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,
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.
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: