In the late 60’s, singer-songwriter Graham Bonnet scored a massive hit single with cover of the Bee Gees’ ‘Only One Woman’ as part of pop duo The Marbles. Like so many pop acts of the era, The Marbles’ time at the top was brief. Neither of Marbles’ follow up singles or their album made anywhere near the same impact and they split soon after. Graham could’ve returned to his hometown of Skegness having at least briefly been a star, but realising he had more to give, he plugged on. He first made the move into recording advertising jingles as a means to pay bills, before releasing a couple more unsuccessful singles in the early 70s. Material for a solo album was recorded in 1974 but shelved for over forty years. After an appearance in the 1975 UK comedy film Three For All – starring his then partner Adrienne Posta – Bonnet finally made a step in a more positive direction career-wise when he signed a deal with the small Ring-O record label, with whom he released two full length albums, ‘Graham Bonnet’ (1977) and ‘No Bad Habits’ (1978).
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.