Album review: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Stay Tuned (Deep Purple etc.)

EarMUSIC [Release date 30.11.18]

Drummer Bernhard Welz, known for his work with Schubert In Rock, is the brains behind this all-star charity album, aimed at benefitting the Linda McCartney Fundraising Centre. Welz certainly has a decent contacts list of fellow musicians as the album features amongst others Mark King (Level 42), former Nazareth vocalist Dan McCafferty and current Nazareth vocalist Carl Sentence, Steve Lukather (Toto), Suzi Quatro and all of Deep Purple.

Welz’s love of a bit of classical comes through on opener ‘Jazz Police’, where Mark King’s distinctive bass playing takes centre stage. ‘Fading Away’ is a moving and touching song, playing tribute to Jon Lord, featuring Ian Gillan and Dan McCafferty on vocal duty.

There are a couple of run of the mill hard rockers in ‘I Don’t Believe Rock ‘N’ Roll Is Out’ and ‘Young Free And Deadly’, that along with ’Empathy’, which despite featuring Jeff Scott Soto, sadly lack any real spark. However, ‘Wanna Give You My Lovin’ is a tasty early Whitesnake style rocker, albeit with a female singer whose name I can’t seem to locate anywhere despite various internet searches!

‘Secret Land’ also keeps the quality up, featuring Don Airey, whose keyboards add nicely to the Middle Eastern flavour of the music. Nazareth vocalist Carl Sentence gives it a bit of Robert Plant at times on this one, wonderful stuff. This same duo work well on ‘Traffic Night’, featuring Airey’s driving Hammond and piano playing, plus Steve Morse pops-up to add a tasty guitar solo.

Deep Purple fans will enjoy this album not only beacuse all of the current members guest at some point on the album, but added to this is a live version of ‘Child In Time’ recorded in 2009 and featuring Jon Lord and Gotthard’s Steve Lee on vocals, both no longer with us. Ian Paice also features on the other bonus song, a one minute drum jam.

These all star charity albums often fail to hit the spot and lack consistency, however Stay Tuned manages for the most part to avoid this. The musicianship is top class as you’d expect given the names involved and with a heavy Deep Purple influence it is perfect for fans of that band and classic rock in general. Plus it is for charity so everyone is a winner! ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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