The Purple Album
Recorded and mixed by Whitesnake founder and vocalist David Coverdale (with co-producers Michael McIntyre and guitarist Reb Beach) The Purple Album, the band’s twelfth studio release, features “re-imaginings” of Deep Purple songs from the band's Mark III and IV eras. In 1973, Coverdale, then only 21, joined Deep Purple, and together with bassist Glenn Hughes, a new vocal mix was added to the band. On this disc, we get 13 songs of classic Purple from the three albums — Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band — Coverdale made with the band.
It’s a decidedly heavy hand we get, sans Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore’s Baroquian flights of fancy that adorn the originals. Still, the snake slithering behind Coverdale — guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra, Michael Devin on bass and Tommy Aldridge drums — makes a smashing noise. The distinctive heavy riff that drives “Burn” is fast and furious, without the beloved interplay between organ and guitar. “You Fool No One” starts with a strong harmonica bleating into a double guitar attack from Hoekstra and Beach, embodied by a rich Coverdale vocal, which is strong throughout, even if at times some keys are lower than the original versions. In fact, “Lady Double Dealer” changes key about a half step down.
“Sail Away” sees some pretty acoustic guitar with a suave harmony. For my money, Coverdale sounds best on the slower tracks like this. It’s all about stomping blues on “Mistreated,” a true centerpiece among the CD’s 13 songs. The lead guitar playing is brilliant, as all the players get to truly stretch out, making it a real showing of what the present-day Whitesnake is capable of. “Soldier Of Fortune” finds Coverdale at his coolest and sexiest, while the staccato of “Lay Down Stay Down” creates a full-on party atmosphere. Altogether, The Purple Album is a solid tribute to a great time in Deep Purple’s colorful and varied history.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.