The Purple Album
Review score: 95%
Review Date: June 2015
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
It's been about a week since Paul Jack disappeared, and with some relief we can see him creeping into the office now. He looks tired, he has a glint in his eye and the hint of a secret smile playing around his lips. Catching a glimpse of his reflection in the window, he shakes his head and murmurs, "Too bright" before closing the blinds. Almost too quiet for us to hear, he adds "and where did the last few decades go?"
Slumping into his worn old office chair, our grey haired rock survivor grunts to himself, plonks a surprising worn CD package on his desk, and reaches for the Jack Daniels stashed in his bottom drawer.
"Where's he been?" Tali asks
"Lost in his own private world of nostalgia," replies Big Ed.
Tali sneaks up and snatches the CD and checks out the title. "The Purple Album" by Whitesnake. "Is this old?" she asks.
"It's new. Songs are old," mutters Paul Jack. "And it's bloody brilliant," he adds, winking. "You young un's don't what your missing."
He takes another swing, leans back in his chair, and, resting the chair on two legs and the wall he closes his eyes."
"You'll get nothing out of him now," says Big Ed. Paul Jack stirs as if in response, reaches into the pocket of the battered leather relic he calls a jacket and without opening his eyes he offers a bunch of papers vaguely in Tali's direction.
"Go listen to the new Whitesnake," he mumbles. Tali takes the papers and backs away.
Walking back to her desk she looks through the contents. Page after page of notes about The Purple Album, track by track reviews, the history of Whitesnake and Deep Purple Mark III, and who knows what else. Most of it is illegible, lost to beer stains and PJ's black spider scrawl handwriting.
Putting on her headphones, Tali plays the CD and starts deciphering the notes and typing. Sadly, only about 10 per cent was salvageable. And here are those remnants.....
Jon Lord, such talent musician, such a decent bloke, such a loss to the world. If the remaining Deep Purple Mark III had reformed and re-recorded this amazing collection of blues based rock songs from my childhood then I would have given The Purple Album 100% score, or given Big Ed the world's biggest earache if he tried to stop me.
Instead I'm knocking an arbitrary 5% off purely for not being 100% Deep Purple. If you disagree with my reasoning then fine, no worries. But I'm sticking by my opinion. The Purple Album Deluxe Edition is a great collection, one which might have been considered a double album back in the day.
What we've got here is a Whitesnake album. Tracks are punchy, crystal clear covers of Deep Purple Mark III, circa 1973 - 1975. Think of The Purple Album as a Best Of collection, covers of arguably the best tracks from Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band. All good albums, all good tracks, all performed here with passion skill, lovingly crafted and delightful.
But still, some people seem to be properly disrespecting the album because it is not Deep Purple. Aside from line-up differences (it would be great to hear Ritchie Blackmore playing rock music again), let's compare this new release to the originals, and what do we find? Well, what we are missing is the (arguably sensitive) second vocalist. Not to dwell on the original line-up, but if you are familiar with these tracks from four decades ago (and love some of them as I do) then despite David Coverdale doing a fantastic job throughout, you do miss the contrasting style of Glenn Hughes at certain points. Familiarity breeds expectation.
But the biggest difference between Deep Purple originals and these covers (cue David 'Cover'dale puns from purists) is that the entire sound here is very much Whitesnake, not Deep Purple. Compare some originals, for example, Might Just Take Your Life, and you will miss the familiar prominence of keyboards right from the get go. I can understand people thinking that Jon Lord is irreplaceable, and rightly so, of course, but the missing keyboards are noticeable. Don Airey comes to mind at this point.
Let's not dwell on keyboards any longer, in fact I think the new bluesier guitar intro to Might Just Take Your Life is mighty fine. The entire collection is lovingly put together, you can tell David Coverdale and the talented Whitesnake boys have poured heart and soul into making this the best possible rendition they could. From lighter acoustic numbers such as Sail Away (brilliant) and Soldier Of Fortune, through the hard-nosed blues powerhouse that is Mistreated, the soulful Holy Man to fast paced hard rock Lady Double Dealer, Stormbringer and, of course, Burn, there is quite a variety here for the discerning rock fan.
(Editor's note - sadly the 'manuscripts' containing Paul Jack's track by track reviews of the entire Purple Album are illegible. Just what are those stains on the paper?)
There's so many good songs here. The Purple Album is a total 'BUY THIS NOW' recommendation from Rock Hard Reviews. And get the Deluxe Edition while you are at it. If you ain't familiar with the originals then this will make you want to playlist Burn, Come Taste The Band and Stormbringer.
All told, this cover collection of proper, classic, forty year old rock masterpieces is a must have for any discerning classic rock / hard rock fam. Blue based rock don't come much better that this.
Paul Jack cracks open one eye, glances at Tali tapping her feet to the beat of The Purple Album, and smiles contentedly.
Track List (may vary). This is the 2015 Deluxe Version
- You Fool No One
- Love Child
- Sail Away
- The Gypsy
- Lady Double Dealer
- Holy Man
- Might Just Take Your Life
- You Keep On Moving
- Soldier Of Fortune
- Lay Down Stay Down
- Lady Luck
- Comin' Home
- And DVD videos:
- Lady Double Dealer
- Sail Away
- Soldier Of Fortune