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item7 Whitesnake ‘The Purple Album’ | item7
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In My Opinion...

This is a regular opinion piece. It is purely MY OWN VIEWS and many will disagree with me, but that's OK, as responses and open debate are always a healthy thing. If anyone is offended by what I say, I apologise, but I just want to encourage a good healthy Tommy dialogue. Please share your views by contacting us via email or by posting on our Facebook page. ALL comments welcome!

“The Purple Album”

“It’s not hard to love the 13 songs here it’s impossible. The furnace of soul and menace that once fuelled Burn has been stripped out and replaced with an electric fireplace from Ikea, Mistreated and Stormbringer are reimaged and lobotimised heavy metal, and when he groans ‘Ooh mama’ on Love Child it sounds less like an erotic come-on, more like a sigh of relief as his oesteopath sorts out his lumbago...”

A snippet from Dave Everley’s review of Whitesnake’s ‘The Purple Album’ (Classic Rock, June 2015)

OUCH!

That surely must have it a nerve with Mr Coverdale

Um, yeah, here’s part of his response!

“How f**king dare you criticise me, dude? F**k off to your bedroom”.

A snippet from David Coverdale’s reaction in Classic Rock, July 2015

OUCH!

Everley’s review was hilarious, in an almost Lester Bangs style from back in the day – ie, bugga all actual review content, but instead a witty, but ultimately, scathing p*ss take, then again Coverdale’s responses were equally witty, so I guess it’s a draw! haha

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Personal Reflections

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Excerpts from CLASSIC ROCK, June & July 2015

I’ll be 100% honest here and readily admit that I read Dave Everley’s review and made an initial judgement before hearing it – hey, I know, WRONG on all levels, but don’t shoot me! Anyway, I recently downloaded it from iTunes and was in a position to make my own ‘OBJECTIVE’ appraisal.

First of all, it’s not as bad as I was led to believe, infact there are some fantastic moments on the 15 tracks (I bought the Deluxe version with 2 Bolin-era bonus tracks), but it has it’s flaws – BIG flaws. I was and still am a huge fan of the Coverdale/Hughes incarnation of Deep Purple, I particularly appreciated the more ‘soulful’ groove that Mk 3 & Mk 4 displayed. Burn had a blues/RnB feel, Stormbringer was more soulful and Come Taste the Band had the funk factor. In my view, much of that ‘soul’ and ‘swing’ factor is replaced by a more ‘metal’ approach on The Purple Album, much in the same way the latterday Whitesnake replaced the early band’s more bluesy feel with a harder, arguably, less subtle approach.

Burn – Not too Hot!
Proceedings kick off with Burn, and immediately I agree with some of Everley’s sentiments. It's light years away from the class of the original, it's way too metallic for these ears and the initial tasteful start of the guitar solo quickly becomes an Yngwie-like widdly diddly affair. Dare I say it, Burn and a few of the other tracks sound over produced (not to mention, overly compressed) and formulaic. At times it reminds me of one of those ‘Various’ tribute albums – faultless playing and production, but at the same time, sterile! Yes, there are some horrible moments here, ‘Lay Down, Stay Down’ is well and truly butchered as is Stormbringer, Lady Double Dealer and, to an lesser extent, Mistreated.

Tasteful
However, it's not all negatives – Sail Away is given a beautiful, tasteful workout, as is Holy Man, an interesting choice considering it was Glenn Hughes who sang on the original. Soldier of Fortune is probably my favourite, Coverdale actually sounding more relaxed with the whole vocal treatment than on the original – I always felt that he pushed too hard toward the end of the Burn recording. You Fool No One has a nice bluesy harp intro before unfortunately quickly morphing into the inevitable metallic ‘crash and bang’ – I personally think it would’ve been interesting to continue on that initial feel and ‘soften’ as opposed to ‘harden’ the proceedings. Ditto, Might Just Take Your Life – a really nice swampy/bluesy intro, again I think real potential for a different and more earthy take lost! OK, so you can obviously see that I fit into the early version of the Moody/Marsden camp than the latter day versions – so this release will no doubt appeal more to those fans of the latter.

Mk 4 Tracks
The Mk4 tracks are disappointing. You Keep On Moving is my pick, with its almost ‘Chris Issac’ feel to the quitar intro. It’s generally faithfull to the original, but let down by an overly frenetic guitar solo, which is at odds with the moodfullness of the rest of the song. Love Child is predictably ‘metallised’ which is unfortunate considering that there was real potential to focus on the huge swing of the riff. I think it would have benefitted from a slower, more funky approach, which I believe applies to Lady Luck also, – again way too fast and lacking the original swing and feel. Comin' Home is my weakest pick from the Mk 4 era, (admittadly never my favourite track from CTTB) – it’s given a real muscular workout with chugging and harmonised guitars.

