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Deep Purple — Turning to Crime
(Ear Music 0215715EMU, 2021, CD / 2LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-02-23

Turning to Crime Cover art

The crime is apparently covering songs written by other artists. The early Mark I lineup of Deep Purple made a career of pilfering material written by others. In fact their first big hit “Hush” was written by Joe South, but it also stole the refrain from “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles. On those first three albums they covered songs by Lennon & McCartney, Cream, Neil Diamond, Ike and Tina Turner, Donovan, and others, but gradually worked in more of their own material. By the Mark II lineup they had gotten craftier about appropriating the material of others (and please don’t tell me that “Child in Time” isn’t a thinly veiled cover of It’s a Beautiful Day’s “Bombay Calling” with lyrics added), but what’s important is that Deep Purple always injected their own ideas into these cover tunes and made them into something that the originals were not. After decades of purely original material, the band has gone back to their beginnings to offer us a full disc of interpretations of other peoples’ songs. Of course the only remaining founding member from those earliest days is drummer Ian Paice, but at 26 years shy of a century he’s still an amazing player, offering as evidence the opening track “7 and 7 Is” originally by Arthur Lee’s Love (1966), with the whole band firing on all cylinders and singer Ian Gillan (who came on board with Mark II) making the song his own, guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey adding smokin’ solos that take it far beyond the original version. DP’s version of Cream’s “White Room” is superb, but sticks a little closer to the original, wah-wah guitar solos, Mellotron, and all. With “Jenny Take a Ride” the band adds considerable more raw edginess and punch (plus an extra minute of flashy solos) to the Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels 1966 original. The band’s interpretation of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Oh Well” rocks even harder while Gillan’s vocals take the original a few steps further. With The Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things,” they stick fairly close to the original until the rave-up solo section which has been replaced with an entirely different path of ideas led by Morse. Perhaps the most unlikely selection for a cover comes with “The Battle of New Orleans,” where Morse, bassist Roger Glover, and producer Bob Ezrin share vocals with Gillan, with outstanding performances by all, and a lot more crunch than any version I’ve ever heard before. And the irony — a British band singing a tune about the Yankees trouncing the Brits. The closer is a mega-medley “Caught in the Act” which includes parts of Freddie King’s “Going Down,” Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused,” The Allman Brothers’ “Hot ‘Lanta,” Spencer Davis’ “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MGs. Turning to Crime is a fun and rockin’ romp through some great songs from the 60s and 70s, songs that no doubt influenced Deep Purple at their inception and the many fine musicians who have joined the band since.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Deep Purple, Steve Morse, Don Airey, Ian Gillan

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