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Snakecharmer: Snakecharmer

For many reading this, Whitesnake really began and ended with the bombast and bluster of the like of "Still Of The Night", "The Deeper The Love" and "Is This Love". However for us Brits the story of Coverdale and the boys started way before that, taking in a sound grounded in British heavy rock and blues, with classics among many such as "Here I Go Again", "Crying In the Rain" (both of which would be re-imagined by the US friendly versions of the band) and "Don't Break My Heart Again" having a gritty charm seldom matched since. There's no denying that the latter day peroxide infused, hip thrustin', trouser bustin' incarnation hit pay dirt big style, but musically they came nowhere close to matching the bluesin', groovin' line-up that featured guitarists Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden alongside bassist Neil Murray. Over the years those three musicians have come together in a variety of acts (Company Of Snakes and M3) to celebrate their Whitesnake heritage, and while Marsden has opted out this time, Snakecharmer is the latest. Joining Moody and Murray are musicians of a stunningly high calibre, with Thunder/Magnum drummer Harry James manning the kit, Sabbath/Ozzy/[Headspace] keyboard player Adam Wakeman tinkling the ivories and one-time Wishbone Ash man Laurie Wisefield adding second guitar. Live this line-up have been hammering out Whitesnake classics for quite some time now, with the wonderful rich Paul Rodgers like vocals of Chris Ousey (Heartland) filling the David Coverdale spot with aplomb. However for their first album release this sextet have served up a set of songs that stays true to the bustlin', hustlin' blues-heavy rock that made Whitesnake so irresistible in the first place. Thankfully however it isn't a tired retread of past glories - far from it actually - with the self titled Snakecharmer being an authentic hark back to the seventies rock that many of us fell in love with all those years ago.

On paper the melodic rock friendly tones of Ousey may not have been the most obvious choice to front this band, but boy does he hit the spot, even if he does sound uncomfortably close to Tina Turner at times. Good though he is (and he really is) Ousey isn't the main attraction, with his voice merely being the garnish on the tasty treats served up by Moody, Murray, Wisefield, Wakeman and James. In fact this album becomes proof that when it comes to this style of music no one does it better than the double M's. Every one of the eleven songs throbs with smokey, seductive intent, hitting a groove that proves simply too insistent to resist, leaving even a leaden footed lump like myself gyrating and swaying along to every beat. "To The Rescue" pounds with a classy sheen, "Guilty As Charged" has a knowing authority so few bands truly achieve, while "Cover Me in You" is one of those cowbell clonking guitar stomping tracks that every record collection should contain. However whether it is these three tracks you pull out, or the Skynyrd like thump and twang of "A Little Rock And Roll", the Foreigner rock 'n' shuffle of "Stand Up", the melodically infused "My Angel" or the keyboard led, yet guitar solo uplifted "Smoking Gun", Snakecharmer never even come close to putting a foot wrong.

It is great to hear Moody and Murray back together once more and while I'm sure they must absolutely nail the classic Whitesnake tracks live (Scottish dates please lads!), with their debut offering they've left no doubt that Snakecharmer are so much more than that. All those who still mourn the late in the day transformation Coverdale took his band through, or who hanker after some quality new songs from the likes of Bad Company need look no further than this very album for satisfaction!

Track Listing
1. A Little Rock and Roll
2. Accident Prone
3. Cover Me In You
4. Falling Leaves
5. Guilty As Charged
6. My Angel
7. Nothing To Lose
8. Smoking Gun
9. Stand Up
10. To The Rescue
11. Turn Of The Screw

Added: February 2nd 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Snakecharmer Online
Hits: 2255
Language: english

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Snakecharmer: Snakecharmer
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-02-02 07:18:48
My Score:

When the rumblings surfaced a few short years ago that ex-Whitesnake members Mickey Moody & Neal Murray were once again putting together a new band to pay homage to their past glories in Whitesnake, fans of the first wave of the band were no doubt pretty excited. Add in vocalist Chris Ousey, former Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield, Thunder/Magnum drummer Harry James, and the much travelled keyboard player Adam Wakeman, and you have the makings of the band now calling themselves Snakecharmer. Their self-titled debut for Frontiers Records is a bluesy hard rocking affair as one would certainly imagine combining the swagger and bluster of early Whitesnake, Free, Bad Company, and Foreigner. Ousey was a pretty good choice to front this combo, as his sultry vocals fit right in over the tasty guitar riffs and Hammond organ on songs like "Accident Prone" and "Cover Me in You". As for the two guitar aces, Moody and Wisefield trade some scorching wah-wah & slide licks on "Guilty as Charged", one of the heavier numbers here, all the while Wakeman rages it up on the Hammond. "Nothing to Lose" has that raunchy groove and swagger of the early Whitesnake material (the only thing that's really missing is Mr. Coverdale) and "Smoking Gun" sounds like early '90s Bad Company, complete with a strong vocal from Ousey. "Stand Up" is a fun tune, reminding me of Foreigner, as well as early '80s Rainbow & Uriah Heep.

Pretty strong stuff all around, and though at times the band seems like they are playing things a tad safe and not straying too far from a set formula (I would have liked to have heard a few extended guitar jams in spots), this is still enjoyable bluesy hard rock from a group of veterans who still know how to get the job done. Hopefully this isn't just a one-off project and the band plans to continue on with this for years to come.

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