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Come Taste The Band
on 9 July 2011
Come Taste The Band; the tenth Deep Purple studio album (and sole release from the short-lived MK4 line up) is truly underrated and misunderstood, although it thankfully seems to have seen something of a critical reappraisal nowadays, thanks in part to this amazing 35th anniversary edition, in addition to growing appreciation for the late guitarist Tommy Bolin.
Right from the off, Come Taste The Band is big, loud and impressive. Opener 'Commin' Home' bursts out of the speakers with pure rock fury, adding back into the band's sound some of the harder and faster rock edge that had been absent from their previous album Stormbringer (which at times can seem like its just 50% Soul/Funk and 50% Quiet Songs/Ballads.)
Come Taste The Band definitely has power and force, but it also has variety. The funk/soul influences that the MK3 band had started using are there in tracks, but there are also more rock orientated numbers, and a few musically exciting pieces like 'The Drifter,' which stray into altogether different territory. 'Owed To G' even has a little of the classical vibe which the band used to play with quite a bit.
One of the standout moments on the album is 'Gettin' Tighter,' which has an absolutely gigantic chorus, which is so energetic and filled with attitude that it puts a huge grin on my face every time I listen to it. It also contains a brake-down of solid funk in the middle, which some fans may object to, but that brake-down is in a very rocking song and this is part of the success of this album, a fusion of the new and the old styles in a dramatic and joyous fashion.
Though for the longest time (until '93), Come Taste The Band was the only Deep Purple album without Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, you really should not let that put you off, in Tommy Bolin the band found a perfect musical fit. Blackmore's absence may cause you some concern, however remember that Paice and Lord are still there, the album still has that trademark Purple sound in the undercurrent behind all the funk and soul. Paice's unique drum fill style is still there, and Lord's amazing keys abilities are present and correct.
If you liked Burn and especially if you liked Stormbringer, then Come Taste The Band is a must listen experience... the effective Coverdale/Hughes partnership is as great as it has ever been, and the general songwriting is absolutely top of the line. I really recommend this album... just don't buy it if you are expecting it to sound like Smoke On The Water, understand what it is first, then jump right in.
** If you get the 35th Anniversary edition, there are 3 bonus tracks (a single edit, a b-side and a jam) a very detailed set of linear notes, and a second disc containing an impressive remixing job, which unearths some new music within the songs and changes the fade outs, track order and emphasis of the mix. **