I have to admit right upfront that Coverdale's tenure in Deep Purple was possibly my biggest let down in my musical "journey" when I was growing up. My first introduction (outside of Smoke on the Water) to Deep Purple was 'Deep Purple in Rock' and I played that album to hell and back. Ian Gillan was THE voice of Purple and for me always will be. No one else should ever be able to stand on the stage and sing Gillans lines with the rest of Purple and call themselves Deep Purple.
Of course that was the highly over opinionated 14/15-year-old scruffy ripped jean wearing rocker who thought he knew best, always. Mind you, I didn't really equate the same David Coverdale who sang "Here I Go Again" with the same David Coverdale who sang "Burn", so there you go.
The Purple Album is obviously a loving tribute from a man who has wanted to harken back to his youth and yet keep up with his current audience. I'll be damned if he hasn't done it with this album. If you go into this with NO preconceived idea of these being cover tracks from 40 years ago, then you will be in for a treat. If you know the tracks then you will be in for a surprise that the current line up that Mr Coverdale has surrounded himself with can equip themselves well and deliver the material well.
This is not nostalgia for nostalgia sake, it's an album of songs that stand on their own two feet that could go out on tour with Whitesnake later this year and blend in well among their other material seamlessly. The Purple Album is definitely a release for this age and brings the material up to date. There have been detractors of Coverdale's voice for years, but judging by the way he wails on tracks like Stormbringer and You Fool No One, they have no basis for their claims. Obviously this is a studio effort and 'live' is a different story, but I am sure that he will give his all when he hits the stage as all professionals do and from reports about Old David, it's that he is a consummate professional.
I have purposely not compared the tracks on this release to their original versions as really this release deserves to stand on its own. You have the barnstorming opener Burn through to the soulful Sail Away that has that late night whole band just sat in a smokey room with a bottle of jack and a couple of guitars feel going on. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine Coverdale mentioned that Mistreated would be on the set list this time out on tour and if the studio version is anything to go by, concert goers are in for a treat. Whilst I mentioned that I haven't compared the revamped tracks to the originals, Mistreated is probably the highlight of the album with the ballsy blues that Coverdale is remembered for.
The regular album rounds out with the aforementioned Stormbringer, which is about as Heavy Metal as Whitesnake ever got (or will get I think). On the Deluxe version of the album, Lady Luck and Comin' Home are added to the mix and both of these are more Whitesnake sounding. Lady Luck could have been added to the main album and fitted in quite well, but in my opinion, Comin' Home is perfectly placed on 'Purple'. The added videos on the DVD are OK. It's great to see bands still making videos at all. Enjoy them whilst you can folks.
Just a few words about the band line up for this outing. It's bloody stellar. Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra on Guitars are an immense force leading a thundering attack when needed and on the softer times a gentle touch. The rhythm section ably filled out with Michael Devin on Bass and Drumming legend Tommy Aldridge. Together this band give David Coverdale a solid base to pay his homage, to say his thank you for his 40+ year career.