Deep Purple first achieved success in 1968 when they had a hit with Joe South’s “Hush”. The song was featured on the group’s debut album, Shades of deep purple, which featured other covers, such as a whimsical, dramatic take on Beatles’ “Help” and a raw stab on “Hey Joe,” which had become standard after Jimi Hendrix Experience made it into the UK’s top 10 in 1966. You could say that almost everything Deep Purple has covered has been heavily reworked to reflect the band’s unique style. This is definitely the case with Turn to crime, the group’s 2020 all-cover successor rush.
Clearly restless during the long pandemic stay, Deep Purple and long-time producer Bob Ezrin apparently continued to imitate rush and rushed headlong into recording a number of well-known songs, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, that show how creative and musical the band still sounded at this point in their historic career. Purple’s revival of Loves “7 And 7 Is”, which opens the 12-song collection, is a prime example of how wildly innocent and musically inventive certain numbers were in the mid-1960s. Arthur Lee’s wide range of psychedelic melodies knew no bounds; in the hands of Purple the opportunity to extend the breaks was waiting to be used.
From then on, the choice is wide and varied. It seems like everyone is looking to take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” to confirm their taste. With its extended instrumental passages, it almost calls for a Purple rework. There are better choices, however. A swing through Little Feats “Dixie Chicken” goes a long way towards highlighting the crazy skills of the versatile and accomplished keyboardist Don Airey. Guitarist Steve Morse sizzles during a heated run through Cream’s “White Room”.
The climatic medley, a fusion of Jeff Beck, Booker T, the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin and Rascals Riffs, ensures a tactful finale. Throughout the album, singer Ian Gillan keeps his vocals on track and within reach, all too aware that his infamous screams are no longer necessary. Drummer (and the only founding member still on board) Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover are in sync and on point as always.
There is nothing particularly profound or eloquent to say about this album other than that it is a pleasant reminder that Deep Purple’s “Long Goodbye” has no end date in sight. As long as they produce a cohesive sonic assault on their own and others’ music without stumbling or lowering their standards, what else are they going to do? You’ve been with Ezrin for almost 10 years and won’t go down without a fight – even if that means Turn to crime.
~ Shawn Perry