Whitesnake – ‘The Purple Album’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

After too many live albums released, the band finally decided to do another album.  Before that could happen, they needed a replacement guitarist as Doug Aldrich left the band on May 9th of 2014 after more than 10 years with the band.  One of the longest stretches of any guitarist.  I believe he left to go play with The Dead Daisies and do his own thing.

A replacement now needed to be found and it was about 3-4 months later that Joel Hoekstra was tagged as the replacement guitarist.  Joel had been playing with Night Ranger previously and he figured this was a higher profit (I mean higher profile) band and he is not wrong about that.  Joel is fantastic and he has his own solo stuff as well as playing with Cher and TSO for their Christmas Tours.  The rest of the line-up is as follows:

  • David Coverdale – vocals
  • Reb Beach – guitar
  • Tommy Aldridge – drums
  • Michael Devin – bass
  • Joel Hoekstra – guitar

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Now that the band was fully staffed again, a new album was in the works.  This time around, thankfully not a live album, but it was only a covers album.  Not just any covers album, no that had been done a million times, this one focused on only one band.  Deep Purple!  David decided he wanted to record a Deep Purple collection of the best songs from his era of that famous band.  The funny thing about this is that David tried so hard to not mention or play anything from Purple while being Whitesnake from the eaerly 90’s and back.  You never heard a song by Purple in the setlist.  That changed in the late 90’s when a song or two would show up.  Now, David wanted to pay tribute and an homage to that wonderful time in his life. 

The album, released on April 29, 2015, covers the Deep Purple Mark III & IV of the band’s timeline.  That era is only the 3 albums ‘Burn’, ‘Stormbringer’ and ‘Come Taste the Band’.  If you get the normal version of the album, you only get 2 songs from ‘Come Taste the Band’, but the Deluxe version gives you 2 more tracks both from ‘Come Taste the Band’ to then give you a better distribution of songs per album.  I will admit, I wasn’t overly excited when this album came out.

The Deep Purple songs are some classic songs and without Glenn Hughes on backing vocals, and on vocals, I didn’t think they would be able to capture the right sound as Glenn added so much to these songs.  And, I was right.  The songs were lacking that Hughes magic.  I also don’t think the songs are all played in the same key as David has lost a little in the vocal talents even though he is still one of the best in the business.

It doesn’t mean that the album is bad. It just means not all the songs work as well as the original versions.  The album opens with “Burn” which is one of the best songs Deep Purple or David has ever done.  The song rocks here as well.  As much as they stay true to the Deep Purple sound, the band brings the songs in to the 21st Century and give them that hard rocking flare.  Reb & Joel’s guitar work is phenomenal and they give it their all to bring their own style and stay true to the songs.

Then comes that  harmonica, by Michael, blazing out of the gate for “You Fool No One” and nasty little riff before David comes out and brings his smooth, sultry vocals for this gem.  The heaviness of this song and the playing I swear feels like some prog metal band.  Really cool stuff. “Love Child” has as much energy, but it sounds too much like Whitesnake and not enough of the synths that Jon Lord would’ve played and it is missing some of the Ian Paice magic as well in the drum-fills.

David has to do some ballads as he loves his ballads.  The first one up is “Sail Away” is too much like “Sailing Ships” and doesn’t have the funked up bass of Hughes the original had which is too bad.  Next up is “The Gypsy” which is an understated song to begin with and they keep that same vibe, but lacking anything exciting to make it stand out.

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Then we get to another favorite of mine with “Lady Double Dealer” which is a high paced, high energy rock & roll beast.  The barrage of drum hits at the opening and the vocal prowess of Coverdale keep this one enjoyable and still keep it as a favorite.  Speaking of favorites, “Mistreated” comes at you with a heavy bluesiness that is what the doctor ordered.  Michael Devin brings the thumping bass as Reb & Joel add a nice layer of guitars with a great solo.  This is also a classic Coverdale vocal performance and the way he lays down the verses and that blues grit is what I love about him.

“Holy Man” is an interesting choice as Glenn Hughes sang this originally so it is an interesting take with Coverdale on vocals.  I will admit I didn’t like the overall of feel of this song with Glenn and sadly not much better with David.  Not a fan of the song as it is missing a payoff.  Then we get a nasty Steel Guitar to open “Might Just Take Your Life” and David comes in with a lot of vocal effects on his voice.  They do a decent enough version, but with no Glenn on backing vocals and the lack of the Jon Lord keyboards, it doesn’t hold up as well.

They slow things down with “You Keep On Moving” which has David singing all sultry and sexy accompanied by a nice bass line.  The heat keeps building as does the tempo and this time you get some good keyboards layered in like you would’ve had in the original and then throw in another great solo and its not a bad version.

