Whitesnake – “The Purple Album” (Frontiers Music)
Almost 3 years in the making, the roots of this album grew when Whitesnake’s legendary front man (or lion) David Coverdale learned of Jon Lord’s cancer prompting the possibility of a Deep Purple reunion. Sadly Jon passed on before the idea could take fruition but not before Coverdale had the chance to broach the idea (while mending a few fences) with Purple’s dark lord and master Ritchie Blackmore. Despite hatchets being buried, the reunion still didn’t take off and Coverdale respectfully withdrew from further discussions until his wife suggested that he celebrate his 3 album legacy with Purple. Needing no further prompting, Coverdale and Whitesnake immediately set to work hand picking their favorite numbers from “Burn”, “Stormbringer” and “Come Taste The Wine” before heading straight off to the band’s new recording studio, Hook City in Reno, Nevada, where Coverdale has resided for over two decades. Listening to the kick ass ‘Burn’ and ‘Stormbringer’ it’s clear this isn’t some cash in retro trip, but rather full on, snaked up versions of these classics given a re-energized modern rock sound but still with Coverdale’s unmistakeable voice at the helm. At the time controversial for blending 70s hard rock with soul and funk elements, so much so that Ritchie Blackmore eventually left displaying his public disgust, these songs are now devoid of Glenn Hughes’s yelps and bass slapping (for which some grateful people have been living in hope for). With a totally rocked up sound the guitars of Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra are now left to run totally riot (which they do) in lieu of any omitted funky grooves like on ‘Might Just Take Your Life’, now more straight up but with even deeper soul. With legendary hard hitting drummer Tommy Aldridge still kicking the cans to hammer in even more rock, Ritchie might be retching once again at the downplay of his blues on ‘Mistreated’, although this new rocked out version actually see’s Coverdale’s vocals amplifying the passion in what must be one of his stand out vocal performances. Close to half a century on, “The Purple Album” answers the what-if question if Deep Purple had stayed true to the course of rock and only rock.