If you’ve read my review for Whitesnake’s Slip of the Tongue (1989) album, you’d know that I wasn’t pleased with the album. I gave it a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. I thought I was done with Whitesnake for good, but then, I commented my dislike for the album on a Sea of Tranquility video titled, “Greatest Album Bombs- Part 1 (w/Martin Popoff),” which was posted in early September. Pete Pardo, the host of Sea of Tranquility responded to my comment and said that I should check out Slide It In (1984), Saints & Sinners (1982), Come an’ Get It (1981), Lovehunter (1979), and Ready an’ Willing (1980). Apparently, Whitesnake was more bluesy in the early days, that’s why.
I went with Ready an’ Willing because it has the original version of “Fool for Your Loving,” which is so much better than the 1989 version. The album sounded good on Spotify, so I purchased the album and it arrived on September 13, 2021. The line-up on Ready an’ Willing consists of David Coverdale on lead vocals, Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden on guitars, Neil Murray on bass, Ian Paice on drums, and Jon Lord on keyboards. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!
The album opens up with the original version of “Fool for Your Loving,” which is more bluesy and has a funk vibe to it. Coverdale’s vocals are laid-back, but I love that he’s not overdoing it. The hi-hat is busy, but I don’t mind it because it fits the song. Also, there’s a great guitar solo in there. The original “Fool for Your Loving” is perfect to play at a nighttime bar.
“Sweet Talker” isn’t really anything special. I have no idea how the guys came up with these wild lyrics, but it is what it is. “You got long legs, a black girl sway, / The way you shake your booty / Gives your schoolgirl game away, yes it does.” Other than the keyboard solo in the middle of the song, “Sweet Talker” sounds like any other rock song with a good beat to me.
The funk vibe returns for the title track and it’s a dang, catchy title track! There’s a thumping bass line and an emotive guitar solo. I also love those songs that you can bob your head to, “Ready an’ Willing” is one of them. The chorus for “Carry Your Load” sounds perfect for a country song. I don’t know, there’s just something about “long, winding roads” and “putting a little love in your heart” that gives me country vibes. The guitar solo for this song is really bluesy and overall, it’s a great ballad.
Going back to Coverdale’s laid-back vocals, I love how he can capture the emotion of “Blindman” and still deliver a brilliant vocal performance without going over-the-top. The lyrics are spiritual in a way, but not to the point where it’ll turn off listeners. “Ain’t Gonna Cry No More” starts off as an acoustic track, but then, the drums come in midway and save the tune. It’s not terrible, but the chorus doesn’t gravitate towards me.
“Love Man” has a great groove, a thumping bass line, and it’s a fun song. This is going to sound strange, but everytime I hear the lyrics, “I’m a hootchie cootchie man,” I think of kabocha pumpkin; the words sound so similar. “Black and Blue” sounds like a jam song! It’s like the guys got together and were messing around in the studio, and they recorded the track for fun. The keyboard player, Jon Lord, is the star of “Black and Blue.”
“She’s a Woman” is another fun track, it’s upbeat, and the lyrics are playful. The chorus is simple, but everyone has their chance to shine, including the bass and keyboard. Next up, we have the bonus material, which includes one unreleased track and four live tracks. “Love for Sale,” the previously unreleased track, sounds completely different from Bon Jovi’s “Love for Sale.” Whitesnake’s song has more drums and electric guitars, and the lyrics are better. I mean, this is so relatable: “I’ve known a lot of women in my time / And there was something I could never understand / Why a woman falls in love in the first place / And tries to change you to another kind of man.”
Then, we have the live tracks that were recorded at the Reading Festival in 1979. First live track is a cover of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.” I love Coverdale’s interaction with the crowd and how he’s like, “sing it beautiful!” He really knows how to connect with the audience.
The next live track is a cover of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” and dang, it’s so good! The guitar riff is so cool and there’s a talkbox segment in this version, holy cow! I’m not crazy about the song “Love Hunter” itself, but the band sounds good live and I dig the bass line. The final live track on the album is David Coverdale’s “Breakdown.” I’m not a fan of this song either, but I love the band’s energy and the guitars are on fire!
So, I enjoyed 13 out of the 14 tracks (“Sweet Talker” and “Ain’t Gonna Cry No More” got half points), which is about 93 percent. With that in mind, I’ll give Ready an’ Willing a rating of 4.65 out of 5 stars. Because of this album, I’ve gained a new appreciation for Whitesnake and I hope to get more of their earlier albums in the future. Of course, I’ll be buying them a slow pace.
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