Whitesnake: The Purple Album review

Anytime a band gets together to redo songs that were already recorded and released it inevitably leaves the fans of the music divided, with some in favor and some against and the new album from Whitesnake on Frontiers Records entitled The Purple Album is no exception.

The album is Whitesnake’s twelfth studio opus and revisits the Deep Purple studio albums Burn, Stormbringer and Come Taste the Band that David Coverdale sang on from 1973-1976. The Purple Album is meant to be a loving homage to Coverdale’s former band mates that gave him his start in music over 40 years ago.

The album came from an attempted reunion of Deep Purple after the passing of keyboard legend Jon Lord in 2012 that didn’t quite come to fruition when talks between Coverdale and founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore stalled out.

The Purple Album was recorded & mixed by Coverdale and was co-produced with the help of Michael McIntyre & Whitesnake guitarist Reb Beach and is by no means meant to compare or compete with the Deep Purple classics. It was just David Coverdale’s desire to take a trip down memory lane and put a contemporary spin on the stunning originals.

Let’s start by saying the entire affair benefits greatly from modern production equipment and the scorching solos from guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra. It must also be mentioned that guest keyboardist Michele Luppi does an excellent job trying to fill the massive shoes of the late, great Jon Lord.

Most of the songs stay close to the brilliant originals and David Coverdale’s voice is as bluesy and soulful as ever, but it is the little liberties taken with tracks like “You Fool No One” and “Might Just Take Your Life” that really breathe new life into the project.

Somewhat lesser known songs like “Love Child” and “Lay Down, Stay Down” are much heavier than before, but it’s monster hits like “Burn,” “Lady Double Dealer,” “Mistreated” and “Stormbringer” that still resonate the loudest and make the biggest impact.

“The Gypsy” and “You Keep on Moving” really showcase the rhythm section of bassist Michael Devin and drummer Tommy Aldridge, who do a fantastic job emulating Glen Hughes and Ian Paice, while slower numbers like “Sail Away,” “Holy Man” and “Soldier Of Fortune” have stood the test of time, aging rather like a fine wine.

Here’s the bottom line. With several songs clocking in between 5 to 7 minutes you certainly get your money’s worth. Add in the two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition and the bonus DVD that contains 4 videos, plus behind the scenes footage and you can’t possibly go wrong.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Eric Hunker