He'll always be defined by his four-year stint in Whitesnake, but Bernie Marsden might just be the greatest British blues guitarist of his generation. His solo career has been solid but unspectacular, but this four-CD collection makes a fair case for reappraisal.
It takes in Green & Blues – 1995's tribute to Peter Green – 2003's Big Boy Blue, and
a February 2003 concert from The Granary, Buckingham that features a brass-drenched stomp through Knock On Wood and ends with Whitesnake's Here I Go Again, Marsden's pension plan reworked as an acoustic strum with jazz singer Sharon Watson working wonders on backing vocals.
In the sleeve-notes, Marsden is keen to point out that his Green tribute preceded Gary Moore's Blues For Greeny, but its harsh production doesn't capture the magic as Moore did. Big Boy Blue is much more rewarding. Marsden's own Working For The CSA and his lovelom ballad Place In My Heart benefit from a lightness of touch, but when he gets earthier on a harmonica-led version of Sonny Boy Williamson's Do It If You Wanna there's real fire.
A bonus disc (also released with the original Big Boy Blue) reworks some album tracks and adds a languid stroll through Big Joe Turner's Someday After.