Whitesnake – The Purple Album
2015, Frontiers Records
2. “You Fool No One” (interpolating “Itchy Fingers”)
3. “Love Child”
4. “Sail Away” (featuring “Elegy for Jon”)
5. “The Gypsy”
6. “Lady Double Dealer”
8. “Holy Man”
9. “Might Just Take Your Life”
10. “You Keep On Moving”
11. “Soldier of Fortune”
12. “Lay Down Stay Down”
14. Lady Luck
15. Comin’ Home
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Reb Beach – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Joel Hoekstra – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Devon – Bass, Harmonica, Backing Vocals
Tommy Aldridge – Drums
Derek Hilland – Keyboards
Producers: David Coverdale, Reb Beach & Michael McIntyre
After a steady stream of live releases, I was looking forward to hearing a brand-new Whitesnake studio album. I had known the band had been working on writing & recording tracks for the untitled album but I was assuming what they were going to give us would new and original Whitesnake tracks. Instead, when The Purple Album was announced, to say I was a bit deflated would be an understatement. For whatever reason, David Coverdale decided to have Whitesnake cover songs from his time in Deep Purple. Basically, the sounds have been record with a much beefier sound that’s very in line with what Whitesnake has been doing the last 10 years ago or so and some of the songs have been slightly re-worked.
In theory, I don’t have too much of a problem with any of this. I’ve read some comments online that consider it blasphemous that Whitesnake would record a bunch of Deep Purple songs and plenty of reviewers knocking this album and saying the band didn’t do a good job. Personally, I don’t care if Whitesnake releases an album of Deep Purple covers. But that’s just it. I don’t care. It just seems like a throwaway and irrelevant album to me, no more of less important than the various live albums they’ve released in the last few years. Having said that, being the Whitesnake fan that I am, I was always going to give this album at least one spin.
Now would’ve really made this album interesting is if Coverdale decided to record some songs from the Mark II line-up that featured Ian Gillan on vocals (at least as a fun bonus track). THAT would’ve made for a fascinating listen.
I’m really wondering what happened during all the time that Coverdale said they were working on the new album because I know they were at least writing material when Doug Aldrich was still in the band. What happened to that material? Was he only writing rearrangements for this album? And, oh yeah, Doug Aldrich is gone from the band. I’ve felt he was an essential part of the band since David brought Whitesnake back but the split seems amicable as Doug wanted to move on to new projects. His replacement? Night Ranger’s Joel Hoekstra. Okay. At least Tommy Aldridge has returned to the band and is still a monster on the drums.
While The Purple Album doesn’t seem all that necessary, when you get down to the music, it’s fairly enjoyable. In fact, I can digest some of these tracks much more easily now that they have been updated production-wise. Take Deep Purple songs, give them the production of Whitesnake’s last two studio efforts, Good to Be Bad and Forevermore and that’s The Purple Album. Coverdale’s voice is much more weathered by this point but I think that’s a good thing. He has more soul in his voice than he ever did and I think on some of these tracks it provides for a better vocal performance and feeling than what he could’ve provided in the 1970s.
At the end of the day, while I’m disappointed I’m not listening to new Whitesnake material, The Purple Album has turned out to be a pretty good album in it’s own right.
Highlights: “Burn”, “Love Child”, “Sail Away”, “The Gypsy”, “Lady Double Dealer”, “Mistreated”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “You Keep On Moving”, “Soldier of Fortune”, “Stormbringer”
Deep Purple – Burn [30th Anniversary Edition – Remastered] (2005, Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records/Purple Records)
Original Release: 1974, Warner Bros. Records
1. “Burn” … 6:00
2. “Might Just Take Your Life” … 4:36
3. “Lay Down, Stay Down” …4:15
4. “Sail Away” … 5:48
5. “You Fool No One” … 4:47
6. “What’s Goin’ on Here” … 4:55
7. “Mistreated” … 7:25
8. “”A” 200″ … 3:51
9. “Coronarias Redig” [2004 Remix] … 5:30
10. “Burn” [2004 Remix] … 6:00
11. “Mistreated” [2004 Remix] … 7:28
12. “You Fool No One” [2004 Remix] … 4:57
13. “Sail Away” [2004 Remix] … 5:37
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitar
Glenn Hughes – Bass, Lead Vocals
Ian Paice – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards
Producer: Deep Purple
Years ago, during a Columbia House or BMG Music binge, I ordered Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers and then I never bothered with another Purple album. I wasn’t overly impressed by the album at the time and I’ve always had this hang-up on Deep Purple that they were “too 70s” and too heavy on keyboards and organs and that’s just not my style of rock.
