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Whitesnake - Ready An' Willing

One of our favorite albums of the "Whitesnake" classic era, the band's third studio album - "Ready an 'Willing", was released on May 31, 1980.

This album marks the addition of drummer Ian Paice to the band, who along with keyboardist Jon Lord and singer David Coverdale, complete 3/5 of the MKIII lineup of the mother band "Deep Purple". What an amazing lineup this is with duo Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden on guitars and Neil Murray on bass. A formidable album produced by hard rock & metal ultra producer Martin Birch. The band's breakthrough album that guaranteed them success outside of England as well.

Legend has it that Ian Paice came to "Whitesnake's" show in 1979 drunk and declared that "Whitesnake" sounds better than "Deep Purple" has ever sounded. That statement was exactly what Coverdale wanted to hear. He was unhappy with Duck Dowle's performance on the drums and immediately made sure to replace him with his longtime "purple" friend.

With "Whitesnake" becoming "Deep Purple's" mini-band, the initial expectation was that the album's musical direction would be more like the mother band. But instead of continuing the musical line that characterized Deep Purple and developing it towards heavy metal, as quite a few bands did at the time, Coverdale chose to dive deeper into the musical style of his solo career, producing a classic blues-rock album.

(Photo: Fin Costello)

It is interesting to note that in the same year that the album was released the new wave of British heavy metal was soaring high. Bands such as "Judas Priest", "Iron Maiden", "Saxon", "Def Leppard", and others released albums that were light years away from the style Coverdale chose to lead "Whitesnake" in.

Despite that, this album is excellent and includes quite a few "pearls" and excellent songs that survived well in the test of time and the most prominent of them:

"Fool For Your Loving" - The song that opens up the album, was originally written by Coverdale, Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody for B.B. King, but eventually stayed in "Whitesnake's" hands after Coverdale realized he must not give up on such a song. Coverdale's theory turned out to be correct after this song became the band's first hit, on both sides of the ocean. There is no doubt that the "Ready an 'Willing" version of the song is dozens of times superior to the "Hair Metal" version of the song, as released on the 1989 album "Slip Of The Tongue".

The theme song "Ready an 'Willing" which is also the second single released from the album, features a catchy bluesy riff that allows Coverdale to improvise around it and showcase his vocal abilities.

The track that seals the first side of the vinyl - "Blindman" is also the best song on the album and one of Whitesnake's greatest of all time. A melting and melancholy blues-rock ballad that demonstrates the incredible abilities and voice of Coverdale, who undoubtedly sounds better here than any other song in his rich repertoire. The song was first released in 1977 as part of Coverdale's first solo album called "White Snake", and again, without a doubt, the "Ready an 'Willing" version is much better.

The opening track on the flip side of the vinyl, "Ain't Gonna Cry No More" is a dynamic song that opens soft and quiet with Moody's 12-string guitar, sounds on the verge of country music, and later includes an amazing slide-guitar solo.

Other songs worth mentioning:

"Sweet Talker", a bouncy and cool Cow Bell song that includes a virtuoso organ solo by Jon Lord, and the track "Carry Your Load" that sometimes sounds like "Bad Company", the traditional and mesmerizing blues of "Love Man" and the dynamic "She's A Woman" which probably includes The best solo by Jon Lord on the album.

Although the sales figures for this album may say otherwise, "Ready an 'Willing" brings us "Whitesnake" at its best. After seven years and four albums, the band may reach its peak of popularity, but this success will undoubtedly come at the expense of losing its identity and uniqueness along the way.

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