Review DEEP PURPLE ‘Turning to Crime’

If the legendary Deep Purple record an album with cover versions, it’s not a crime, but more an homage to the roots of rock’n’roll. With some cover albums one could get the idea of a band lacking own creativity or having some other reasons for pushing such an album to the market. I think we can exclude this when veterans like Deep Purple decide for such an endeavor. This album feels more like pioneers of classic rock enjoying and celebrating their musical influences and roots by covering song that are partly well-known while others are pearls that deserve to shine brightly.

The quintet starts into the album with ‘7 and 7 is’, a song penned by Arthur Lee in 1966. Deep Purple has unveiled the song already as a single and what was a delight prior to release date of the album acts as a great and upbeat opener for the album.

After such a great start, listeners will be infected by Huey Smith’s ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu’, interpreted by Deep Purple in a great fashion. And there is no cure and vaccination. You just get infected by groove and energy. Don Airey’s piano gets a lot of spotlights, and the keyboarder makes use of the given space, showing his great feel for rock’n’roll. You might be familiar with the next song. ‘Oh Well’ comes originally from Fleetwood Mac, written in 1969 when the band was more into blues and psychedelic rock. Deep Purple, legends themselves, interpret this song with a lot of passion. Fleetwood Mac in the early days was more progressive classic rock than the rock giant they became during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Deep Purple’s interpretation is an homage to this time.

The rock’n’roll beast will be unleashed with ‘Jenny Take a Ride!’ before Bob Dylan’s ‘Watching the River Flow’ blooms on this album. With ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ the journey takes listeners even further back into time, a song known from Ray Charles and now is Deep Purple providing the tune with a next vitalization.

Via Little Feat’s ‘Dixie Chicken’ the listener can go on a musical travel, next stop London. ‘Shapes of Things’ from the Yardbirds showcases rock’n’roll made in Europe during the ‘60s while some country music finds a spot on the tracklist through ‘The Battle of New Orleans’. The fiddle tune-based song is an interesting one that at least I haven’t expected to be on a Deep Purple album.

The hellish aspect of rock’n’roll is covered by ‘Lucifer’, originally penned by the Bob Seger System and suddenly we are in the early ‘70s on this musical journey through time. Small, detailed question that remains is why this song fades out instead of having a solid ending, but who cares. ‘White Room’ from Cream is certainly the song with the widest recognition value and the version on ‘Turning to Crime’ is a Purple-ized one with a lot of joy-spreading playfulness.

The closer ‘Caught in the Act’ is a good way to end an album with cover versions. It’s a medley, driven by songs from Freddie King, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin und The Spencer Davis Group. With Bob Ezrin at the helm, ‘Turning to Crime’ is coming with an excellently done sound that transports the energy of rock’n’roll, from history to today’s reality.

In a way, ‘Turning to Crime’ reminds of Ian Gillan & The Javelins, at least when it comes to the approach. This time though it’s the legendary Deep Purple that takes care of hits from other legends. What you get offered here is more an homage to (hard-) rock than a usual Deep Purple album and maybe it is exactly this fact that makes ‘Turning to Crime’ to an entertaining and exciting album with special charm. Deep Purple finds the sweet spot between the original versions and their own unique sound, an art in itself. And the verdict: recommended to listen to.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. 7 And 7 Is (Arthur Lee)
  2. Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey Smith)
  3. Oh Well (Fleetwoord Mac)
  4. Jenny Take A Ride! (Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels)
  5. Watching The River Flow (Bob Dylan)
  6. Let The Good Times Roll (Ray Charles)
  7. Dixie Chicken (Little Feat)
  8. Shapes Of Things (The Yeardbirds)
  9. The Battle Of New Orleans (Lonnie Donegan/ Johnny Horton
  10. Lucifer (Bob Seger System)        
  11. White Room (Cream)
  12. Caught In The Act (Medley)

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Hard Rock

Release Date EU: November 26th, 2021

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