Well, years later I decided to give the band a chance again by picking up Burn featuring the Deep Purple debut of two of my favorite rock vocalists – David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. It didn’t hurt that I found this anniversary edition online, brand new, for only six bucks and some change.
Again, everything about this album screams 1970s. The keyboards, the album cover, the funky & bluesy bass lines. I should really hate this album but somehow, I like it. I don’t love it, but I like it a lot and its a real treat listening to Coverdale and Hughes share lead vocals. Coverdale didn’t play any instruments in the band, so I’ve always wondered how he felt about sharing vocals with a band member who is playing an instrument as well. Just seems like a weird deal to me, but it was the 70s after all!
This album began the end of Ritchie Blackmore’s involvement in the band he co-found as he hated the bluesy and funky direction Hughes and Coverdale were taking the group in. I will say this, this album features some GREAT performances by Coverdale. Just listen to “Mistreated”.
The remixes I guess are nice if you have a really good ear or sound system for that type of stuff. I don’t have either, but I appreciate the effort put into this package to make it something special. “Coronarias Redig” was a B-side and is a pretty cool funky jam. There’s a very comprehensive booklet as well that’s full pictures and talks about the history about the band during this time frame. I love it when reissues include retrospectives like that. It oughta be a law.
Highlights: “Burn”, “Might Just Take Your Life”, “Sail Away”, “You Fool No One”, “Mistreated”, “Coronarias Redig”
Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners (1982, Geffen Records)
1. “Young Blood” … 3:30
2. “Rough an’ Ready” … 2:50
3. “Bloody Luxury” … 3:24
4. “Victim of Love” … 3:34
5. “Crying in the Rain” … 5:58
6. “Here I Go Again” … 5:08
7. “Love an’ Affection” … 3:08
8. “Rock an’ Roll Angels” … 4:07
9. “Dancing Girls” … 3:09
10. “Saints an’ Sinners” … 4:22
David Coverdale – Lead Vocals, Piano, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Bernie Marsden – Guitar
Mel Galley – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mick Moody – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neil Murray – Bass
Ian Paice – Drums
Jon Lord – Keyboards
Produced by: Martin Birch
Phenomenal release and I’m ashamed it took me so long to own it (though I still think Good to Be Bad is my favorite ‘snake album). Coverdale has always used blues in the band’s music, even into their pop metal era, but man, this is some great bluesy hard rock. And check out Jon Lord on keyboard! I’ve grown to appreciate Deep Purple and their heavy use of the keyboard more over the years, so it’s actually nice to hear it featured prominently here as well. This would be the last Whitesnake album to feature both of Coverdale’s ex-Deep Purple bandmates Ian Paice and Jon Lord (though Lord would continue in the band until ’84).
I’ve never had a problem with the pop-metal version of Whitesnake (though I think Slip of the Tongue was a bit too slick for its own good) and I’ve never had a problem with the bluesier early years either, but you can’t deny the greatness of the old bluesier sound when hearing Saints & Sinners. As great as Coverdale’s voice is, it’s nice to hear him scaling back on the high pitch wailing he used so much on 1987’s Whitesnake and 1989’s Slip of the Tongue.
Of course, it’s no secret “Crying in the Rain” and “Here I Go Again” debuted on this album before getting a pop metal makeover in 1987. This version of “Crying in the Rain” is far and away the better version, it’s full of soul. As for “Here I Go Again”, it’s a nice (original) take on the song, but I prefer the bombastic version the band would later record.
My favorite track is “Dancing Girls”. The riff is great and the chorus is catchy as heck. This should be played right alongside “Girls Girls Girls” in every strip club in America.
I’ve noticed some discrepancies in regards to the contributions of Bernie Marsden and Mel Galley on this album. Most sources I’ve seen say one or the other played guitar (some say Galley only provided backing vocals), but until I get a confirmation either way, I’ll credit both on guitar and as members of the band.
Highlights: “Young Blood”, “Crying in the Rain”, “Here I Go Again”, “Love an’ Affection”, “Rock an ‘Roll Angels”, “Dancing Girls”, “Saints an’ Sinners”