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“Rapture of the Deep” Special Edition by Deep Purple

Artist: Deep Purple
Title: “Rapture of the Deep” – Special Edition
Label: Eagle Records
Date: 6/27/2006
Genre: Rock
Rating: 9/10

So much positive praise has been written about Deep Purple’s “Rapture Of The Deep” that it almost was expected of the band to release a double CD special edition not long after the initial release. The reaction by the general public to the newest album by these elder Statesmen of Rock was both incredible but yet very richly deserved. It’s 2006 and Ian Gillan now leads the charge with two original members gone off to other pursuits or well-deserved relaxation. Today we find Ritchie Blackmore playing “Renaissance Fair Rock” with his partner Candice Night while Jon Lord chose to retire from touring and recording. In their place we find Steve Morse, an incredible technician on the guitar and Don Airey on keyboards who brings to the table experience gained touring with “insert artist here”. I note it like that for Don’s contributions to Rock music would very easily fill this entire page. Bass and drums are still adeptly handled by Roger Glover and Ian Paice. Gillan can still deliver when you take stock of the whole album and it’s what made me save him for last. His pipes a little softer at times, but when necessary he can belt it out just like he used to. When you listen to the recording you would hardly think that this was a band that was formed some 37 years ago. Tracks like “Money Talks” that are loaded with the signature keyboards expected in a Purple song and “Junkyard Blues” remind you that this band has not yet lost its luster but instead chosen to shine up the model just a little more for the diehard supporters they have kept throughout the years.
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“Live Debut Concert” by Living Loud

Artist: Living Loud
Title: “Live Debut Concert”
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 1/10/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 6.5/10

The names of Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley will be remembered forever as being part of the phenomenal debut by Ozzy Osbourne on “The Blizzard Of Oz”. History and published credits will confirm that the pair not only recorded the album with the Ozzman but also had core writing influence on it. It was argued that the name “Blizzard Of Oz” was a band name and not an album title. After many years of nasty litigation, Osbourne actually released versions of the CD with their performances deleted and recreated by his band of the time. In any event the core creators went on to form a band with other Hard Rock legends such as Steve Morse (guitar), Don Airey (keyboards) and Australian vocal power Jimmy Barnes. The idea was tossed around by Daisley who spearheaded the project and whose desire was to re-record some of the Ozzy classics he helped to create with his friend Kerslake and other musical luminaries. Perhaps this was a good idea in theory but when executed it might not be as one would have hoped. I have to be honest that the whole thing was weird to me because watching someone other than Ozzy sing these classics makes me think “cover band”. While a vocal powerhouse, Barnes hardly has the same vocal register for these tunes and as a result there is a chance to be put off in the difference. Barnes screams a lot and a few times reminded me of Brian Johnson (ACDC), perhaps this was in the way he was delivering the songs. Barnes himself is considered one of the biggest singers to come out of his native Australia. Musically it is pretty sound, with Steve Morse and Don Airey being the real highlight performers of the concert. According to the information about this release, the pair had just finished a Deep Purple gig and then went to the club to perform with this new project after only a short rehearsal period. There are some subtle re-workings in the music but it was pretty cool to hear Morse playing the Randy Rhoads stuff; as he is no slouch in the area of axe-wielding himself. I admit also to being a little jaded to the level of play I witnessed from Tommy Aldridge who became Ozzy’s touring drummer back then. Kerslake while adept on the kit, is definitely no Aldridge and since many years have gone by I was not all that excited by his performance on the DVD. Lee only shows off a couple of times. The band looks like they are having fun, but outside of Barnes there is not a lot of liveliness going on.
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“Rapture Of The Deep” by Deep Purple

Artist: Deep Purple
Release: Rapture of the Deep
Label: Eagle Records
Date: November 2005
Genre: Rock
Rating: 9/10

A great album produced late in a band’s career is always a pleasant surprise, a welcome treat for longtime fans, and a deserved chance for a veteran group to refresh their repertoire. This year the stars must be in the right place because like The Rolling Stones (whose “Bigger Bang” album was their best studio output in decades) and Robert Plant (who offered up the awesome “Mighty ReArranger” disc), Deep Purple has recorded an amazing set of tunes on “Rapture of the Deep”. The eleven songs presented on their first release for Eagle Records rock as hard as any of the group’s “classic tracks” and many show great potential for live performance.
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“Bananas” by Deep Purple

Artist: Deep Purple
Title: “Bananas”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 10/07/2003
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7.75/10

Proving that time does not stand still for no band, Veteran rockers Deep Purple have returned with a new recording entitled “Bananas”. The group has also proven that even after all the years that have gone by that they can still deliver solid rock and roll that any age can enjoy. The lineup for the group is Ian Gillen (vox), Ian Paice (drums) and Roger Glover (bass) from the original Purple lineup as well as Don Airey and Steve Morse. Don has stepped in for the now retired John Lord while Steve has been in filling the space left by Richie Blackmore for a couple of years on the guitar. While I am a die hard Blackmore fan, there was probably no wiser choice than Mr. Morse. His stellar years of creativity in the progressive Dixie Dregs has shown he is more than capable of filling Richie’s shoes.
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