Ritchie Blackmore left the band after the last album, ‘Stormbringer’, due to creative differences with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. I find this funny considering Ritchie brought them in to help take the band in a new direction and Ritchie ended up not liking that direction. So Deep Purple was done…or were they?
David talked Jon Lord and Ian Paice to continue and they did. Now before they could continue, they needed a new guitar player and in comes Tommy Bolin, a bloody American. This upset quite a few diehard UK Purple fans. And probably part of the reason the album didn’t do that well.
David had heard Tommy’s playing on Jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham’s solo album called ‘Spectrum’ and thought he would be perfect. And we all know now that David has an ear for great guitarists (can you say John Sykes and Steve Vai to name a couple). Tommy was a great guitar player and it is too bad his heroin addiction would take a life way too soon a little over a year after the album’s release.
Deep Purple would continue and this would end up being the first Deep Purple album to not feature either Ritchie Blackmore or even Ian Gillan. As a result, a lot of people don’t really consider this a Deep Purple album. Now that is crazy because if they consider ‘Burn’ to be a Deep Purple album, then this one is as well as the sound and feel is so similar to that album and quite possibly could be better. I know I might be in the minority, but I really like this album.
The album cover is a glass of wine with the band’s picture in the glass which is nice and all, but I like the back cover with the empty glass and the woman’s red lipstick stain on the rim is really cool. I would say she ‘tasted’ the band for sure (and who knows what else she tasted). They keep the whole wine them going with the album sleeve that contains the lyrics to the songs on the front and back. In each corner of the sleeve, there are vines of leaves and grapes and the writing is all in the wine color purple.
And the last thing about the album jacket is that it was a gatefold despite only being one LP. I always love when they do that with an album. The gatefold has the band member names, all the credits and numerous pictures of each member.
Now let’s get on with the main reason we are here…the music.
The album opens with the song “Comin’ Home” which is the only song to not include Glenn Hughes on vocals or bass. Glenn was back in England dealing with a Cocaine addiction so he was not there for the completion of the record. This was the last song recorded and the only one written in the studio as everything else was written earlier.
The song opens with grandiose synth and keyboards, guitar playing and drumming. David was solo on the vocals with Tommy handling the backing vocals, lead guitar and the bass playing for this song. It is a hard-driving song and might be a better opener than “Stormbringer”, but not quite as good as “Burn”. Tommy’s guitar playing is fantastic with great riffs, solo and fills throughout.
“Lady Luck” is a Whitesnake style song and David is being David on vocals which is why we listen to him anyway. There is some wicked bass playing by Glenn Hughes throughout and just these perfect little runs thrown in. And let’s not lose focus on Ian Paice’s drumming as he is a master of the understated sometimes. “Lady Luck” was originally written by Bolin’s friend Jeff Cook years earlier. Jeff couldn’t be reached or found or whatever, and since Tommy couldn’t remember the lyrics, David wrote his own lyrics for the song. But Jeff was given writing credits for the song.
Next up is Glenn Hughes on vocals with “Gettin’ Tighter”. The song is a little funky with his bass playing and Tommy is even playing a little funkier on the guitar. Glenn kills it on vocals as there is so much he can do with that voice. But it is the funk playing on here that is the standout. A truly exciting and great track. Might be one of my favorites on the album especially with Tommy’s solo. The whole band is so tight on this one, it sounds like they are having fun.
David back on vocals with “Dealer” and the funk fest continues as Glenn’s bass is all over this one as well. For me though, David’s vocal performance and the overall song is a little lackluster (and this should clue to you in that even though this is the David Coverdale series, I don’t have to like everything he does). The interesting thing on this one is that the vocal duties are shared by Tommy Bolin which is the first time in the last three albums that it was anyone other than David or Glenn. The only great thing on this song is Tommy’s solo.
And the last track on Side I is “I Need Love” another Coverdale led song, but Glenn’s bass playing is again the star. The funk on this album is ridiculous, it is everywhere. That isn’t a criticism at all, only stating fact. Tommy’s funky guitar playing is played to compliment the bass and enhance the sound not overpower it. For David, this song is a little better than “Dealer”, but not by much. The musicianship is really the highlight.
Side II opens with “Drifter”, a rocker of a track with some exceptional playing by Tommy. David is much better on here and the song rocks out a little with some blues feel to it and of course a little funk thrown in for good measure. It is a great way to get the juices flowing for side 2.
“Love Child” lays down a menacing guitar riff and the bass groove is a little ominous and nothing short of outstanding. It is bluesy and it has one of my favorite things, some Jon Lord synth playing which even gets funky. And dang, those Ian Paice’s fills are quite lovely. Overall a fantastic song.
Now probably the best song of the album is in two parts. Part one is the song “This Time Around” which is sung by Glenn Hughes. It is a slowed down, jazz influenced track that is so sexy and filled with piano, heavy bass and Glenn showing the range and versatility in his voice. It is the one song that you could say is NOT Deep Purple in any way. I think Glenn’s vocals on this song and all his songs are better than David’s.
And Part Two is “Ode to G” which is all instrumental that starts with a heavy drum beat and picks up the pace. You have the groove section of Glenn, Ian and Jon laying it down for Tommy to overlay the guitar parts which are splendid and explosive at times, understated at times and all with a funk groove that takes you to another place.
The album ends with “You Keep On Moving” which was actually written back for the ‘Burn’ album, but Ritchie nixed it so since he wasn’t around anymore, guess what, they can use it now. It starts out slow with the bass groove and then Glenn and David come in together with the vocals in such a smooth and sexy way you want to turn the lights down and get busy with the one you are with. They beat builds up as the passion and the heat build and you know the rest. We get some Jon Lord highlights as he jams on the keyboards and you get another fantastic solo by Tommy and everyone is hitting their stride. A fantastic beast of a song to end the album on because now I want to spin it again.
- Comin’ Home – Keeper
- Lady Luck – Keeper
- Gettin’ Tighter – Keeper
- Dealer – Delete
- I Need Love – Keeper (1/2 point)
- The Drifter – Keeper
- Love Child – Keeper
- This Time Around / Owed to ‘G’ – Keeper
- You Keep On Moving – Keeper
The track score is 7.5 out of 9 songs or 83%. The album for me was a step-up from ‘Stormbringer’ and almost as good as ‘Burn’, but not quite. ‘Burn’ has some classic Purple songs, this album has some great songs, but might not at the same level. I think Glenn Hughes had the better songs this time around and Tommy was a great addition to the band, although not Ritchie. Ian Paice’s drumming and Jon Lords tickling of those ivories is always top-notch. David was good on this album and not my favorite David album, but the overall album was excellent and I would give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. Coming off the disappointment of ‘Stormbringer’, the excitement was back for me with this one and I think people have been a little unfair with this album as it is better than the reception it received.
Thanks for stopping by. Let me know what you think and I hope you come back again for the next one in the series.
Up next…Deep Purple’s “Made in Europe”.
The David Coverdale Series:
Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):