After departing Rainbow in 1980 after just one album and tour, Graham Bonnet found himself at a career high. Returning to solo work, the third LP released under his own name, 1981’s ‘Line-Up’ is a huge step forward from his two solo discs from the 1970s. To be fair, it couldn’t be any worse; 1978’s ‘No Bad Habits’, in particular, borders on being a terrible waste of plastic.
Snakes In Paradise, a Swedish band with an unhealthy Whitesnake obsession, released two rather fine albums back in the early-mid 90s. A self-titled/self released disc in 1993 set the bands bluesy AOR stall out for all to see, before a follow up ‘Garden of Eden’ [released on the now defunct MTM Music label] offered much more of the same a couple of years on, with a slightly bigger budget and increased confidence. The band were great at what they did and a good proportion of that greatness laid in the hands of vocalist Stefan Berggren, a man with a confident and natural delivery carrying more than a hint of Europe’s Joey Tempest in his style. SIP were never going to make the world think differently about big eighties rock sounds, but they gained a loyal fan base. Berggren’s talent had not gone unnoticed: after the demise of his own band, he was invited to become vocalist with Company of Snakes, a classic hard rock vehicle for ex-Whitesnake men Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden.
The union of ex-Whitesnake men Micky Moody and Neil Murray with powerhouse vocalist Chris Ousey, Wishbone Ash guitarist Laurie Wisefield and Thunder skinsman Gary ‘Harry’ James was always likely to create a strong band unit. Under the name Snakecharmer, their debut collaboration – along with keyboard player Adam Wakeman – served as concrete proof. Since the album pushed all the right buttons and a little more, their live show was probably going to be equally as solid; and when Snakecharmer played a one-off show at the Islington Assembly Hall in London, a gathering of classic rock fans got to experience the then still relatively new gathering of old friends first hand.