Ready an’ Willing studio album by Whitesnake
Released: 31 May 1980
Recorded: Ridge Farm, Central Recorders Studio and Sauna, December 1979, February 1980
Genre: Hard rock, blues rock
Singles from Ready an’ Willing
“”Fool for Your Loving”” Released: 1980
“”Ready an’ Willing”” Released: 1980
Ready an’ Willing was Whitesnake third studio album, released in 1980 and peaked at #6 on the UK Albums Chart, it was also the band first to chart outside of the UK reaching #32 in Norway and #90 in the US.
The album featured two of the band UK single-hits from that year: “”Fool for Your Loving”” had reached #13 in the charts in April 1980, and the title-track, “”Ready an’ Willing (Sweet Satisfaction)”” made #43 in July of the same year. In August 1980 “”Fool for Your Loving”” peaked at #53 on the Billboard Hot 100; the song would later be re-recorded for the Slip of the Tongue album. The track “”Blindman”” initially from Coverdale first solo album was re-recorded for this album.
Label: Fame – FA 41 3134 4, Fame – FA 4131344
Format: Cassette, Album
Style: Blues Rock, Hard Rock
1. “”Fool for Your Loving”” David Coverdale, Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden 4:17
2. “”Sweet Talker”” Coverdale, Marsden 3:38
3. “”Ready an’ Willing”” Coverdale, Moody, Neil Murray, Jon Lord, Ian Paice 3:44
4. “”Carry Your Load”” Coverdale 4:06
5. “”Blindman”” Coverdale 5:09
6. “”Ain’t Gonna Cry No More”” Coverdale, Moody 5:52
7. “”Love Man”” Coverdale 5:04
8. “”Black and Blue”” Coverdale, Moody 4:06
9. “”She a Woman”” Coverdale, Marsden 4:07
Distributed By – EMI Records Ltd.
Recorded At – Ridge Farm Studios
Recorded At – Central Recorders Studio And Sauna
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sunburst Records Ltd.
Producer, Engineer, Mixed By – Martin Birch*
Written-By – Coverdale*
Recorded at Ridge Farm and Central Recorders Studio & Sauna, Dec ’79 and Feb ’80.
Produced, engineered & mixed by Martin ‘Basher’ Birch for Sunburst Records and YOU!
(P) 1980 Original Sound Recordings Made By Sunburst Records,Inc.
It is a brilliant album full of blues – just oozing from every pore.
Fool For Your Loving”” starts things off on a high – it really is a wonderful song(!) – and things just shoot along nicely from there on in. Rockers such as “”Sweet Talker”” & “”Ready & Willing”” are offset with “”Blindman”” & “”Ain’t Gonna Cry . . .””.
Tongue in cheek(?) “”Love Man”” (Did Mr C. actually believe is own lyrics?) and the boogie fest – there was always one per album – of “”Black & Blue”” all combine to make one heck of a fine album. “”Carry Your Load”” & “”She A Woman”” round things off nicely. Proving once again that the ‘British’ version of the band were always the best. Not only that but this line-up, with Moody, Marsden, Lord, Paice & Murray were never to be topped.
Lord & Paice were to leave after this to re-join the re-formed Purple. This is a lasting testament to a great band on great great form on a great album.
Whitesnake is perhaps one of the most fascinating bands to look at from many different points of view. Even though the personal changes within the band’s line-up were more than frequent, the quality of the music was always maintained. Throughout the years, Whitesnake always remained the ensemble of musicians extraordinaire, led heavy-handedly by one of the most charismatic frontmen of the 20th century. Another eyebrow-raising factor is the sound-related shifts Whitesnake has gone through within a little less than four decades of its activity. Having flirted with what is infamously dubbed hair metal on 1987 and Slip Of The Tongue in the late ‘80s, the band is still mostly associated with this MTV-friendly incarnation of theirs. Their rough blues rock beginnings are thus often dismissed; as a careful close-up upon their early albums reveal – undeservedly so. One of these early Whitesnake albums somewhat dwarfed by the commercial success of their latter follow-ups is Ready An’ Willing, a number three in the band’s overall discography released in 1980.
Funnily enough, the Ready An’ Willing line-up was in half comprised of… the ex-Purple musicians: Coverdale, Jon Lord on keyboards and Ian Paice behind the drum kit. Together with ex-Colosseum II bassist Neil Murray and guitarists Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody – a duo perhaps not as spectacular as Vandenberg/Vai, but of an equal talent and genuine bluesy feeling – they formed a line-up of seasoned, renowned musicians. An effect of their collaboration was Whitesnake’s early, raw bluesy sound – perhaps even a bit unwonted in the days of NWOBHM and punk.
