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Whitesnake - 2015 The Purple Album



ARTIST: Whitesnake
ALBUM: The Purple Album
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 683
YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: David Coverdale - vocals * Reb Beach, Joel Hoekstra - guitars * Michael Devin - bass * Tommy Aldridge - drums * Michele Luppi - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Burn * 02 You Fool No One (Interpolating Itchy Fingers) * 03 Love Child * 04 Sail Away * 05 The Gypsy * 06 Lady Double Dealer * 07 Mistreated * 08 Holy Man * 09 Might Just Take Your Life * 10 You Keep On Moving * 11 Soldier of Fortune * 12 Lay Down Stay Down * 13 Stormbringer

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.whitesnake.com


Background
If you've ever immersed yourself in the dusty bowels of the Glory Daze archives then you may have read the numerous Deep Purple articles among its recesses. It's no secret I'm a huge fan of both MK 3 and 4 Deep Purple lineups, something reflected in the 'Burn', 'Stormbringer' and 'Come Taste The Band' reviews especially. Therefore it was with some trepidation with which I received the news of this latest venture from Whitesnake. There is no way the classic originals can ever be replicated in any form, that's obvious, but I have to admit to being curious to hear how David Coverdale approached these songs some four decades since he first sang them. What his real motives are for this are anybody's guess, maybe he just couldn't be bothered creating new material, which would be understandable. Nevertheless here is the completed article, with David and his bland lineup retreading hallowed ground. Coverdale claims the intent was to give the songs a new identity and not simply copy them note for note. Did he succeed? Well I'm not sure several hundred words could capture that thought.. Listening to this album is a joyless experience. The reasons are numerous, but mainly the problems lie with the distinct lack of heaviness and Coverdale's vocals. To decipher this it's necessary to analyze every track.


The Songs
'Burn' - This is far from the first time this track has ever been covered, Glenn Hughes did a good job back in 1994 with Europe as his backing band and it was more convincing than this. Yes this is technically precise and faithful to the original (mostly) but it just reeks of dullness, the hired guns going through the motions and without an ounce of the originals menace and heaviness. Coverdale's age has impaired his vocals and he sounds like an impersonator, not the guy who burst on the scene back in 1974 with such vitality.

'You Fool No One' - This fellow 'Burn' track loses all its original impact here. Where's the crunch? I don't hear it at all, cover or not. The guitar work tends to bore, the wankery on display the total opposite of the feel a legend like Ritchie Blackmore provided. This just makes me want to skip tracks.

'Love Child' - Which is what I did, leading to this selection from 'Come Taste The Band'. This one sounds like a vehicle for the late 80's versions of Whitesnake, as if it's a reject from 'Slip Of The Tongue'. This is where Coverdale's vocals really grate on my nerves. He's doing the high pitched squeal, the opposite of his original performance in 1975. It's bloody awful and if this was a new song I'd never heard before I'd probably reject it.

'Sail Away' - Coverdale tries to mix it up here, making this an acoustic version of the 'Burn' favourite. The original was a moody, tense track, but this restrained cover is probably apt because it would never compete otherwise. It sounds like a different song and in this case that's a good idea.

'The Gypsy' - This misses the power of Ian Paice, who excelled on the original and everything else too. It's stunning how faceless these songs are in this guise. Some may disagree, but here it's just an emotionless affair, this track paling so badly to the original it truly makes me sick.

'Lady Double Dealer' - This has always been one of my favourite Purple tracks and was one of the best on the 'Stormbringer' album. Coverdale tries to maintain the heaviness of the original, but again he stuffs it up with his vocals, again opting for the higher range and abandoning the deep-throated style which was so endearing all those moons ago. It makes matters unbearable and with all the unnecessary guitar licks it falls flat.

'Mistreated' - This masterpiece showed what a rare find Coverdale was in 1974 and belting it out 41 years later he at least is sticking to his original vocal style for once. He does the best he can, but this is labored and doesn't add anything new to the mix.

'Holy Man' - Without Glenn Hughes a lot of these songs really suffer, as he played such a pivotal role in so many of them, including this classic. This one has an acoustic feel too, very modernized and far removed from the original. It's better for it, but it hardly makes me want to listen to it all the same. I keep thinking I'm listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd rather than Deep Purple.

'Might Just Take Your Life' - This time the direction is extreme bluegrass, with some swampy guitar work and megaphone type effects providing distortion for Coverdale in the intro. Obviously he saw the need to try and add a new twist which was wise, but it doesn't translate into anything sustainable or lasting. This just puts me to sleep.

'You Keep On Moving' - Another dull retread which shows how good Tommy Bolin was. Together Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra can't compete with that type of genius, regardless of their talent. Coverdale pulls off the vocals well, but I know for sure I won't be listening to this again.

'Soldier Of Fortune' - Coverdale's been fond of playing this one over the years and this is a faithful rendition, close to the spirit of the original, probably more than any cover on the album. This is the best vocal of Coverdale's on offer, simply because it sounds like it could still be 1974.

'Lay Down Stay Down' - The raucous original was reckless abandon and as such this gormless remake is nothing of the sort, with the excruciating guitar theatrics sounding like the worst of some 1980's guitar hero blazing the fret board with no identity.

'Stormbringer' - The original is always imposing, with a riff ahead of its time from Blackmore that was state of the art heavy metal for 1974. This is just some cover band with no passion or feel to their work who just happen to have the original vocalist of the song on hand. This lineup has always bored me (Hoekstra interchangeable with Doug Aldrich) and this track like all the others is mind numbingly dull.


In Summary
Cover albums are always a poor idea and just because Coverdale was the original vocalist on these doesn't mean they should be desecrated like this. The biggest indictment I can incur on this is that it made me want to listen to the originals, like any cover album invariably does. To me there's no point remaking an album of already perfect songs and some of the greatest tracks in rock history. I know Coverdale claims his motives are genuine, paying homage to the band who gave him his start, but the redundancy of this exercise is too great to comprehend. I'm sure longtime Purple and Whitesnake fans will give it a compulsory listen, but this doesn't move me, which was to be expected I suppose. What's the lasting value? Who'll still be listening to this in a year or even a week later? For the extreme purist only I say and even that's pushing it.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Whitesnake 
 
Comments
#1 | gdazegod on May 12 2015 00:05:03
Whitesnake - 2015 Stormbringer
YouTube Video:
#2 | englandashes on May 12 2015 22:59:41
I will get round to listening this, rather than buying it, but i am wary because of the pig's ear he made out of "fool for your lovin"' and that was a Whitesnake number.
#3 | gdazegod on May 13 2015 00:45:23
I still enjoy the early Whitesnake albums. 'Ready And Willing' was a staple diet for me during high school.
#4 | englandashes on May 13 2015 23:51:35
Yep, agree George, meant to get around at some point to review Come an Get It and Slide It In, both glaring omissions at the moment.
#5 | Jez on February 02 2016 13:01:37
A 'Tribute' to the mark III and IV era of Deep Purple from Coverdale and his new line up. It fares pretty well with some choice cuts from the 'Burn', 'Stormbringer' and 'Come Taste The Band' albums. Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra add the guitar flourish and Coverdale still sounds pretty good throughout. I would have preferred a brand new album of new material if i'm honest, but this is still a very enjoyable hour or so of listening pleasure
 
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