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Whitesnake - 1979 Love Hunter

ARTIST: Whitesnake
ALBUM: Love Hunter
LABEL: Sunburst/United Artists
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2006, EMI, 359 6862 (bonus tracks, remastered), many other reissues


LINEUP: David Coverdale - vocals * Micky Moody - guitar * Bernie Marsden - guitar * Neil Murray - bass * David Dowle - drums * Jon Lord - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Long Way From Home * 02 Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues * 03 Help Me Thro' The Day * 04 Medicine Man * 05 You N Me * 06 Mean Business * 07 Love Hunter * 08 Outlaw * 09 Rock N Roll Women * 10 We Wish You Well


Given the battering Whitesnake have taken here as of late it's worth remembering what a fine band they once were, especially in their formative years in the late 70's. Their 1978 début 'Trouble' had its moments, but was definitely far from Coverdale's best work with Deep Purple. It was far better than his two solo albums 'White Snake' and Northwinds' both of which were remarkably bland. Coverdale sensibly toughened his act up and reverted to his hard rock past and the results of 'Love Hunter' were on par with Purple at certain moments. In an attempt to reunite Purple, Coverdale removed David 'Duck' Dowle from the band after finishing recording and implemented Ian Paice on drums. Regardless 'Love Hunter' is the best of the bands albums in my opinion, before their much lamented AOR turn some eight years later. Sadly it seems the album is best remembered for the artwork these days, which can be viewed above. I'm not sure anyone would give it a second glance in this day and age!

The Songs
There's an element of AOR to 'Long Way From Home' and it's not exactly a storming opener, with touches of the much vaunted 'blues' element this lineup seemed to excel in. This notion is strengthened by 'Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues' where Coverdale sings about being the black sheep of the family and having a shady reputation. A great song with Lord adding some deft touches on organ and Coverdale belting out the vocals, back to his Purple form. The guitar work just emphasizes how much Moody and Marsden are still missed. The Leon Russell penned 'Help Me Thro' The Day' is another blues workout, not quite catching the ear like the harder rock of 'Medicine Man'. Coverdale keeps the flow going with the straight rock and roll of 'You 'N' Me' with helpings of slide guitar and attitude that could be off a Rod Stewart album. 'Mean Business' is the bands heaviest track up until that point, with riffs on the metal side and a special Lord organ solo. This would've been a classic Purple track and it's sad so much quality music went by the wayside under different guises (Whitesnake, Rainbow, Gillan etc). The momentum never wavers, with the title track throwing up more brazen melodies and riffs, Coverdale rattling off the macho lyrics at will, this time about his days as a back door man and the like. There's nothing Adrian Vandenberg, John Sykes or Doug Aldrich could ever do to beat the guitar work here. Marsden takes vocals for the impressive 'Outlaw' where again the melody and guitar work is at an all-time high for the band. This is as English as it gets, making their later loss of identity so tragic. Adding to this frenetic list of rock anthems is 'Rock 'n' Roll Women' which doesn't leave much to guess in the way of subject matter or musical style. The short finale 'We Wish You Well' is sombre by comparison, with some tasty guitar licks which verge on AOR.

In Summary
While the whole band stars here, Coverdale is the true hero, with a display that rates with the likes of Bon Scott in the unbridled hard rock legend stakes. This is easily when the band became a force to be reckoned with, with the most consistent album of their career. Some might point to 'Ready 'An Willing' or 'Come 'An Get It', but this takes pole position for me, although 'Saints And Sinners' is well up there. This is how I choose to remember Whitesnake, as I'm sure many others do also.

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#1 | gdazegod on July 03 2013 03:11:51
Agreed Alun, this period of Whitesnake prior to 1987 was far more interesting to me personally. I don't begrudge Coverdale his move into the MTV styled circus, but the true essence of Whitesnake was lost when it happened.
#2 | reyno-roxx on July 03 2013 21:21:44
Agreed there George!
#3 | rkbluez on July 03 2013 21:27:21
I agree also...loved Whitesnake of this era from Snakebite to Saints and Sinners...I like the new stuff to with John Sykes and Doug Aldrich but to me anyways the songs don't stick in your head or memory like this old stuff...this stuff had more of a bluesy hard rock groove...also loved the production on these older albums...Martin Birch does a great job.
#4 | Eric on July 03 2013 22:35:31
The art work might not be a big deal now but it sure was back then.
#5 | gdazegod on July 04 2013 00:56:45
It looks like something from an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel!
#6 | jeffrey343 on January 10 2016 04:56:55
I remember seeing this album in the import record store in my small-ish hometown in probably 1985. Until that time, I didn't realized Whitesnake had been around before 'Slide It In'. The album cover was still risque in 1985.

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