The new Whitesnake album is an album of Deep Purple covers. It’s not just any old Deep Purple songs though, it’s songs from the three albums that a young David Coverdale sang on – “Burn”, “Stormbringer” and “Come taste the band”. David Coverdale describes this album as a tribute to Deep Purple – the band that gave him his big break in music. Lets face it, without Deep Purple the chances are we wouldn’t have Whitesnake. It does make a lot of sense that he’d have a strong attachment to these songs as they are what introduced David Coverdale to the world, so are a big part of his life.
Frankly at this point in his career he has earned the right to record whatever songs he wants – after all by now he must be at the stage where he does it because he enjoys it rather than because he’s desperate to earn a few quid. It’s also worth remembering that Whitesnake have done Deep purple songs in their live shows before now.
It’s an interesting decision though – to go back and re-record songs that he first sang around 40 years ago. Fans never like hearing the songs they grew up with being changed or covered, and so this is bound to lead to the inevitable discussions on David Coverdale’s voice (like we get with every Whitesnake album – some people need to stop moaning and just enjoy life). The simple fact is that yes his voice has changed – not many singers have the same sort of voice they had 40 years before, so although Coverdale’s voice has fared far better than many other singers I’ve heard recently, it would be wrong to expect him to sound exactly the same as he did 40 years ago.
I’m going to start off by saying that after listening to the album a few times, I love it. I’ve been a fan of Deep Purple for many years, so it’s slightly strange hearing how the songs have been changed, but I’m actually pleased that these versions differ from the originals. Doing straight covers doesn’t add anything new and would be little more than karaoke, so what Whitesnake have done here is to take the original song and change them to put more of a Whitesnake sound on them. Some of the songs have changed very little, whereas others are very different.
As a good example of how things have changed, “You fool no one” has a very different intro – instead of a distinctive drum rhythm we get harmonica before the guitars and drums. In the original the vocals drums and Hammond organ dominated the sound, whereas in the Whitesnake version the guitars are far more prominent. The vocals are deeper too, so it’s quite different to the original version.
“Sail away” has changed from the original using electric guitar to the Whitesnake version which is acoustic. The acoustic treatment really works well for this song.
“Burn” and “Stormbringer” appeared in a live medley form on the “Made in Britain/The World record” live album, so their inclusion here isn’t a surprise. You can listen to the Whitesnake version of “Burn” here…
One of my all-time favourite Deep Purple song’s is “Soldier of fortune”, so I was particularly curious to hear the new version. Happily I love it. David Coverdale’s voice still sounds perfect for the song – it’s a soft emotion-filled track and this new version sounds great.
The first song to be released from the album is “Stormbringer” – check out the video below.
In conclusion then this is an excellent album. David Coverdale has taken songs he sang 40 years ago with Deep Purple and changed them to fit the Whitesnake sound and the results are great. Yes the songs sound different to the originals, but surely that’s the point – to mix the familiar with something new, rather than just doing a slavish copy. It’s great to hear these classic songs being given a new lease of life. I hope that when Whitesnake tour next we get some of these songs included in the set.
2. You fool no one
3. Love child
4. Sail away
5. The gypsy
6. Lady double dealer
8. Holy man
9. Might just take your life
10. You keep on moving
11. Soldier of fortune
12. Lay down stay down