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Deep Purple - Slaves And Masters CD (album) cover

SLAVES AND MASTERS

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

2.75 | 216 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The only football team in history to have a string arrangement

"Slaves and masters" is an interesting Deep Purple album in that it is the only one by the band to feature Joe Lynn Turner on lead vocals. Recorded in 1990 this was the follow up to the excellent "Perfect strangers" and the adequate "House of blue light" recorded by the reformed classic line up. Only Ian Gillan is missing here, but with Blackmore, Glover and Turner all present, this could just as easily have been a Rainbow release.

Turner turns his hand to the song writing straight away, being the only band member to have a hand in every track. Blackmore and Glover are not far behind though, missing out on just "Too much is not enough", with Lord and Paice chipping in from time to time.

While first impressions are that this album does indeed have more to do with Rainbow than Deep Purple, that view is largely swayed by Turner's vocals. Deep Purple had also been following a more straightforward AOR rock path of late, making "Slaves and masters" an equally natural successor to the immediately precedent DP albums.

The opening "King of dreams" is a mid-paced "Perfect strangers" (the song) like number with Jon Lord providing some strong symphonic keyboards. Blackmore takes an early opportunity to slip in some instantly recognisable lead guitar, the track having a pleasing atmosphere. "The cut runs deep" offers Jon Lord a chance to make his organ the dominant instrument, the track being driven along by him in fine fashion. Unfortunately, the fade on the track is unsatisfactory and clumsy.

"Fire in the basement" will never win any awards for lyrical subtlety, apparently following on from the basic innuendoes of "Knocking at your back door". The song has echoes of "Lazy" in the lighter happy rock it portrays.

There is of course the obligatory ballad, "Fortune teller" fitting the bill adequately without ever really getting going. "Love conquers all" (no relation to the similarly titled Yes song) is another in a similar mode, but thankfully more satisfactory. Blackmore's swirling guitar adds an extra dimension to this Journey like number.

"Breakfast in bed" sounds for all the world like a Free song, Turner doing a passable impression of Paul Rogers. The closing "Wicked ways" has vague prog sensibilities with a slight variation of pace and some effective strings supporting Blackmore's soaring guitar. It is also the longest track on the album at around 6½ minutes, makeing for a fitting climax to an enjoyable album.

The completely different vocal style and sound of Turner can be a little hard to digest for those who are seeking to hear the familiar tones of Ian Gillan. It is perhaps therefore necessary to put any preconceptions aside, and assess this album only on its own merits. On that basis, there is little in the way of prog here, but there is a collection of good quality melodic rock.

The sleeve mugshots of the band members include football positions as part of their description, Blackmore being a winger, Paice is Centre forward, Turner is midfield and Glover defender. Strangely, Jon Lord does not appear to have been selected for the team, his position being "String arrangements"!

Turner would be sacked after the release of this album, leaving the way open for Gillan to return to the fold yet again.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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