Album Review: Bernie Marsden – Chess

Album Review: Bernie Marsden - Chess
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Although best known for his time with Whitesnake in the late seventies and early eighties, Bernie Marsden’s musical journey has been eclectic to say the least. A glance at his discography shows a prolific output, whilst he has carved a special niche at the Steelhouse Festival where he has performed several times.

Having released ‘Kings’ in July, Marsden hasn’t rested on his laurels and now releases ‘Chess’, the second in his Inspiration series which he credits to a conversation with. ZZ Top legend Billy Gibbons. This release focuses on artists on the Chess label including Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf , Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters & Elmore James. There are also two Marsden-penned instrumentals which appear as bonus tracks on the album.

Listening to ‘Chess’ is a joy. Marsden is a natural blues guitarist and he makes everything sound incredibly easy. Little licks and flicks are thrown down with wanton casualness, something that only those who become one with their guitar can deliver. Marsden can also sing, very well, something that many would be surprised about as he often has a vocalist when he plays live.

Album Review: Bernie Marsden – Chess

The compilation offers Marsden’s take on classic blues songs such as ‘Grits Ain’t Groceries’, ‘Fattening Frogs’, ‘Just a Fool’ and ‘Who’s been Talking’. Many will be familiar but his own approach works well with some superb guitar work. Backed by a cohesive unit of bassist John Gordon, drummer Jim Russell, keyboard player Bob Haddrell and Alan Glen on harmonica, the album was recorded in the old style of one band in one room and completed in a handful of days. The production is crisp but allows the feel of the old school to permeate.

‘Chess’ demonstrates that there is plenty of life left in the veteran blues maestro, even as he enters his eighth decade. An album that is just a delight to listen to.

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.