Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Deepest Purple

When a band loses a key member or members; it usually spells doom for the soldiers who carry on. With Deep Purple losing the wonderful talent in Ian Gillan and dropping Roger Glover; it could easily be concluded that this was just the beginning of the end for one of hottest rock bands of the 1970s. Further proof in the pudding was the choice of replacements in little known David Coverdale and this funky bass player from Trapeze, Glenn Hughes. In fact, the “Burn” cover art with the members’ heads as wax candles could be a symbol for their careers melting away.

However, what we have here is the finest Deep Purple album. The songwriting is top notch and the inclusion of Coverdale and Hughes as vocalist brings a great mix of bluesy and soulful singing. Ritchie Blackmore always had an eye for talent and he didn’t miss here. The title track and the opener is one the best Purple songs. From the insane drumming of Ian Paice to the back and forth solos between Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord; this is the definition of a perfect song. The world is also introduced to the blend of Coverdale and Hughes.

The Brits keep the music flowing with the bluesy and slow rocker in “Might Just Take Your Life” which transitions to the walloping guitar riffing in “Lay Down, Stay Down.” The guitar solo is done well with a clean piano in the background to keep the beat. The back and forth between Hughes and Coverdale is also enjoyable as this is one of the standout tracks of the album.

One of the other positives is that each track is unique. “Sail Away” brings a funky edge to the proceedings with the bass riff and the Blackmore closing solo which features many wavy guitar notes sounds similar to Blackmore’s future band Rainbow’s epic “Stargazer.” Another one of the standouts is “What’s Going On Here” which sounds like a barroom rocker as I can see Lord doing the piano part while Coverdale and Hughes are enjoying the devil’s fuel in the background.

A final masterpiece is found with “Mistreated.” This is the only track with a single vocalist as Coverdale takes the helm and delivers his finest Purple performance next to “Soldier of Fortune.” His bluesy voice blends with the depressing riff provided by Blackmore perfectly and the emotional solo drives it home safely. Soothing bass and trembling drums really drive the sad mood it goes for. This is a grade A song from a grade A band.

“Burn” shows how a band can change members and deliver great music. The new blood in Hughes and Coverdale a perfect combination of soul and blues and combined with Blackmore’s trusty guitar wonders makes this an awesome album. My only quip is “You Fool No One” does not fit the Purple mode of hard rock as it is way too funky and groovy. However, the title track is I daresay the best Deep Purple song ever written. Don’t believe me? Just put this song on and feel the “burn.”

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