Ready An’ Willing starts with a track that’s iconic to Whitesnake’s entire repertoire. Although “Fool For Your Loving” is still widely connoted by an average listener with its updated 1989 version, there’s something unique to the original. The sound is obviously blues-infused and more raw – thus much more authentic than the re-recording laden with late ‘80s metal clichés and Vai-esque tricks. And there couldn’t have possibly been more genuine vocal performance of this particular song than of the angst-driven Coverdale back in 1980, as he belts out what is now a classic heartbreak song and what, at the time, must have been his own personal declaration of independence.
Even though the evolution of blues rock throughout the last decades has somewhat deprived it of its rootsy, raw vibe, it remains immortalized in pieces such as the track number two, “Sweet Talker” or the groovy titled track. The former gives exposure to some keyboard wizardry from Jon Lord himself as well as Micky Moody’s slide guitar. The latter, on the other hand, captures the flavor of catchiness that will resurface in Whitesnake’s sound especially from Slide It In onward. “Carry Your Load” slows down a bit gravitating towards more ballad-esque manner, featuring another excellent performance from Coverdale.
“Blindman” is clear proof that even within the early Whitesnake the politics of re-recording previously released songs was somewhat a norm, the fifth track from Ready An’ Willing being an updated version of a song from David Coverdale’s first solo album White Snake released in 1977. In comparison with the original, there’s a bit more richness to the instrumental parts in the 1980 re-recording, yet – what remains one constant is the emotional input, unique feeling and vocal expressiveness. While looking upon the early Whitesnake albums with a bit of time perspective, it is no wonder now why so many singers – coming from different musical backgrounds, from blues to metal – cite Coverdale as their primary influence quite unanimously.
From the acoustic-driven opening part to the fire of the guitar-laden final, “Ain’t Gonna Cry No More” is perhaps not the first track to reveal the excellence of an underrated Marsden/Moody duo, but one of the finest anyway. And although it’s a kind of secular tradition among the reviewers to somewhat dismiss the final three tracks on the album, there’s something exceptional about the sultry, slow groove of “Love Man” and the certain “live” vibe to the feisty, boogie-infused “Black And Blue” that still sounds as if it was recorded in a low-class joint somewhere down the Mississippi delta. Even more feisty is the final track “She’s A Woman,” its funk-ish dynamism even more emphasized by the rich input from Jon Lord as well as Ian Paice’s thunderous work behind the drum kit.
Apart from the basic track list comprised of nine songs, the 2006 remastered version of Ready An’ Willing featured also five bonus tracks. “Love For Sale” was the only studio track among them, a dynamic piece of groovy blues rock that fits the rest of the material like a proverbial glove. The rest of the additional material was assembled from the live recordings from Whitesnake’s performance at the Reading Rock Festival that took place in August 1979, the Coverdale-fronted band billed alongside the likes of Molly Hatchet, The Ramones and Peter Gabriel. The quality of the recordings was obviously improved digitally, but even if still slightly detached from the clean-cut bootlegs of the modern-day era, it’s thus even more authentic, a splendid testimony to Whitesnake’s Ready An’ Willing era line-up.
There’s surely something magnificent about the seven minutes of audience’s singing along to Price/Walsh-penned “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City”. But still, it pales in comparison with David Coverdale reaching back to his Purple days in almost fourteen minute-long rendition of “Mistreated”. Embroidered with rich instrumental duels within the rhythm section and equilibristic showcases of Marsden and Moody’s extraordinary guitar playing (a surprising improvisation part on talk-box included), and completed with Coverdale’s soaring voice, it’s simply stunning even after all those years. And with the music slowly fading out towards the end of “Mistreated,” the first verse of Deep Purple’s legendary ballad “Soldier Of Fortune” is to be interwoven into it by Coverdale, to the audience’s absolute swoon. The fiery rendition of “Lovehunter” (a title track off Whitesnake’s 1979 album), and heavily Purple-sque “Breakdown” (of the 1978 Snakebite EP) remain the rest of the additional tracks.
Thirty four years after its initial release, Ready An’ Willing definitely stands the test of time. Even though released on the threshold of the new decade, the album captures the rough, rich, blues-infused essence of the previous years rather than exploring new sounds and spheres. It reaches right back to the roots of rock, combining the bluesy ruggedness with fine melodies that herald the latter-day era of Whitesnake. Competent, solid musicianship adds much color to the album and so does David Coverdale in his best vocal shape, delivering a handful of genuine, emotionally-laden performances culminating in the album’s highlight “Blindman” that is a worthy successor of Purple’s “Soldier Of Fortune.” And even though Ready An’ Willing is not a groundbreaking album for Whitesnake (at least in a commercial sense) as well as for 1980, it surely remains one of the finest records released that year and an exceptional one within the history of music.
Genre: Blues Rock, Hard Rock
David Coverdale – vocals
Micky Moody – guitars
Bernie Marsden – guitars
Jon Lord – keyboards
Neil Murray – bass guitar
Ian Paice – drums
By the time they were back in the studio, drummer Duck Dowle was out and former David Coverdale and Jon Lord bandmate, Ian Paice, was in the band. That now made 1/2 of the band as former Deep Purple members. And if I am not mistaken, the press played that up which didn’t quite sit well with a couple of the band members.
