Bernie Marsden shines on tribute to three Kings

Out now: Ex-Whitesnake legend Bernie Marsden pays his dues, impeccably, on Kings

Bernie Marsden
(Image: © Conquest Music / Little House Music)

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Roused into action after a late night conversation with Billy Gibbons about formative heroes, Bernie Marsden set about compiling a list of artists and songs that have shaped him over his 50-year career as a songwriter-guitarist. 

The resulting Kings (the first of his ‘Inspirations’ series; the next volume, Chess, is due in November) sees Marsden and his band pay homage to tunes he first heard via blues greats Freddie King, B.B King. and Albert King. 

Tone and feel are paramount here. Freddie King’s You’ve Got To Love Her With Feeling is a masterclass in cryin’ blues, with Marsden fashioning an emotive solo - and vocal - over Bob Haddrell’s pillowy organ line. 

The slower, more soulful cuts tend to work best, be it Charles Singleton’s Help The Poor or the pained sweetness of Leon Russell’s Help Me Through The Day, a latterday analogue to the Whitesnake version Marsden first recorded for 1979’s Lovehunter.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.