Thursday, 18 March 2010

Bernie Marsden - Look At Me Now 1981 (2000 Remastered Expanded Edition)

Genre: Rock
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1981
Label: Purple Records

01. Look At me Now
02. So far Away
03. Who's Fooling Who
04. Shakey Ground
05. Behind your Dark Eyes
06. Bylbos Shack Pt 1 & 2
07. Thunder & Lightning
08. Can You Do It ? (Rock City Blues)
09. After All the Madness

10. Always Love You So (b-side)
11. Look At Me Now (live)
12. Bylbos Shack (live)

John Cook - Synthesizer
Jon Lord - Keyboards
Bernie Marsden - Guitar, Vocals
Neil Murray - Bass
Ian Paice, Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell - Drums
Michael Schenker - Handclaps
Doreen Chanter, Irene Chanter - Vocals

Bernie Marsden's second solo album, recorded during his time as Whitesnake's lead guitarist leans towards the more melodic side of rock. The albums, which feature bonus material, include an array of special guests including Jon Lord, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, Ian Paice, Simon Phillips and others.

By 1981 three quarters of Whitesnake's material was emanating from guitarist Bernie Marsden, and in the same year he finally managed to find time to record a second solo album. The first, 'And About Time Too' had been a Japan only release. It's success in the UK import charts (which it topped for some weeks) lead EMI to ask for a follow up.
Aside from Bernie on guitar and vocals, fellow 'snakes Ian Paice, Neil Murray and Jon Lord were the backbone of the band for the sessions, with Simon Phillips depping as the second drummer. (Bernie also persuaded Micheal Schenker to come in and supply hand-claps to the end of one song!) When it came time for EMI to issue the two Marsden albums in the UK, they asked Bernie which label he'd like it to be on. As a record fan, Bernie immediately said "Parlophone", thinking they'd never agree to it. He was overjoyed when they resurrected the label, complete with the original label design.
There were plans for some live shows but Whitesnake were so busy these couldn't be sorted out. Bernie did manage to get the musicians together again in August 1981 for a radio session, which remains the only contemporary live outing for any of this material. Performing four songs from the album, the session was made even more interesting when David Coverdale turned up to sing one song. Two songs from this session have been added to each Purple Records CD reissue. The pressure was beginning to tell in Whitesnake and half way through the next LP their manager persuaded David that it was the band who were the problem and ended up firing them.
These days Bernie is busier than ever, working with Micky Moody in M3, who aim to get nearer to the spirit of Whitesnake than any of Coverdale's subsequent efforts have ever managed! In June 2000 Bernie even managed to reform Whitesnake (minus Coverdale) for a one-off show at Abbey Road for a rousing set of Bernie's songs such as 'Fool For Your Loving' and 'Don't Break My Heart Again'. - Purple Records

