DEEP PURPLE – Turning To Crime (2021) HQ

DEEP PURPLE - Turning To Crime (2021) HQ full

After five decades of records made chiefly of original material, DEEP PURPLE‘s upcoming 22nd studio album “Turning To Crime” consists solely of songs written and previously recorded by other artists: a criminal offense commonly described by the rock police and purists Grand Jury as ‘doing covers’.
Studio recordings of songs previously released by Love, Fleetwood Mac, Little Feat, The Yardbirds, Cream, and more – plus the ‘Caught In The Act’ medley feat. songs by Freddie King, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin and The Spencer Davis Group came to life with the band, for the first time in their career, recording them while not being in the same room.
‘Turning To Crime’ is Deep Purple enjoying playing music without commercial plans nor losing their edge and drive.

One could ask whether the world needs another cover of “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” “See See Rider” (part of Mitch Ryder medley “Jenny Take a Ride”) or “Let the Good Times Roll.” You could ask that about any number of Chuck Berry songs, too, but you almost never hear complaints about the myriad versions of “Roll Over Beethoven” or “Johnny B. Goode” out there.

But Deep Purple, true rock believers with their legacy of lightning guitar runs, classically inspired organ fills and straight-ahead hits like “Smoke on the Water,” “Highway Star” and “Perfect Strangers,” come out of left field with the unexpected, audacious ”Turning to Crime”.
The album is a set of 11 covers (plus a mostly instrumental medley) that, while not always reworked enough to justify their existence, usually offers, at the very least, an interesting (and rollicking) listen.

The song selection not necessarily include songs you’d expect to hear Deep Purple handle. Coming just 18 months after 2020’s Whoosh! it’s Purple’s quickest turnaround since the mid-’70s, spearheaded by producer Bob Ezrin as a pandemic-busting alternative to the quintet’s usual creative process of in-studio jamming.
That Purple can sound authentic playing just about anything isn’t necessarily the novelty here; it’s what the group chose to cover that raises eyebrows.

It’s an understatement to say that selections such as Huey “Piano” Smith’s “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu,” Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken,” Louis Jordan’s brassy “Let the Good Times Roll,” Bob Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow” or Jimmy Driftwood’s “The Battle of New Orleans” seem out of the box.
But these surprises are surprisingly convincing. Guitarist Steve Morse gets to employ some different playing techniques, Don Airey rolls out a little barrelhouse piano on some of the tracks and drummer Ian Paice sounds assured in the different rhythmic approaches.
Gillan, meanwhile, can sing just about anything, so his voice winds up being the best ambassador for this unlikely fare.

”Turning To Crime” has plenty of heavy, too, with an array of flavors such as the blazing psychedelics of Love’s “7 and 7 Is” and the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things,” or the garage-y romp of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels’ “Jenny Take a Ride!”.
Cream’s “White Room” is totally in the Purple wheelhouse, and the group tears through Bob Seger’s “Lucifer,” a particularly astute deep dig, like it’s something off of Fireball.

The closing “Caught in the Act,” meanwhile, fuses together bits of five band favorites – Jeff Beck Group’s “Going Down,” Booker T. & the M.G.’s “Green Onions,” the Allman Brothers Band’s “Hot ‘Lanta,” Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” and the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin'” – into a mostly instrumental medley that shows why Mark VIII is one of the group’s best lineups and more potent than most of its Purple predecessors.
Highly Recommended


1. 7 and 7 Is (Love)
2. Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (Huey “Piano” Smith)
3. Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac)
4. Jenny Take a Ride! (Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels)
5. Watching the River Flow (Bob Dylan)
6. Let the Good Times Roll (Ray Charles & Quincy Jones)
7. Dixie Chicken (Little Feat)
8. Shapes of Things (Yardbirds)
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)



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1 Response

  1. HHH says:

    i think Free’s “Wishing Well” would have been a good song to cover DP!!

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