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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
WHITESNAKE-THE-PURPLE-ALBUM-REVIEW-2015

 

WHITESNAKE

THE PURPLE ALBUM

FRONTIERS MUSIC

MAY 15 2015

 

 

Tracklisting: BURN | YOU FOOL NO ONE (Interpolating ITCHY FINGERS) | LOVE CHILD | SAIL AWAY | THE GYPSY | LADY DOUBLE DEALER | MISTREATED | HOLY MAN | MIGHT JUST TAKE YOUR LIFE | YOU KEEP ON MOVING | SOLDIER OF FORTUNE | LAY DOWN STAY DOWN | STORMBRINGER
 
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks: LADY LUCK | COMIN’ HOME
 
DVD Content: Lady Double Dealer - Music Video | Sail Away - Mix Music Video | Stormbringer - Music Video | Soldier Of Fortune - Music Video | Purple Album Behind The Scenes | Purple Album EPK

BUY ALBUM HERE - The Purple Album [CD/DVD][Deluxe Edition]




So here it finally is: the album that many have wondered about over the years. David Coverdale finally revisits his formative years with an album full of reinterpretations of music from Deep Purple Mark III and IV. The question of course had always been the format any such album would be in – and whether there would ever be the coming together of the original musicians who made this music or not?


Coverdale’s stay in Deep Purple was a brief one lasting less than two and a half years from August 1973 and March 1976 and encompassing the albums ‘Burn’; ‘Stormbringer’ and ‘Come Taste the Band’. For some that was the golden era of the band, with those first two albums featuring the classic Lord-Paice-Blackmore axis along with newcomers Glen Hughes and David Coverdale. By the time of ‘Come Taste the Band’ Blackmore was gone, replaced by young-gun Tommy Bolin and decrying ‘Stormbringer’ as “shoeshine music” unhappy with the soul and funk elements – leaving in June 1975 to form Rainbow.  


In the accompanying press release a lot of the questions you might have about the decision to release this album are answered. First of all the impetus to put together the project seems to be two-fold  - sparked by the death of great friend and colleague from Purple and Whitesnake – Jon Lord of whom Coverdale was told in 2012 when Lord was first diagnosed with cancer that his great wish, should he recover, would be to put together a Purple reunion of sorts. Secondly on Jon’s passing Coverdale reached out to Ritchie Blackmore, and despite discussing a possible Purple or Blackmore/Coverdale project nothing came of it, though it seems old animosities were buried.  With that door closed and as Coverdale had already been working on ideas for reworking some of the Purple songs, it transpires it was Coverdale’s wife Cindy who suggested celebrating the Purple legacy on the new Whitesnake album.


Fans may still of course have a few outstanding questions probably most notably that the name Glen Hughes never arises…


In addition and perhaps most intriguingly the press release contains the following statement from Coverdale: “Even though we’re playing songs I recorded with ‘Purple’ over 40 years ago, it has all the classic ‘Whitesnake’ elements people who support us have come to expect...” says Coverdale, “I thought it would be cool to go out, as it were, the way I came in to this music business.” Read that final stamen again. Does this sound like the final curtain from Mr Coverdale?


While you are pondering that let’s get to the music…


Staring off where it all began for Coverdale with the opening title track from Mark III’s first album ‘Burn’ we’re in familiar territory with the song that along with ‘Stormbringer’ which closes the album, and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ have been live staples in the Whitesnake set over the years.  ‘Burn’ of course is a rock classic and deservedly so labelled, embracing a complex arrangement and progressive leanings at the time it was an opportunity for the band to show off their virtuosity, and here reinterpreted the band, it simply shines.


As far as song selection goes the ‘Burn’ album is the best represented of the Mark III and IV era of Deep Purple here with 6 of its 8 tracks re-interpreted as opposed to 5 from ‘Stormbringer’ and 2 from ‘Come Taste the Band’. There aren’t really any surprises in the selections though in the four promotional videos that accompany the album ‘Lady Double Dealer’, ‘Sail Away’, ‘Stormbringer’ & ‘Soldier of Fortune’ all but one hail from the Stormbringer album.


Whatever your views on reworking old material as opposed to producing fresh new songs it’s almost impossible to listen to ‘The Purple Album’ without a real sense of joy and a huge smile spreading across the face. Of course there is nothing too radical in any of the reinterpretations and the essence of the songs is treated with reverence, but as Coverdale says “It was a shared vision, every member of the band came to the sessions fully loaded with ideas & talent & helped make this a memorable project for me.”


So take some time with this one as you will find that it is so much more than just the better known songs that hit the home runs. Coverdale-era Purple was special in so many ways and this shows you why so many still love it today. There’s a freedom and fluidity here that radio rock and formula-driven bands of the eighties lacked in their shunning of more progressive influences and that is the vital ingredient here that keeps these 40 year old compositions sounding so fresh.


Of course it’s tracks like ‘Mistreated’ and ‘Soldier of Fortune’ that sowed some of the seeds for early Whitesnake but listen closer to songs like ‘Lady Double Dealer’ and ‘Lay Down Stay Down’ and you’ll see how natural that progression was. These may be modern day ‘Snaked-up’ versions of these timeless songs, but it’s hard to see how anyone can lose here – fans will love the re-workings and those new to the material can these days revisit the originals with the click of a download button. As Coverdale says of the material: “There was absolutely no intention to compete, or compare with the original recordings. We just wanted to play these songs the best we could and this is how we wanted to play them.“ Amen to that.


One thing is for sure when Whitesnake hit the road in 2015 it will be a tour not to miss…


 
WHITESNAKE
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Reb Beach – Lead Guitars
Joel Hoekstra– Lead Guitars
Michael Devin – Bass Guitar
Tommy Aldridge - Drums

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

WHITESNAKE-THE-PURPLE-ALBUM-REVIEW-2015