earMUSIC [Release date 25.05.18]
Don Airey can be considered rock royalty and in a quiet sort of way, and in down time from his Purple “day job”, finds the time to release consistently excellent solo albums. This is the successor to 2014′s excellent ‘Keyed Up’.
Like that album it’s as much a showcase for Airey’s fellow musicians most of whom are retained for this excursion. Vocalist Carl Sentance moonlighting from Nazareth and acquitting himself well away from McAfferty’s long shadow. And erstwhile Snakecharmer guitar slinger Simon McBride also features. McBride shines on the Gary Moore-esque ‘Remember To Call’ and makes a particularly good fist of ‘Still Got The Blues’ but more of that later.
The tunes reflect Airey’s musical inclinations, and a career playing with such alumni as Ritchie Blackmore and Ozzy. There’s an uptempo Purple vibe on this offering, demonstrated on pieces like ‘Respect’ and ‘Stay The Night’. But there’s also some experimentation, such as the almost metal ‘Victim Of Pain’ and the frenetic ‘Lost Boys’. Together with a track like ‘Children Of the Sun’ Airey shows what Purple might be like if they fused with Judas Priest.
Standouts include the grind of ‘All Out Of Line’ and the deftly orchestrated title track. ‘Everytime I See Your Face’ might hint at ‘The Long & Winding Road’ but is nevertheless a good vehicle for Sentance’s softer underbelly. ‘Need You So Bad’ is another big ballad but spiced with McBride’s muscular riffage and Airey’s fluent keyboard work whilst ‘Running Free’ would make a radio-friendly single.
But if you are also partial to a bit of hairy Hammond (and some spicy synth) ‘One Of A Kind’ should tick your box. The album is padded out with a handful of bonus tracks (including Purple and Rainbow covers) recorded in Germany in 2017. This is where McBride gets to pay tribute to one of his great influences, the great Gary Moore with whom Airey also collaborated.
On balance, perhaps not quite as diverse as ‘Keyed Up’ but in that respect certainly an album to excite latter-day Purple fans and surely one that will precipitate an outing if Don plays dates in his own right in the future. ****1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Don Airey is a Featured Artist at Get Ready to ROCK! Radio
Album review (Keyed Up, 2014)
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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 31 July 2022.
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