Time would definitely tell for this record. A very interesting perspective from the time it was released here. Do you agree with Mr. Barton?
Purple: tastes good, but…
Deep Purple: `Come Taste The Band` (Purple TPFA 6715) 39 mins.
Album review by Geoff Barton
Deep Purple have undergone personnel changes in the past and have always successfully pulled themselves through. Happily, `Come Taste The Band`, featuring guitarist Tommy Bolin in Ritchie Blackmore`s stead, brings the band out of their most recent crisis – although not as thoroughly nor as completely as you may have hoped.
This is a particularly fine rock album – but is that really enough? Although `Come Taste The Band` is on a rung above both `Burn` and the jaded `Stormbringer`, it`s not quite up to the required height. To justify their position as one of the world`s top bands and to quell the somewhat cynical rumours that they`ll never be able to fully recover from Blackmore`s departure. Purple needed to come up with a killer LP, something that would stand up proudly alongside the likes of `In Rock` and `Machine Head`. This isn`t it.
Tommy Bolin is an accomplished guitarist; of that there`s no doubt. He`s slotted into the band as neatly as a well-worn key into its lock. He`s injected a heavy dose of fresh energy – I haven`t heard Purple play with such boyish enthusiasm in a long time. His guitar work is succinct, immensely fluid, but never overbearing – indeed, `CTTB` displays a much freer, give-and-take musical attitude than even several early Purple albums.
The problem lies with the quality of the songs. Bolin`s songwriting prowess (he`s contributed eight numbers) is OK – yet he`s a long way from being able to write numbers of the calibre of `Space Truckin“, `Smoke On The Water`, or even (to switch to `RB`s Rainbow album) `Man On The Silver Mountain`.
Even so, they`re not appreciably different from the band of old, here – if anything, they seem to have consciously adhered to tradition, with numbers like `Comin` Home` (even though it has brief `Quadrant Four` guitar) and `Drifter`.
There are snatches, however, that may serve to betray the direction in which Purple may move in the future: the initially punchy `Love Child` has an incongruous funky section, together with what could well be Billy Preston`s moog. `Gettin` Tighter` and `I Need Love` have brief funk passages, as well.
Still, before I get too tied up in (minor) criticisms, let it be said that there is a lot to get excited about, here: notably the rampant `Dealer`, with its `Purple Haze`- like opening, timely ballad section and Hughes` meaty vocals more than making up for its hackneyed lyrical theme, and `Lady Luck`, a potential single.
`Come Taste The Band` is an album that stands head and shoulders above your normal mundane rock release, but at the same time the question must be asked: does it show enough potential and promise to ensure the new Purple a safe passage into the future? Time will tell.
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