Blues rock guitarist Bernie Marsden's hot licks helped launch the career of Whitesnake, as he played on the group's first eight releases, and lent a major hand in composing some of the band's most renowned songs. Initially inspired to play the guitar as a teenager due to such authentic blues players as Howling Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, Marsden later picked up on such '60s white blues players as Peter Green, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. The early '70s saw Marsden briefly join several renowned groups - Juicy Lucy and UFO - but each time, the guitarist exited before a full-length album could be completed (Marsden was also a member of a group that drummer Cozy Powell attempted to put together, Hammer, before quickly disbanding). The mid '70s saw Marsden join British prog rockers Babe Ruth for a pair of releases, 1975's Stealin' Home and 1976's Kid's Stuff, before the group broke up, as well. Marsden then supposedly turned down an offer to play with Paul McCartney, and eventually joined up with former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale in Whitesnake.
Early on, Whitesnake pursued a much more bluesy and hard rock-based sound than their latter-day (and much more successful) pop-metal direction, as Marsden played on such albums as 1978's Snakebite and Trouble, 1979's Love Hunter and Live at Hammersmith, 1980's Ready An' Willing, 1981's Live in the Heart of the City, 1982's Come and Get It, and 1983's Saints and Sinners. Although the group achieved substantial success throughout Europe, Coverdale wanted to pursue a more mainstream soundto crack the lucrative U.S. market, which led to Marsden's exit soonafter. Subsequently, a pair of Marsden-Coverdale compositions would be dusted off and re-recorded by Whitesnake in the late '80s ("Here I Go Again" and "Fool for Your Loving"), both of which became sizeable worldwide hits.
It was during his tenure with Whitesnake that Marsden also managed to find the time to issue a pair of solo albums, 1979's And about Time, Too! and 1981's Look at Me Now. But instead of pursuing a solo career full-time after his dismissal from Whitesnake, Marsden opted to form a new band, Alaska, who only managed two releases, 1984's Heart of the Storm and 1985's The Pack, before breaking up. After laying low for the remainder of the '80s, Marsden resurfaced in the '90s, guesting on recordings by such artists as Forcefield and Walter Trout, and forming a new group along with his ex-Whitesnake bandmate, guitarist Mick Moody, called the Moody Marsden Band. The band usually relied on playing classic Whitesnake tunes live, and issued such recordings as 1992's Never turn your Back on the Blues, 1994's Live in Hell: Unplugged and Real Faith, plus 2000's The Nights the Guitars Came to Play and Ozone Friendly (the latter of which was a reissue of Real Faith, albeit with a slightly different tracklisting). The early 21st century saw the duo joined by another former Whitesnake bandmate, bassist Neil Murray, which resulted in the formation of a new group, Company of Snakes (with a pair of releases soon following - 2001's Here They Go Again: Live and 2002's Burst the Bubble).
Marsden has also sporadically issued further solo recordings, including 1992's The Friday Rock Show Sessions and the 1995 Peter Green tribute, Green and Blues. In addition to his music career, Marsden has also tried his hand at acting (the German TV movie, Frankie), and has provided soundtracks for several movie projects in both Germany and the U.S., plus serving as the art director, producer, and author of the three part TV series, The Delta Blues 1926 - Urban Blues 1960. -

