REVIEW: Whitesnake – Come An’ Get It (Remastered with bonus tracks)

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WHITESNAKE FRONT

WHITESNAKE – Come An’ Get It (EMI 1981, 2007 remastered with bonus tracks)

Come An’ Get It is my favourite Whitesnake album.  Therefore it’s a bit of a surprise that I still haven’t reviewed it.  On the other hand it’s always nice to leave some goodies for later and cherish them, I suppose?

The first time I heard this album was in 1990.  I had ordered the cassette from Columbia House, and brought it with me on a trip to go visit my cousin and aunt in Calgary, Alberta.  I remember I brought two brand new (to me) albums with me from that Columbia House purchase; the other was School’s Out by Alice Cooper.  I ended up loving both, not a bad trip eh?  Driving through the mountains with “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights” by Whitesnake on the earphones was pretty fucking cool.

Come An’ Get It features this classic Whitesnake lineup, aside from David Coverdale himself:

  • Jon Lord – organ
  • Ian Paice – drums
  • Bernie Marsden – guitars
  • Mickey Moody – guitars
  • Neil Murray – bass

Basically, THE lineup of early ‘Snake.  In the liner notes, David says he finds this to be one of his most consistent efforts, and his favourite of the early band.

The incredible album kicks off with the flirtatious title track, Cov the Gov as cocky as ever, with this seasoned band behind him solidly grooving.  “If you want it, come an’ get it, I got something for you.”  And kids, I hate to break it to you, Coverdale’s “something” was not something innocent like candy or treats.

“Hot Stuff” is the second track, which changes up to a breakneck speed.  Lordy on the piano hammers away, keeping up with the furious pace of Paice and the 3 M’s – Moody, Marsden and Murray.  Another standout.

The single, “Don’t Break My Heart Again” is a bit more ominous, with Lord’s trademark Hammond organ carrying the song.  It’s a bit darker, a bit plaintive, David convincing us that he really is heartbroken, even though two songs ago he was begging some lovely lass to “Come An’ Get It”.  This is a standout song, with fantastically colourful solos and a memorable melody.  Shades of the Whitesnake to come.

The aforementioned blues, “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights” follows.  It’s this kind of song that David really sinks his teeth into.  Moody and Marsden throw in plenty of bluesy licks, Lord with his Hammond colouring the backdrop.  Once again, David will have you convinced that somehow, he really is lonely.  Lonely, even though the very next song talks about how much he loves “Wine, Women An’ Song”!

“Wine, Women An’ Song” is actually my favourite tune on the album.  Coverdale is as cheeky as ever:

“If I can make you smile, I will raise my glass,
But if you don’t like it, baby you can kiss my ass,
Yes indeed…
You can tell me it’s wrong, but I love wine women an’ song!”

This barroom piano bopper is irresistibly catchy.  I’ve always been a sucker for past piano tunes, that’s why I love Little Richard I guess!  David’s done a number of these over the years (“Bloody Mary”, “Bloody Luxury”) but this one is my favourite.  And that ended side 1.

WHITESNAKE INNER

Side 2 kicked off with one of David’s more philosophical songs, a style he also does well.  “Child of Babylon” starts slow and bluesy but soon becomes something a bit more menacing.  This is another triumph.  “Would I Lie To You” returns David to his cheekier side.  “Would I lie to you…just to get in your pants?  I think so,” winks Cov the Gov.  This is just a fun Whitesnake tune, catchy, danceable, tongues in cheeks (just not necessarily the cheeks of the tongue’s owner).

My least favourite song is the next one, the slightly funky “Girl”.  The liner notes compare it to Deep Purple; I don’t think so.  Yes, both bands forayed into funk.  I think Deep Purple did it better than this.  Much better is “Hit An’ Run”, which drives.  This song kicks.  David’s vocal is perfect, and there’s even a talk-box solo, and then a killer slide solo!  What more could you want?

The final song of the original album was “Till the Day I Die”, another one of David’s perfect philosophical album closers.  He seems to like to close his albums with tunes like this, or “Sailing Ships”, songs with some mood and thought to them.  “Till the Day I Die” is one of the best ever, a dramatic, sweeping number that goes from acoustic to epic in under five minutes.

Martin Birch produced Come An’ Get It, as he did many ‘Snake platters.  It has a workmanlike sound, powerful enough, sonically clear, with excellent performances.  Slide It In is more powerful in the long run, but this is a step on that road.

There are six bonus tracks to keep you satisfied after the main meal.  Think of this as dessert, as these are unfinished or rough mixes of album tracks.  There is nothing especially revelatory here, but as added value, it’s nice to have these bonus tracks.  There’s some unheard stuff here, such as Ian’s count-in to “Child of Babylon”, nothing mindblowing, just nice to have to fill out the CD.  Some alternate vocals, solos, and so on.

The liner notes by Geoff Barton are excellent, loads of photos, lots of text.  Coverdale shows up to offer his perspective, and illustrates a harmonious band firing on all cylinders.

Keep in mind that context is everything, especially when it comes to music.  I have powerful memories of this album.  For you, it might not be worth it, but for me:

5/5 stars

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19 comments

  1. I like these Whitesnake reviews. The first time I heard Snake was back in 81 at a friends place whose older brother was playing the Ain’t No Love live album and when I heard the first track Come On ,I was hooked,than Sweet Talker..than it was off to buy it!
    At the time Come and Get it was out so I bought that one as well and it’s pretty solid. Mike we both dig Wine ,Woman and Song the same,it is a classic indeed!
    Coverdale taped into a cool original band back than but you know by 84 once the American deal came knocking it was time to get some $ flowing so bye bye Moody,Galley hello Sykes .
    As usual,great review Mike..love this stuff…..

