album winds up with the instrumental ‘The Pearl’.
There’s much to enjoy here with echoes of early bluesy Whitesnake in some of the tracks and a mature style overall along with superb guitar work reminding us of what a great artist he was.
1. Being Famous
5. Son I’ve Never Known
6. Steelhouse Mountain
7. Working Man
8. Valentine’s Day
10. Bad Reputation
11. You Know
12. The Pearl
Vocals/Guitars: Bernie Marsden
Drums: Dino Stephenson, Mark Brzezicki, Micky Barker
Bass: Mark Maybury, John Gordon, Steve Brzezicki, Dave Harding
Keys: Bob Fridzema, Josh Phillips, Mark Maybury
Backing vocals: Caroline Hawkins, Alex McIlquham-Jones, Michael Bullard, Bernie Marsden
Violin: Tom Leary
Guest vocalist on ‘Invisible’: Jaime Kyle
Album design Cliff Evans
Photography Chris Griffiths