It’s been said that with higher risk comes higher reward. Whitesnake definitely takes some chances and swings for the fences with their latest release, The Purple Album. As the name implies, The Purple Album has Coverdale and company revisiting classic tracks from his days in Deep Purple MK III and IV. Coverdale has stated that the origins of the album were born from a recent failed attempt at a reunion with Deep Purple founder and guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore. Nearly shelved, it was Coverdale’s own wife that suggested he keep the project alive with Whitesnake.
I’ll admit, I went into this with a fair amount of trepidation and was prepared to be disappointed. As a fan of Deep Purple, particularly the era with Coverdale, as well as Whitesnake, I was a bit weary as to how the current incarnation of Whitesnake would approach these classic songs. I knew they would have to walk a fine line as it’s an impossible task recreate the magic Coverdale, Hughes, Blackmore, Lord, Paice, and Bolin created 40 years ago. I’ll admit the while listening, I couldn’t help but miss Glenn Hughes and Jon Lord at times, but throughout Whitesnake delivers, “re-imagining”, as Coverdale has said, without trying to recreate.
There were also some questions swirling around the Whitesnake camp as well going in. Had Coverdale recovered from his vocal issues? The band had not released a studio album since 2011’s Forevermore, opting to release four various live albums over that span instead, two of which, while excellent, were not from the current era. Also, how would the recent departure of long-time guitarist, Doug Aldrich impact the band? While Aldrich is definitely missed, Joel Hoekstra seems a perfect fit for the band, combining his own style with elements Aldrich and classic Whitesnake guitarist, John Sykes. Hoekstra, along with long-time guitarist, Reb Beach, Michael Devin on bass, newcomer Michele Luppi on keyboards, and the return on the legendary drummer Tommy Aldridge create a formidable Whitesnake line-up and deliver a superb and inspired performance. While Coverdale is not 22 years old anymore, his vocal issues appear to be behind him. He does a fantastic job revisiting his classic tunes 40 years on.
If you are a fan of Deep Purple MK III/IV and Whitesnake, this record is really a must-have. The Purple Album is far from a band simply mailing it in, fulfilling a contractual obligation, or releasing an album of covers. This is a collection of Deep Purple classics is tastefully and respectfully revisited by today’s Whitesnake. Pick up the deluxe version, especially if you are fan of Come Taste the Band as the two additional audio tracks come from that record. The deluxe version also includes companion DVD with four videos and a behind the scenes documentary.
The track list pretty evenly represents the three record arc of the Coverdale period of Deep Purple. There 6 tracks from 1974’s Burn, 5 from the same year’s Stormbringer, and 2 from 1976’s Come Taste the Band (4 with the deluxe version). Highlights are “Soldier of Fortune”, “Lady Double Dealer”, classic title tracks “Burn” and “Stormbringer”, and “Sail Away” with its musical tribute to the late Jon Lord.
- You Fool No One
- Love Child
- Sail Away
- The Gypsy
- Lady Double Dealer
- Holy Man
- Might Just Take Your Life
- You Keep On Moving
- Soldier Of Fortune
- Lay Down Stay Down
- Lady Luck (Deluxe Version Bonus Track)
- Comin Home (Deluxe Version Bonus Track)
Soldier of Fortune (official video)