Snakecharmer – Snakecharmer Anthology: Album Review

Cherry Red Records release a rock treat with a Snakecharmer anthology package. Stomping riff laden rock at its best from rock’s elite.

Release date:  28th October 2022

Label: Cherry Red Records

Format:  4CD box set

A set that collates the work of the British hard rock supergroup Snakecharmer. Two studio albums, as well as two live shows the best of the melting pot from members of British rock groups Whitesnake, Thunder and Wishbone Ash. Originally appearing in 2013 and it is sad that nearly 10 years later it has only produced 2 studio albums.  However other commitments and of course that which should not be named intervened.

We were spoilt by the splendid debut opener in 2013 with top-quality rock brilliance; Chris Ousey’s powerful but never earsplitting vocals with masterful riffs and solos from Laurie Wisefield and Mick Moody were driven along by Thunder drummer Harry James and Neil Murray on bass, supplemented by a keyboardist Adam Wakeman, whose virtuosity through the years and in many roles has shown that he is an accomplished musician who can contribute to many styles of rock.

Such is the consistency, it’s difficult to pick a track that stands out above the others from either of the studio albums. There are also 3 bonus tracks added in the package and then you have the benefit of hearing them all again as extended live versions! I also hesitate to say whether the songs are heavily influenced by Whitesnake, Thunder or Ash as the members of Snakecharmer may well have brought elements of their previous groups to the mix but in essence, wanted to break clear of their associations and create their own sound. 

It was perhaps a travesty that Snakecharmer never achieved super group recognition or a higher profile but this unit was a joy to see live especially as they appeared at smaller venues so you could get up close to watch the action. They were ‘good enough to eat’  twice, which I did. The live recordings in this well-put-together and comprehensive package are a testament to their skill on the live stage.

The live recordings from The Stables, Milton Keynes more or less cover two live tours which are only a year apart. The 2  live CDs focus completely on material from Snakecharmer plus half a dozen songs that never made the studio recordings. Snakecharmer toured after the release of Second Skin yet there are no live versions of the album in this package, which is a shame. By now Mick Moody had left the band and was replaced by superb Simon McBride.

Accompanying the re-mastered studio CDs by Tony Dixon is a booklet with notes by Classic Rock’s Dave Ling talking to the band and looking back at their career.

Followers of the rock genre should pay a visit to this excellent package whether they are familiar with Snakecharmer or not. It shows that the past members of rock’s elite groups do not have to rely on their rock pedigree to maintain their credibility. Pulsating rock oozes from this energetic package of Hard Rock music at its best.

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