Coverdale Page - Coverdale Page
Geffen Records
Hard Rock (Led Zeppelin influenced)
11 songs (59:36)
Release year: 1993
Geffen Records
Reviewed by Cory
Archive review

With the recent review of Whitesnake’s self-titled album as a classic, I thought it might be interesting to dust off this 1993 collaboration effort between David Coverdale and Jimmy Page as a point of contrast. In my opinion, Whitesnake was the crowning jewel of the Glam/Hair metal scene in that its record setting multi-platinum status testified to the triumph of style over substance that was the standard of the time. While I do not consider it to be a bad album, I feel that one has only to look in Whitesnake’s direction to see that the state of Heavy Metal in the late 80’s had grown to a point of such commercial success and overly produced excess that its subsequent downfall could be plainly seen just around the corner. In fact, similar in nature to the stock market crash of the 1930’s that led to the Great Depression, it would happen with such abruptness that many of the bands basking in 80’s glory would find that the 90’s in turn gave them the cold shoulder. Even Whitesnake succumbed to this fact, as evidenced when they failed to follow up 1987’s platinum selling Slip of the Tongue until 1998’s Restless Heart. Heavy Metal, in all of its commercial forms, had become a tool for the music industry that in the end yielded to the weight of a stagnant formula, paving the way for Grunge and Hip Hop to follow and setting the stage for a nearly ten year public exile. (Note that there were plenty of quality bands to be found during this time, however for multi-million album selling groups like Motley Crue and Whitesnake, it must have seemed like the end of days).

Yet following these events, in the midst of public and critical backlash, David Coverdale recorded perhaps his finest album. Joining forces with the legendary Jimmy Page, former guitarist for both The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, the result was an impressive showing of both Coverdale’s blues styled emotional vocals and Page’s second-to-none songwriting capability. Drums were provided by the John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) inspired Denny Carmasi, a mercenary style drummer that had previously worked with Coverdale on the single for Here I Go Again. Commercially the album was a success by going platinum in the USA and Canada, however attempts at touring in support of the album failed due to minimal interest.

Coverdale Page is more of a hard rock album than metal, drawing heavily on the Led Zeppelin influences of Page and Carmasi. Gone are the keyboards and heavy polish of the 80’s, replaced by a heavy bottom end and classic Zeppelin feel. The production is restrained to only what is needed, allowing Page’s guitar work to shine through and lend to an overall gritty and bluesy feel. Coverdale belts out his lyrics with conviction, using his talents to their maximum potential without crossing into the overly emotional waters of his past. In fact, vocally I would say this is closer to his Deep Purple days than Whitesnake. As a whole, the album conveys a quality listening experience that delivers on all levels.

Individually, all of the songs shine in one way or another with not a weak track to be found. Shake My Tree and Feeling Hot Tonight rock hard. Waiting On You is a soulful display of Coverdale’s gravelly tone, and Pride and Joy is an upbeat romp that brings together dulcimer, harmonica, and Coverdale himself on acoustic guitar. Each song is unique, and the listener will find something to appreciate outside of what I could possibly state here because the songwriting has that kind of depth. Those familiar with any of Page's work will not find that surprising, because he is widely regarded as one of the great songwriters of our time. Yet the standout track in my mind is the closer, Whisper a Prayer for the Dying. A sharpened dagger thrown at political war activists, the combination of Coverdale and Page are at their best on this track. The rhythm ranges from subdued reflectiveness to an aggressive assault, and though I must have listened to it over a hundred times it is still fresh and thought provoking.

Coverdale Page is an album that might be overshadowed by the legacies of its creators and the stigma of the time in which it was released, but in my mind it is the pinnacle of David Coverdale’s career, and a high point in the amazing catalog of Jimmy Page. If you have never heard it before, I highly encourage you to give it a shot because it is rare that a collaboration of strong willed musicians works out so well, and it is quite possible that in the hard rock genre this one has yet to be equaled.

Killing Songs :
All, but Whisper a Prayer for the Dying and Pride and Joy stand out.
Cory quoted 90 / 100
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