The link between Whitesnake and Deep Purple is not a very hard one. British born singer David Coverdale used to sing for the legendary English hard rock band before forming Whitesnake and bringing blues infused rock music to the mainstream. Today, Whitesnake pays tribute to Purple, or at least Coverdale’s Purple.
Aah, 1974. The year Abba conquered Europe and the world with their hit song Waterloo, West Germany won their very own world cup and David Coverdale replaced Ian Gillan in Deep purple. Lots have changed in those forty years. Abba has ceased to exist, Germany was united and have won two more world cups since. But more importantly for this article: Ian Gillan returned to Deep Purple and Coverdale went on to form his own band Whitesnake.
We take another leap in time to 2012, when long time Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord died from pancreatic cancer. That’s when Coverdale first tried to bring an all star tribute to the late songwriter. When that didn’t quite work out, Coverdale decided to use his own musicians to cover some of his Deep Purple tracks. The result can now be heard on ‘The Purple Album’.
The record features some quintessential tracks such as Burn or Mistreated, and some lesser known work as well. One of the things that becomes clear almost immediately when listening to the former of those songs, is that Coverdale isn’t quite the singer he used to be anymore. The latter one is quite the disappointment too. It completely lacks the feel Ritchie Blackmore gave to the original.
It’s not all bad though. Some songs have gotten a new touch and those seem to work out fine. Some prime examples can be found during You Fool No One. The greasy intro riffing of Sail Away was cut and the song has become a nice acoustic piece. The song was actually turned into some sort of Elegy to Lord.
All in all, the idea of bringing hommage to Lord is still a good one. The album to me is more of a must have for diehard fans only. While not that bad, most songs do lack the feel that especially Blackmore and Lord gave to the Deep Purple sound. Nevertheless, I’ll still be on the look out for when they come visit Belgium on december first (my birthday btw) later this year in Forest National, when they will be playing Deep Purple songs alongside their own classics such as Here I Go Again and Is This Love. Now that would be something worthwile to look forward to.