The Purple Album

You’re on particularly thin ice when you start rebooting 40 year-old tracks which are beloved of many diehards. No matter the job you do, there will be a percentage of people who are anti the project, who deride the new recordings for any manner of ills from inauthenticity, daring to change arrangements, recording techniques, the players involved, or whatever else.
Why David Coverdale has chosen to revisit his days in the soulful Deep Purple Mk III & IV line-up by taking his shit-hot band into the studio to remake this collection of tracks from the Burn and Stormbringer albums is anybody’s guess.
Coverdale is Coverdale, of course, and his honeyed vocals, now deeper and with a side order of gravelly gravitas, make the most of opener Burn and Lady Double Dealer, but where the slow burn of Mistreated and Holy Man never previously failed to impress, here Cov’s voice struggles on the former, and the near-metal bluster do the songs no favours.
New boy, Joel Hoekstra, plays well, never settling for playing a mirror-image of Ritchie Blackmore or Tommy Bolin’s original work – or his own Whitesnake predecessor Doug Aldrich either, for that matter. Hoekstra has plenty of cred under his own steam and his style is well suited to the material.
Soldier Of Fortune is one of the better offerings, but Lay Down Stay Down –  ham-fistedly re-imagined with the oomph of Cream behind it – fares less well before the album finishes with a pretty faithful reading of Stormbringer.
It’s an enjoyable enough romp through an underrated phase of Deep Purple’s – and Coverdale’s – career, but it is an undeniably unnecessary folly, and in turning the heavy rock-o-meter up to 11, Coverdale has unwisely sapped many of the songs dry of the very thing that made them stand out in the first place: their soul.

2.5 stars