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Worth Buying?
Although The Purple Album doesn’t really do it for me personally, there are enough positives for me to warrant it's inclusion within my Purple related collection. I don’t think it deserved the complete panning Dave Everley gave it, though did think his review was (naughtily) hilarious.
As with most tribute albums in general, I sometimes questioned the relevance of The Purple Album, personally I would have preferred Coverdale to breath new and ‘different’ life into the tracks. The inevitable comparisons to the originals aren't helped by the fact that MOST of the tracks (except for Sail Away) are arguably too close – and, despite Reb Beach and Joe Hoekstra proving their expertise on guitar duties, no one can surpass the brilliance of Blackmore & Bolin.
I’m always open to new versions/interpretations of any of these songs and I recall back in day, Whitesnake and Rainbow did amazing live versions of Mistreated – each band respectively giving the song a new, and different, dynamic. However apart from the afore-mentioned positives, I feel much of the original sensitivities of the songs have been replaced by a more unforgiving metallic approach, at times bordering on the ‘formulaic’. Coverdale has earned the right to do whatever he wants (well, to a point) and I’m sure his intentions were to both celebrate and spread the word in regard to these wonderfull tracks – it’s just not to my personal taste. However, it will definately appeal to many and if it introduces younger fans to the Mk 3 and Mk 4 incarnations of Purple, then job well done. I only hope it will inspire them to revisit the songs in their original format and hopefully enjoy Whitesnake and Deep Purple as the great band they are.

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My Coverdale Top 20

Alongside Robert Palmer, Jimmy Dewar, Glenn Hughes & Paul Rogers, David Coverdale is one of my favourite all-time vocalists. I personally think his depth and soul is better suited to a more ‘bluesy’ style as opposed to out and out ‘rock’ and this is pretty evident in my own favourite 20 tunes he's featured on. Oddly enough, even though Come Taste the Band is probably my favourite album ever, not one of the songs appear in my list (even though his singing on it is great)!

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‘Goldies Place’
From David Coverdale's Whitesnake, 1977
Love the deep, sleazy vocal, totally suited to his deep timbre.

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‘Aint Gonna Cry No More’
From Whitesnake's, Ready & Willing, 1980
Sounded great live as well.

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‘Looking for Love’
From Whitesnake's, 1987, 1987
Totally underrated song. Would be interesting a live version of this.

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‘The Time is Right for Love’
From Whitesnake's, Trouble, 1978
Totally dated of course, but always loved the funky groove of this.

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‘Queen of Hearts’
From David Coverdale's, Northwinds, 1977
One of the heavier tracks from the album, but manages to retain an element of funk and swagger

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‘Behind the Smile’
From Roger Glover's, Butterfly Ball, 1975
Love that DEEP tone, totally cool! The live version on You Tube really kicks some butt!

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‘Money to Burn’
From Eddie Hardin's, Wizard's Conventionl, 1975
Nice and funky, again love his tone. Glenn Hughes and Jon Lord also featured on this album.

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‘Help Me Through the Day’
From Whitesnake's, Love Hunter, 1979
A beautiful slow paced song with a heartfelt vocal.

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‘Hold On’
From Deep Purple's, Stormbringer, 1974
Both Coverdale and Hughes in soulful voice. Love Blackmore's understated solo.

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‘Northwinds’
From David Coverdale's, Northwinds, 1977
A forgotten gem, very classy!

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‘Blindman’
From David Coverdale's, Whitesnake, 1977
A beautiful song. Also love the version on ‘Ready & Willing’ but feel that this version is more heartfelt and builds up to a nice crescendo.

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‘Walking in the Shadow of the Blues’
From Whitesnake's Live in the Heart of the City, 1980
A real bluesy belter. I don't normally like the ‘gallop’ rhythm (ala Iron Maiden), but it works brilliantly here. Original version on ‘Love Hunter’ also great!

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‘Lonely Days, Lonely Nights’
From Whitesnake's, Love Hunter, 1979
Another bluesy number with a totally cliched lyric (...women & whisky are my only friends...) LOVE IT! Beautiful guitar by Marsden.

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‘Keep On Giving Me Love’
From David Coverdale's, Northwinds, 1977
A heavy, DIRTY groove, would have sounded good live.

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‘Sailing Ships’
From Whitesnake's, Starkers In Tokyo, 1997
Just Coverdale and an acoustic Vandenburg. The whole album shows Coverdale singing old classics beautifully. Original version on ‘Slip of the Tongue’ is great but ruined by Vai's OTT solo.

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‘Love Don't Mean A thing’
From Deep Purple's, Stormbringer, 1974
One of my favourite Purple tracks, TOTALLY ‘UN-PURPLE’ haha. Funky, and laid back, Hughes and Coverdale in magnificent voice.

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‘Sail Away’
From Deep Purple's, Burn, 1973
Unbelivable vocals from both Glenn & David. Nice ‘Superstition’ feel to song.

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‘Aint No Love in the Heart of the City’
From Whitesnake's Live in the Heart of the City, 1980
Beautifully sung and played. A Whitesnake classic!

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‘River Song’
From David Coverdale's Into the Light, 2000
Cliched as hell, but all the better for it. It's THAT tone he gets, plus a great tune! Oh, I live by a river as well, so no bias there ... haha!

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‘Breakdown’
From David Coverdale's Whitesnake, 1977
Powerful, a bit of punk attitude with added BALLS!!!!!! One of Coverdale's most HONEST songs! Micky Moody in fiery form as well. This would sound amazing live and it's a real shame he didn't (as far as I know) revisit it.

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My No 1 Coverdale track
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‘DODGIEST’ Dave Moment

Hmmmm, where the hell do we start? Pretty much all of the early album titles (apparently one album was going to be called, ‘Liquor & Poker’) and some of the covers There's a few lines in “Take Me With You” which are up there, but I think the funniest is the lyric in “Would I Lie to You’... It's not so much the actual wording but the DELIVERY!

“Would I lie to you? ... Just to get in your pants ... I think so!”

David, naughty naughty, not very PC old chap!

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Other Opinions

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