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    1. Thanks Deke! I have a whole bunch of Whitesnake coverage coming soon…I’ve been getting these remasters, as well as a bunch of the singles I’ve been missing. You can count on seeing some cool stuff in the coming months!

      Wine Women and Song is such a great tune, just FUN Whitesnake, which is what Deep Purple sometimes failed to be, post-Gillan. They sometimes failed to be just fun.

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  2. It’s crazy that in 6 yrs time from 81 that Whitesnake would be all over MTV/Muchmusic it’s like that Whitesnake became this huge corporate rock entity and moved on from the bluesy look and sound of earlier yrs.
    Having said that of course I was a first day buyer of the 87 album after I heard Still Of The Night.
    Hahahaha…but hey I was just turning 20 so I guess I was close to that target audience that ol Cov was wanting….
    And I followed..hahahahaha!
    But seriously I took to the fact that I got into them way before they cracked America so when they made it huge I was ok with it until Vai joined. Don’t get me wrong I love Vai with Roth but with Snake,not so much……

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    1. I had been a Vai fan from the DLR stuff, so I was really curious what Whitesnake would do with a shredder, and I think it was exactly what was expected at the time. I do like that album a lot, but it doesn’t sound like Whitesnake. It sounds like the Coverdale Vai Project.

      I had never heard of Whitesnake or David Coverdale before 1987. I know I had seen their videos, but I was really completely unaware of them. I didn’t know that Deep Purple ever had a singer that wasn’t Ian Gillan!

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  3. That’s awesome! I guess since I was somewhat familiar with a bit of the back catalogue I thought Slip…was a bit of a step backwards,I understand carrying on with the sound of the 87 record but I found Slip good with some filler,having said that the first time I heard Cheap an Nasty I was like this coulda been on the 87 album but by than the continuous band member changes etc were starting to grow old with me,I mean call it Coverdale/Vai like u said don’t call it a Whitesnake album when it clearly wasn’t kinda of….
    My 2 cents again….

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    1. Deke in a lot of respects, Slip of the Tongue was one of the last gasps of the shredder era — one of the last times a big band hired on a name shredder to impress the masses and sell records. And it works in many respects, as I know many Vai fans who were impressed by Slip of the Tongue as an apt sequel to what Vai had done with Roth.

      But then of course the shredder era died with the coming of grunge. Poison hired on Richie Kotzen in ’92 but I think that was less a shredder move than trying to soul-up the band.

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  4. Great review. I really like this album. There’s loads of classic Whitesnake on this album. I wouldn’t have given it full marks cause I think there’s some filler on there but it’s definitely a good 4/5 for me. Some of the tracks on this always seemed quite Zeppelin-y to me. Child of Babylon and Till the Day I Die would have been quite at home on Cov/Page I think! And the Would I Lie To You lyrics are just essential Coverdale! Hilarious.

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    1. Agreed – Child of Babylon and Til the Day I Die have that Coverdale Page serious vibe, like how they ended the album with Whisper a Prayer for the Dying.

      Damn…now I want to review THAT album!!

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  5. I’m glad it resonates so strongly with you. Those albums are important. Touchstones.

    Columbia House. That takes me waaaaay back. Part of me misses that whole thing.

    I tried hard to think of what we were rocking in the CD deck on our numerous trips through Banff and Jasper parks… The one time I could recall clearly, it was the Hives around Canmore and going into the park, and White Stripes by the time we got north to Jasper.

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    1. Nice!

      Columbia House was a great way for a kid like me, who had a very modest income, to acquire fresh music every month. They had a lot of catalogue items that the local stores didn’t stock. But if I wanted, say, Tesla’s first album, they had it.

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      1. Yeah man, we would buy up tapes to fulfill the contract, cancel membership, wait a couple of months, then re-enrol for 12 more free tapes! I ended up hearing a lot of music that I just wouldn’t have found anywhere near my small town.

        When it went to CDs, and BMG got in on the mix, we had those going too.

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  6. HMO for sure olCov was hiliarious with the lyrics. I just finished reading a book called No Sleep Til Sudbury written by Brent Jensen,in it he describes what it was like growing up in the 80s in Sudbury and he critiques a lot of artists that meant lots to him growing up,it’s a great read and I would highly recommend it as you could be a hard rocker living anywhere and relate to it.
    The reason I bring this up is Jensen tells of the time how he and his buddy’s would do shots listening to Slide It in every time Coverdale mentioned love,he said usually they were to wasted to get up and turn there cassette over to side 2.
    Good stuff….u would enjoy it as would anybody reading Mikes reviews and no I’m not related to Jensen..hahahahaha…

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  7. Those Whitesnake reviews are absolutely great Michael, I don’t own much Whitesnake but I really like them and your descriptions are always spot on and you do a great job of setting us up for the review and giving the details, being specific. You have me thinking I need more early Whitesnake!

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    1. Hey everybody make sure you click Tommy’s picture there and check out his entertainment blog! It’s great.

      And yes, you do need more early Whitesnake! Now that I have it all, I’ll cover the rest of it.

      Like

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