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Deep Purple - Come Taste The Band CD (album) cover

COME TASTE THE BAND

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.14 | 361 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars SNAFU (Situation normal, all funked up!)

Upset with the direction Deep Purple had chosen with their previous album "Stormbringer", lead guitarist Richie Blackmore left Deep Purple for the first (but not the last) time. The Glenn Hughes led funk orientation of that album had also left many fans cold, Blackmore's departure seeming to indicate that any hope of a return to the band's signature style had been well and truly killed off.

In Blackmore's place came Tommy Bolin, "Come taste the band" being the only studio album by Deep Purple on which he would appear. With Gillan and Glover also still missing from the line up, fans were justified in questioning whether this should have been marketed as a Deep Purple album at all.

Bolin wastes no time in getting involved, his co-writing credit on all but two and a half tracks immediately showing that he was not just there to play what was put before him. This does mean though that the band is pulled even further away from both their roots and their classic years. The brevity of most of the tracks means that Bolin does not get that many opportunities to break free on lead guitar, but when he does so on tracks such as "Dealer", he proves himself proficient. His guitar sound is less technical than Blackmore's, and as such fits in well with the chosen style of music here.

Tracks such as the sub 3 minutes "Lady luck" and the following "Gettin' tighter" leave me pretty cold, being similar to the pop funk of the previous album. Things plunge even further on the anonymous filler "I need love", where the strutting lead guitar and pregnant pauses are little more than painful clichés.

Tracks like "Drifter" are more pleasing; here there is some genuine energy. Even then though, Glen Hughes voice is just too soul based for my taste. Even with the broadest of minds, this is not what Deep Purple are all about.

The final tracks are the best on the album. The two part "Medley" is a pleasant (if out of place) rock ballad and a Bolin guitar solo joined as one. The "medley" aspect of the track appears to have been added simply to ensure the writing credits were split correctly, it essentially one piece. The closing "You keep on moving" is the longest stand alone track on the album (the "medley" is slightly longer) at just over 5 minutes. This bluesy ballad offers some fine organ work by Jon Lord and good vocal performances from the writers Hughes and Coverdale.

In all, for me "Come taste the band" ranks alongside "Stormbringer" as a low point in the Deep Purple discography. Admittedly, there a couple of decent if unremarkable tracks, but here Deep Purple once again explore an inappropriate path. Plenty of other bands with better pedigrees in their chosen field were making music such as this.

History records that after this album and a long hiatus, the classic line up would reconvene for the superb "Perfect strangers" album, but for almost a decade "Come taste the band" appeared to represent a rather indifferent end to the career of a legendary band.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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