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Bernie Marsden - 'And About Time Too' / 'Look At Me Now' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/6f/2c/7d/bernie-marsden-and-about-time-too-66-1382381311.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 21, 2013    
 
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Both foolishly overlooked at the time, it's nice to see them back in the shops once more.

Two solo albums that hail from what is probably Bernie Marsden's most commercially and artistically successful period. Behind him lay UFO, Babe Ruth and Paice Aston Lord, and yet to come were the likes of MGM, Alaska and Company Of Snakes, all good in their own right, but none of them really top banana; but from 1978 to 1982 Marsden was a leading player, in what many see as Whitesnake's most exciting and credible period.

'And About Time Too' was recorded at Central Recorders Studios and Sauna – the same studios Whitesnake used for the 'Snakebite' EP and 'Trouble' LP (and they used the same joke about the temperature there too!) – in July/August 1979, immediately after Whitesnake's second album 'Lovehunter' was in the can. At the day job, Marsden had already proved himself quite a prolific songwriter and with help from Don Airey and Jon Lord on keyboards, Jack Bruce and Neil Murray on bass and Simon Phillips, Cozy Powell and Ian Paice on drums, he put together a collection of very pleasant blues-based rock songs. The collection was primarily recorded for the Japanese market where it was released in 1980, although imports started to make their way into the UK, particularly once Whitesnake fans realised that Bobby Dazzler, the co-writer of four of the album's cuts, was David Coverdale (although the head 'Snake himself doesn't actually appear on the album). It's very much a mixed bag, opening well with 'You're The One' and the instrumental 'Song For Fran' before meandering off the main road a bit. But 'Still The Same' is a great song with a terrific coda and sets the tone for the later Whitesnake album cut 'Lonely Days, Lonely Nights'; the Marsden/Airey instrumental album closer is a finger-twisting workout and the non-album B-side included here, 'You And Me', is an exhilarating romp through what had just become a 'Lovehunter' album track.

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Coupled with a single 'Sad Clown', 'And About Time Too' was granted a UK release in May 1981, by which time Marsden had already recorded its follow-up. 'Look At Me Now' was recorded in March/April 1981, squeezed in between the premature end of the 'Ready An' Willing' tour in December 1980 and the 'Come An' Get It' tour kicking off in Germany April 1981 ('Come An' Get It' itself having being completed in the January – no rest for the wicked, eh!) and released in the September. Again Jon Lord, Neil Murray, Ian Paice, Simon Phillips and Cozy Powell featured amongst the credits on an album, which is much more focused – and excitable – than its predecessor: the title track is fabulous song which crackles with energy, 'Behind Your Dark Eyes' features some of the most exquisite guitar work you'll ever hear, 'Who's Fooling Who' allows the late great Jon Lord a few bars in the spotlight and the cover of The Temptations' 'Shakey Ground' is about as fun 'n' funky as you can get without breaking the law. Again the CD adds the one non-album B-side 'Always Love You So' (both 'Look At Me Now' and 'Thunder And Lightning' with fellow album cut 'Byblos Shack' on the flip were released as singles).

Neither 'And About Time Too' nor 'Look At Me Now' – nor the three singles drawn from them – had the temerity to trouble the charts, which, given the quality of the material on offer is quite amazing. As they were both foolishly overlooked at the time, it's nice to see them back in the shops once more.

John Tucker

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