Bernie Marsden recorded two solo albums while a member of Whitesnake... Bernie Marsden has just seen his first solo album finished and is beginning to wonder if it will ever see the light of day; now read on... As the seventies drew to a close, Whitesnake continued to keep everyone concerned extremely busy but Bernie did manage to find a few other projects to keep him occupied. Just prior to recording his first solo LP "And About Time Too" he'd helped his old mate Cozy Powell out on his solo album "Over The Top", contributing a track called "El Cid" (which featured Bernie, Cozy, ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce and Rainbow's keyboard player to be Don Airey). There was another session towards the end of that year, a strange cover of "We Wish You Well" done by a vocal group called Company who were managed from the same building as Bernie. Not strictly relevant to this CD I know but it's one which has puzzled fans over the years. "They were two boys, two girls - a bit like Bucks Fizz - they asked me to produce it. It was done very quickly, I said what to you want to do and they said 'we want to record 'We Wish You Well', we think it's great'. It's me, Jon (Lord) and Neil(Murray) on it - I can't remember who did the drums, it wasn't Ian - and Coverdale hated it. It's a curio. Lulu's sister joined them later!"
1980 finally saw "And About Time Too" issued in Japan. The label there Trio also issued two album tracks as a now rare picture sleeve single ("Sad Clown'V'You & Me"). With Whitesnake's last studio album "Lovehunter" (which, apart from the cover, was a great improvement over the previous offering) doing well and an old live album also in the stores, it was well timed. It was just a shame that nobody picked up on the album back in Europe.
Whitesnake then came up with "Ready An' Willing", perhaps their strongest album of the Marsden era. The band's new single "Fool For Your Loving" grabbed the charts by the throat and firmly established them right across Europe. Whitesnake were now an established touring act and the twin-guitar approach of Moody and Marsden became one of their focal points, especially on the instrumental "Belgian Tom's Hat-trick". In addition around three quarters of the band's material was emanating from Bernie, so his importance to the band's success was fairly fundamental. The lengthy tours meant less time was available for studio work however and their next LP "Come & Get It" took three sessions to knock into shape, the last being in early '81. The lack of time showed on the final product but luckily they'd come up with another killer single in "Don't Break My Heart Again" and this kept the momentum going.Between March 20th and April 14th '81, with the Whitesnake set out of the way, Bernie finally managed to find the time to record his second studio album down at Britannia Row in London.
This time theidea came from EMI in the UK who were getting cheesaed off at the number of imports of Bernie's previous LP which were turning up in Britain. Indeed it topped the import charts for a number of weeks, being handled by good old Flyover Records in Hammersmith, who specialised in Japanese albums and pic sleeve singles for a number of years (they cleaned up too but they'd probably be able to buy Japan for what their stock would be worth today on the collectors market).
"Hugh Stanley Clark at EMI came to me and said 'you should do another album and if you do, we'll pick up the UK rights to the first one'. " Bernie had a brief period during which time he was able to finish writing the new material. The recording was interrupted by a couple of Whitesnake video shoots but otherwise went well. "All the stuff was written and ready to roll. I stayed there for three weeks then gave the tapes to Guy and said 'Mix it' I never saw a copy until it came out - as you can see!" By this Bernie means the dodgy illustration which served as the cover. While not iffy in the same way as some Whitesnake sleeves, the bizarre oil painting of a space bound headless guitarist baffled Bernie as much as it did buyers (hence the decision not to go with it on this reissue, though for collectors we've stuck it on the back of the CD booklet).
The guest list this time round was perhaps not quite so awesome, though Bernie did persuade Micheal Schenker to come in and supply some hand-claps to the end of one song!
Otherwise it was a case of "I've written a load of stuff lads, do you want to come and play on it?" Ian Paice, Neil Murray and Jon Lord did most of the honours, with Simon Phillips depping as the second drummer. Oh and "guitar synthesizer programmed by Neil Murray - because I couldn't be bothered! Looking back at it, some of those songs should have been Whitesnake songs - "Look At Me Now" would've sold truck loads, it's a good tune. "
The eagle eyed owners of the original LP may be able to spot a much heavier typeface for a track called "Shakey Ground" on the inner bag and there's a reason for that. Originally the song "Always Love You So" was in its place, as Bernie explains: ""Always Love You So" was very very wimpish. It was almost a sixties pastiche and EMI said 'er sorry Bernie but we really don't think it'll be good for your image' and I agreed with them and said 'what do you want me to do'?" They offered to pay for another track which was "Shakey Ground", because with Cozy Powell at the helm what else could they call it? "I'm glad now because it's a good track and it got a lot of airplay too. " The missing track later appeared as a b-side in the UK and for completeness sake is included on this CD...