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Things stay slow as they now do “Soldier of Fortune” which David had done for the Starker in Tokyo album so this one had been done before in an acoustic version.  It is such a beautiful song so it is hard for him to mess this one up and he doesn’t.  However, I will take the Starker’s version over this one.  And then the Snake is back with a rocker when the come driving hard in to “Lay Down Stay Down”.  No Glenn and David battling back and forth with the vocals and this time it is okay with no Glenn.  The song has such a great energy and the guitar solo is what takes it up a notch.  All around great performance by the guys.

The regular version of the album ends with “Stormbringer” and what a way to go out.  Tommy’s drum beat and Michael’s bass bring a great rhythm section that pushes the song forward.  David is on fire vocally and gives so much passion in those vocals, you can tell he loves this song.  One of the classic Purple songs from that era and you can see why. Joel & Reb attack the guitars with a veracity that they bring the storm with them and destroy everything in sight!  They got this one right, no doubt.

The Deluxe Edition (which I have) gives you two more songs from ‘Come Taste The Band” so you have to get this for that reason as that album is too good to not be represented more here. The Deluxe also comes with a DVD that gives you 4 music videos and a little behind the scenes look of the making of the album.  All this makes the Deluxe worth having.

I am not going to do a track score for this one as it doesn’t seem right for some reason.  I want to focus on the overall feel of the album.  Now, the overall feel of the album is definitely more Whitesnake than Deep Purple and that is what it should be, but I have to admit the lack of Glenn Hughes funk-filled bass and those hellacious backing vocals do leave something missing.  I did enjoy the album, but if I want to hear these songs I am going to pull out my Deep Purple albums, let’s be honest.  I am glad it is in my collection, but it won’t get pulled out that often.  My score for that matter isn’t horrible, it is a solid 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars as it is not a bad album at all.  There are some great moments and you can tell that David really does love and cherish that time in his life and you have to respect that.  He doesn’t lack passion for his songs.

Up next…Whitesnake – The Purple Tour (Live)

The David Coverdale Series:

  1. Deep Purple – Burn
  2. Deep Purple – Stormbringer
  3. Deep Purple – Come Taste the Band
  4. Deep Purple – Made in Europe
  5. David Coverdale – Whitesnake
  6. Deep Purple – Last Concert in Japan
  7. David Coverdale – Northwinds
  8. David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite
  9. Whitesnake – Trouble
  10. Whitesnake – Lovehunter
  11. Whitesnake – Ready an’ Willing
  12. Whitesnake – Live…in the Heart of the City
  13. Whitesnake – Come An’ Get it
  14. Deep Purple – Live in London
  15. Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners
  16. Whitesnake – Slide It In
  17. Whitesnake – “Give Me More Time” 12″ Single (Bonus Review)
  18. Whitesnake – ‘The Best of Whitesnake (Bonus Review – 1982 release)
  19. Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987)
  20. Whitesnake – “Is This Love” 12″ Promo (Bonus Review)
  21. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue
  22. David Coverdale – “The Last Note of Freedom” – Single Review
  23. Coverdale/Page – Coverdale/Page
  24. Coverdale/Page – “Take Me For A Little While 12” Single (Bonus Review)
  25. David Coverdale & Whitesnake – Restless Heart
  26. Whitesnake – Starkers in Tokyo
  27. David Coverdale – Into the Night
  28. Whitesnake – Live…In the Still of the Night (DVD)
  29. Whitesnake – Live…In the Shadow of the Blues
  30. Whitesnake – Good To Be Bad
  31. Whitesnake – Forevermore
  32. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990: Monsters of Rock
  33. Whitesnake – The Purple Album

Other David Coverdale Albums reviewed – (Box Sets and Bootlegs):

  1. Whitesnake – 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  2. Whitesnake – Slide It In (35th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  3. Whitesnake – Unzipped – Box Set
  4. Whitesnake – Slip of the Tongue (30th Anniversary Edition) – Box Set
  5. Whitesnake (Snake) – Still of the Night Live in Battle Creek, Mich. July 26, 1987 (Bootleg)

13 thoughts on “Whitesnake – ‘The Purple Album’ – Album Review (The David Coverdale Series)

  1. I had a very similar review when I did mine on this album. This album is just so inessential, and Hughes’ absence is very noticeable. “Gypsy” is the only song from the bunch that I’d consider putting on a mix CD, and maybe “Burn”. Acoustic “Sail Away” was a mistake too.

    The one line in mine that really summed it all up was “The Purple Album is essentially an hour and six minutes of David Coverdale singing songs not as well as he used to”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reb Beach soloing on Mistreated. Worth the price for me. Lol
    And I agree with your 3/5 review as well.
    As to why DC would cover this period well it’s all part of the Frontiers President to lock up as many classic songs as he can under copyright. These recorded forgeries versions will now remain with Frontiers for at least 100 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I skipped this outright.Think I was burnt out on these kind of albums being recorded as I’m not big on remakes after remakes.
    Cov’s work ethic is excellent so I will give him that but yeah just burnt out on these kind of shenanigans.

    Liked by 1 person

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