Album review: DEEP PURPLE – Turning To Crime

DEEP PURPLE - Turning To Crime

earMusic [Release date 26.11.21]

The rock legends’ 22nd studio album and it comes only a year after the critically acclaimed Whoosh (one of the band’s best albums in their 50+ years). Clearly at a loose end or two during the pandemic and lockdown after the aforementioned album, Deep Purple got together to produce a very fine album of covers.

A covers album – not something I ever expected them to do – although other artists have carried it off with aplomb, including Tesla, Ace Frehley and Foghat. And, like the wise man that I am, I decided to ignore much of the online response to the announcement (some calling the album’s PR a hoax).

The band have been recording and touring off and on for over 50 years, we the fans have no rights other than to digest their output however we see fit, when it appears, and deciding to wait until release before passing judgement.

I can honestly say, as a fan since the early 80s, that I love it. The music may not be traditional Deep Purple but this album does show just how good each and all of the musicians are and how good they can make pretty much anything sound.

Opening track ’7 And 7 Is’, an Arthur Lee Love track, is a uptempo track with a great melody. There’s a great guitar tone from Steve Morse, whose solo blends seamlessly with that by pianist Don Airey. These two work so well together, it’s like they always have.

And while Gillan sounds good on that track, he really comes into his own on the bluesier and rock’n’roll tracks, like Huey ‘Piano’ Smith’s ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia’.  Nice production with the brass, and Airey cheekily sneaks in 1 bar of Smoke On The Water (crafty).

This track is quite reminiscent of the Javelins album Gillan produced in the mid 90s. For the uninitiated, the Javelins were a 60s band who played covers, that Gillan fronted pre Episode Six, and then reformed for an album in the 90s.

A brave but excellent choice is Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. The rhythm section of drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover handle the song really well, two good guitar solos, the second a touch of neo-classical.

Another great track is the Yardbirds’ ‘Shapes Of Things’, a track since covered by many, including Jeff Beck, Gary Moore and Nazareth. The production takes off the edge that other covers have given the song, but the band work well and intricately.

‘Let The Good Times Roll’ is another fine song giving a blues standard a modern and big feel, there’s plenty of brass, giving it a mainstream feel. Again the guitar and keyboards stand out. Cream’s ‘White Room’ stands out, one for the guitar and the rock to shine.

The Classic Deep Purple shines through on the medley ‘Caught In The Act’, which features parts of ‘Green Onions’ (which has been in the live set for a while), ‘Gimme Some Lovin’’ and ‘Dazed And Confused’, amongst others.

There’s enough of the original in each song, but each is given a huge stamp by the five members of Deep Purple, making their own mark. As is the point of a cover version.

While the production is big, solid and bright, there’s also a live-in-the-studio feel, like it was recorded quickly and spontaneously.

Listen with open ears and the album shows the band on great form, and is definitely one to thoroughly enjoy.  *****

Review by Joe Geesin

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