The album cover for this one was a much more toned-down cover after the controversy the band received for the naked woman straddling a snake (side note: one of my favorites). This was a simple black & white drawing of the band with the Whitesnake logo. Nothing fancy and quite bland. Now, that wasn’t the only controversy the band had. Their lyrics were blasted as well for their whole “cock rock” style and womanizing. And I am not sure this album would not help them in that matter. Oh well.
The inner album sleeve gave us the songs from each side along with the lyrics. It also included who had each solo on the songs which I love that fact. There was no winding snake from one side to the other, instead we get pictures of the band with Coverdale, Lord and Murray on the front and Marsden, Moody and Paice on the back.
The band’s first single and first hit outside the UK was the song “Fool For Your Loving”. Yes, Whitesnake fans that came on board in the late 80’s know this song from the album ‘Slip of the Tongue’. However, this was the original and first release of the song which went to #13 in the UK and #53 in the US. The song was written by Marsden (who had the riffs and the verses), Moody (who wrote the bridge) and Coverdale (who did the lyrics). The funny thing about the song is that it was originally written for BB King, however, they soon realized the song was too good to pass up…and they were right.
This version of the song is more bluesy and has a nice groove and not as rocking as the hair metal version, but that is okay. You have Bernie belting out a great solo that is so different than Vai’s version. Since I grew up with the ‘Slip of the Tongue’ version, this version feels like a demo to me and I am actually turn to which one I like more. This fits the sound of the band at this point in their career and the other fits that version of the band. Tough choice…I will let you decide.
The next track is “Sweet Talker” which was only released in the US as a single, but didn’t really do anything. This is another song with rather suggestive lyrics and would not stop the controversy on their womanizing lyrics. As a teenager, this would have been great. it is a fun rocking track and it has Jon Lord delivering something he does best…massive keyboard solos. And I don’t want to leave out the great slide guitar work of Micky Moody, always love his slide guitar. This to me is a classic sounding Whitesnake song and one of my favorites on the album…one of many.
The title track, “Ready an’ Willing”, has such a driving groove to it. The blues feel in David’s vocals and lyrics and the sonics of the song, make it a memorable song and why it was released as the 2nd single. Moody handled the solo which was short and perfect for the song. Although the single didn’t do that well, it is still a beast of a track on the album.
Then we get to “Carry the Load” and I have to say I am not real thrilled with this one. Too generic and falls very flat for me. This song feels more like one of David’s solo songs and could have been on ‘Northwinds’. It feels out of place here.
Another favorite on the album is the song ‘Blindman’ which is a re-work of the song from David’s first solo album called ‘Whitesnake’. In what could be David’s best performance to date as he brings so much more emotion and pain in his delivery, this song is the gem in a album full of them. It has a slow groove and is another blues track which has the band at its best. Bernie’s understated solo was what the song needed. It fit perfectly with the vibe. The song was great on the solo album, but taken to another level here.
First up on Side Two is “Ain’t’ Gonna Cry No More” has David singing along to the acoustic guitar before Jon Lord comes in with some soft sounding keyboards in what is starting out as a beautiful ballad. That is until Ian Paice brings it up a notch with his drums and it turns in to pure rock & roll beast with the help of Micky Moody on the solo. The album is quickly becoming my favorite of the Whitesnake albums so far with songs like this.
“Black and Blue” feels like you are at a honky tonk with the whole live, bar-band feel to it including some piano playing by Jon Lord. Adding the cheering bar crowd to the mix made it feel right at home in the bar. It is a fun, good time track.
And the album ends with “She’s a Woman”, which opens with Lord on the keyboards and then gets turned up a notch when the drums and guitar riffs kick in. Now the highlight is that Jon Lord turns in the best solo of the album. He goes to town and takes you on a magical keyboard journey. Although not the best song on the album, it highlights Lord and that is good enough for me.
- Fool For Your Loving – Keeper
- Sweet Talker – Keeper
- Ready an’ Willing – Keeper
- Carry Your Load – Delete
- Blindman – Keeper
- Ain’t Gonna Cry No More – Keeper
- Love Man – Keeper
- Black and Blue – Keeper
- She’s a Woman – Keeper
The track is a wonderful 8 out of 9 tracks are keepers or 89%. The songs are the strongest yet of the Whitesnake albums so far. There are some Essential Whitesnake songs on here, more so than the others and this album gets better with every listen. The album was missing some dual guitar solos with Marsden and Moody which I think adds to the songs. The album was also lacking a Bernie Marsden lead vocal song…okay, it really isn’t missing that I guess. Overall, this is a killer album and I will rate it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. As much as I love it, there are some I like better but this is near the top.