Whitesnake The Purple Album
Whitesnake release their 12th studio album The Purple Album and their first new studio material for 4 years next month. It will be released in Europe on May 15th, the UK on May 18th and in North America on May 19th via Frontiers Music SRL.
My very first thought when I saw that it wasn't new material wasn't positive if I am honest.
When you delve a little deeper it becomes more apparent why The Purple Album came to be.Back in 2012 when David Coverdale was told that his great friend and colleague from both Deep Purple and Whitesnake Jon Lord had been first diagnosed with cancer and that Jon's wish was for a Deep Purple reunion of sorts.After Jon's passing David reached out to Ritchie Blackmore about a Purple or Coverdale/Blackmore project but nothing came of it although old animosities were put to one side.David had already been working on idea's on reworking some old Purple songs and it seems a conversation with his wife Cindy was the catalyst for deciding that the best way to celebrate the Deep Purple legacy was for Whitesnake to record some of the classic songs from the Mark 3 and Mark 4 studio albums back in David's youth.
In fact David was in Deep Purple for around 2 and a half years from August 1973 to March 1976 and 3 albums Burn,Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band.
The Purple Album consists of 6 of 8's Burn tracks,5 off Stormbringer and 2 from Come Taste The Band although the deluxe edition does add 2 more from the last named album.
Everyone has an opinion on whether material from another age should be reworked or rerecorded.Does it take away from the original and of course the main topic will be how does David's voice compare?
In the press release it says that when David shared his vision with the rest of the band everyone bought into it.And that is apparent throughout as the band rip through the material and bring it live and screaming to a new generation of fans 40 years later and for that we should be thankful.
The band all play their part.The rhythm team of Tommy Aldridge on drums and Michael Devin on bass lay down as solid a groove as you will ever hear.The new guitar team of Reb Beach and new boy Joel Hoekstra (ex Night Ranger) have a ball whether it be riffing hard,soloing or laying down an acoustic moment that let's David show off his vocal range.
Photo Credit: © Ash Newell
Yes the great man's voice has changed anyone's would after a 40 year career but he sounds fantastic on both rockers and ballads and obviously enjoying reinterpreting the songs that as he puts it " As I said to Ritchie, you guys set me on an incredible journey that continues today and I couldn’t have asked for better teachers. The university of Deep Purple is an extraordinary, amazing school to learn from. "
I'll be honest again and say apart from the bigger songs like Burn,Stormbringer,Mistreated and Soldier Of Fortune that I had heard either live with Whitesnake or on radio before there are some songs on the album that I have discovered for the first time.
Lady Double Dealer is simply superb from the first beat from Tommy who drives the song along at a pace and plenty of extra guitar melodies thrown in for good measure.Love the extra acoustic guitar strum under the big chorus before we are off to the races with some splendid guitar soling from Reb and Joel.They must play this one when they tour later in the year.
Love Child has a real slow edged stomp to it's rhythm and some added Hammond to it's musical depth and more superb guitar soloing.
Sail Away is all acoustic with a great David vocal and added backing vocals to the mix.
Holy Man starts acoustically but builds to a dual guitar solo led crescendo before finishing as it started.
Might Just Take Your Life starts with acoustic slide guitar before a romp through another song Whitesnake covered live.David's vocal shines on this one.
Lay Down Stay Down is all Tommy led drum rhythm and driving riff and David's urgent vocal with added Hammond too.More great guitar soling from the new guitar team who as expected have formed a partnership to die for.
Whitesnake have produced an excellent album that should be devoured by fans old and new.For a sceptic like me when it was first announced I am totally won over.
In the original press release David said this “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.. I thought it would be cool to go out, as it were, the way I came in to this music business.”
Read into that what you will but if this is to be his last cd then what a fitting tribute to the legacy of Deep Purple but also to David himself.
Photo Credit: © Ash Newell