You got to hand it to David Coverdale. In the last decade, the man is the epitome of class when it comes to his CD releases. It seems that every release from Whitesnake in the last decade always comes with lots of extras in the form of an extra DVD or an extra CD, a magnificent CD booklet and usually very cool artwork or covers. Talk about getting value for your money! The Purple Album is no exception with a beautiful CD booklet outlining Coverdale‘s detailed and interesting story behind the record — I won’t spoil it for you, just go buy the record — as well as a very cool looking CD cover and of course a bonus DVD (for the deluxe edition) including four new videos.
All of these extras would be wasted if Whitesnake were unable to deliver some great music. However, Whitesnake have hit a home run with The Purple Album because the album rocks from start to finish while taking you on a journey in rediscovering some under appreciated and sometimes relatively unknown Deep Purple classics from the band’s Coverdale era. I readily admit that I was not that excited when I heard that Whitesnake were going to re-record Deep Purple songs dating 40 years or more, and especially since those were from when Coverdale was in the band. As it turns out, my lack of excitement was simply due to my lack of knowledge about some of the great songs that Deep Purple came up with during Coverdale‘s time in the band. I was of course familiar with and enjoyed the best known Deep Purple classics such as “Smoke On The Water”, “Highway Star” and “Hush” (even if it is a cover song) but I would have been hard pressed to name any Deep Purple tracks emanating from the Coverdale era or Mk III and Mk IV as Coverdale puts it. As it turns out, I was already familiar with a number of those Deep Purple tracks including “Burn”, “Stormbringer”, “Mistreated” and “Soldier Of Fortune”.
What Coverdale and his latest all-star cast that make up Whitesnake — guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra, bassist Michael Devin and drummer Tommy Aldridge — have done with these Deep Purple classics is truly amazing because the songs date back 40 years or more yet they all have that classic Whitesnake feel and sound to my ears. As is to be expected, all of the songs from The Purple Album emanate from the three Deep Purple records where Coverdale was involved. Six of the eight songs on Burn are covered on The Purple Album. Five of the nine songs on Stormbringer have made their way onto The Purple Album and surprisingly, four tracks — albeit two of them bonus tracks — emanate from Come Taste The Band. Despite that there are a whopping fifteen tracks on The Purple Album if you count the two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition CD, I find that all of the songs are good ones with a lot of variety from anthemic scorchers such as “Burn”, “Stormbringer” and “Lady Double Dealer” to some slower tracks such as “Sail Away” and “Soldier Of Fortune”. This is likely because Coverdale simply chose the likely best tracks from the three Deep Purple records that he played on so The Purple Album ends up being a “best of” from the three Coverdale era Deep Purple records.
The one song that stands out everytime I listen to The Purple Album is the track “Holy Man”, which is closer to a ballad than anything else. For anyone that has gone through my past album reviews, you’ll know that I am not a big fan of ballads by any means. That being said, “Holy Man” just seems to have this magic to it and is my favorite track on The Purple Album that I can and have played over and over again.
In short, I fully expect Whitesnake‘s The Purple Album to contend for album of the year on the Sleaze Roxx Readers’ Top 20 Albums of 2015.
02. You Fool No One [interpolating ‘Itchy Fingers’]
03. Love Child
04. Sail Away [featuring ‘Elegy For Jon’]
05. The Gypsy
06. Lady Double Dealer
08. Holy Man
09. Might Just Take Your Life
10. You Keep On Moving
11. Soldier Of Fortune
12. Lay Down Stay Down
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks:
14. Lady Luck
15. Comin’ Home
Deluxe Edition Disc Two – DVD Video:
01. Lady Double Dealer – Music Video
02. Sail Away – Music Video
03. Stormbringer – Music Video
04. Soldier Of Fortune – Music Video
05. The Purple Album “Behind The Scenes”
06. The Purple Album EPK
David Coverdale – lead vocals
Reb Beach – guitar, vocals
Joel Hoekstra – guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Michael Devin – bass, harmonica, vocals
Tommy Aldridge – drums, percussion
Derek Hilland – keyboards
Produced by David Coverdale, Michael McIntyre and Reb Beach
Executive producer: David Coverdale
Engineered and mixed by Michael McIntyre
Mix assistants: David Coverdale and Reb Beach
Mastered by David Donnelly
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, July 2015
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