There were plans for some live shows to promote the UK releases but Whitesnake were so busy at this time that these couldn't be sorted out. Indeed the day after the album was finished, Bernie rejoined Whitesnake for the start of a lengthy German tour. "The offers were there but by the time I got back I didn't feel like doing anything. " Bernie did manage to get the musicians together in August '81 for a radio session however, which remains the only contemporary live outing for any of this material. Performing four songs from the album, the session was made even more interesting when Coverdale turned up to sing one song. "When he heard that particular number he said 7 should've sung that on the album' and I said 'well you didn't come did you?!" This session has been added to the CD with Bernie's permission, with two tracks on each volume to even up the running times...
As noted, after all this it was off on the road once more, but by now the pressure was beginning to tell in Whitesnake and relations on the road became strained at times. Towards the end of the year Jon Lord took his turn in the studio for a solo set, "Before I Forget", which was taped in September Bernie played on many of the tracks and Guy Bidmead who had produced Bernie's second album was again at the helm. Guy then went on to produce the next Whitesnake studio album, work on which began in early October. Bernie also sneaked off to play on one track from Cozy Powell's new solo LP "Tilt".
The Whitesnake sessions themselves proved a problem. The root cause behind a lot of the discontent at this time was the band's belief that someone somewhere was earning a lot of money from Whitesnake but it sure as hell wasn't them.
Thus they set about what became the "Saints & Sinners" album in October 1981 with something less than unbridled enthusiasm. "We were in Britannia Row and Jon was supposed to come in and do some solo but phoned to say he couldn't get a baby sitter or something and I just threw my hands up and said 'this is crazy'. Coverdale was looking more and more... and I just said 'we might as well knock this on the head' and he looked at me and said 'are you thinking this as well?' I said I'd been thinking this for weeks. We're one of the biggest bands in the country, in Europe, yet none of us has got any money."
The band members got together and decided to tell their manager his services were no longer required. They'd finish the LP, take a well earned break and start afresh.
It didn't work out like that. Instead their manager persuaded David that it was the band who were the problem and ended up firing them. It was presented to the public as a period of "taking stock of the situation". While some of the band were rehired
- Lord and Moody
- the others were replaced with by new members. Cozy came in on drums, Colin Hodgkinson on bass and Mel Galley stepping into Bernie Marsden's shoes.
As a cushion, Bernie was offered a new deal which in the shock of the collapse of Whitesnake he took. By August '82 his group SOS were up and gigging with Richard Bailey handling keyboards and Rob Hawthorne on vocals, though Bernie told "Sounds" that he wouldn't be touring too extensively until after the World Cup was over! In retrospect Bernie has less than fond memories of the band who played only a handful of shows and the '82 Reading festival before fading from the scene, leaving just one track titled "SOS" on a live Reading compilation album.
Whitesnake's subsequent career became ever more convoluted as Coverdale searched for a line-up which suited him. The "Saints & Sinners" album which had been so rudely interrupted didn't finally appear until September 1982 but although Bernie had been long-gone, his guitar work graced several tracks, while two songs he co-wrote with David also turned up on the LP. Eventually Coverdale dropped everyone in exchange for a total makeover - going for the glam look and finally taking America by storm, which is probably what he'd wanted all along. Bernie must have been pleased to find them re-recording several of the old songs which he'd co-written including "Here I Go Again" and which went on to sell millions.
Bernie resurfaced in early 1984 with a new band (though with the vocalist and keyboard player from SOS) called ALASKA, and pursued Bernie's bluesy AOR direction with a vengeance. A lot of preparation had obviously gone into the band who issued two albums, "Heart Of The Storm" and "The Pack" (with Don Airey replacing Bailey on keyboards for the latter -Bailey taking the Whitesnake shilling, though he had to play hidden behind curtains during his stay with them!). In June '85 Alaska found themselves part of the Knebworth festival bill, which climaxed in the oft-talked of return of Deep Purple to the UK stage. "/ rang Ian and Jon up and asked them if we could play and they said leave it to us. " In fact the band's music was probably more suited for the American market but without a deal there it was an impossible task.
"It's all their fault!" Is Bernie's comment today, referring to the classic Whitesnake line-up.
"Once you've worked with players of that class it's hard to adapt to anything else. "...
...Come the nineties, he and Micky also began gigging occasionally with an outfit they called
Company Of Snakes, which, with a singer from one of the later Bad Company line-ups, went out playing both Whitesnake and Bad Co. material when the Moody/Marsden Band weren't busy.
Come the new millennium, this extra curricular activity paid off when Whitesnake's classic line-up (with Murray, Lord, Paice and Moody but minus David) reformed as part of a special evening at Abbey Road in honour of Tony Ashton. "I shouldn't have done it," mused Bernie afterwards. "It took me nearly twenty years to get over playing with those guys last time!"

Taken from CD Notes

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