Album Review: Whitesnake – “The Purple Album”

The Purple Album
(Frontiers Records)

The Purple Album is the 12th studio album by British-American hard rock band Whitesnake. It contains remakes of songs from Deep Purple band lineups Mark III and Mark IV when David Coverdale was the singer. Coverdale’s stay in Deep Purple consisted of less than two and a half years from August 1973 and March 1976. His stay in the band helped create the albums Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste the Band, and those first two albums featuring the classic Lord/Paice/Blackmore axis along with newcomer Glen Hughes. By the time of his last album in the band Come Taste the Band, Blackmore was gone, replaced by Tommy Bolin and formed Rainbow.

Kicking off with “Burn,” the song that introduced him to the rock ’n’ roll masses and it’s still a fantastic song that has been given a renewed vigor. Things take a wild and bluesy turn on “You Fool No One” which gets the adrenalin flowing as Coverdale’s vocals glide over the track and the guitars pile up behind him. The whole album has energy and strength to it and it shows in the songs that are on here. As far as song selection goes the Burn album is the best represented here with six of its eight songs re-interpreted, five from Stormbringer, and only two songs from Come Taste the Band. No matter what your views on revisiting old material as opposed to producing new songs, it’s almost impossible to listen to The Purple Album without a real sense of joy and a huge smile spreading across the face. Of course there is nothing too radical in any of the reinterpretations and the essence of the songs is treated with reverence, but I don’t think anyone was hoping for different versions of these songs. Its tracks like “Mistreated,” “Soldier of Fortune,” “Lady Double Dealer,” and “Lay Down Stay Down” show how Coverdale went from Deep Purple to Whitesnake and you’ll see that they sound just as good now as they did then. As you listen to these new versions of these songs, you get the feeling of love and reverence that Coverdale has for them and the time he spent with Deep Purple. The performance of the band is fantastic with the power and sweetness of the songs present, of course it sounds more modern, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of these songs.

If you are looking for carbon copies of the songs, you’re not going to find that here, just a band playing their hearts out and having a great time with songs that mean a lot to them. I love it when you can hear an album that sounds both familiar and fresh at the same time. (Rick Ecker)

Purchase The Purple Album here.

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