Review Summary: Deep Purple try to be even more funkeh!, but make their downfall.Deep Purple: A Retrospective
Episode XI: Come Taste the Band
Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple on three separate occasions, and the first one of these was in 1975. Expressing disappointment with Mark III, the guitarist felt he needed something entirely new, rather than the two new members who had earlier barricaded Purple’s foundations. Together with the then-practically unknown Ronnie James Dio, Blackmore went on the form Rainbow
, which would see varied amounts of success. As for Purple, they faced disbandment. However, David Coverdale requested Jon Lord to keep the band together, and eventually the empty guitar spot was filled by Tommy Bolin, who had a funk background, like Glenn Hughes. Mark IV had been formed, but wouldn’t last for very long either, as Bolin’s continuous drug abuse would lead to Purple’s downfall, and finally, their disbandment, until Mark II reunited in the mid-80’s. The line-up’s first and only album, Come Taste the Band
, was released the same year Blackmore left.
Deep Purple Mk. IV was:
- David Coverdale ~ Lead Vocals
- Thomas Richard ‘Tommy’ Bolin ~ Lead Guitar, Vocals, Bass Guitar
- Glenn Hughes ~ Bass Guitar, Vocals
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Bass Guitar
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
I would be unfair to immediately bash the record based on Blackmore’s absence, and when listening to Purple’s 10th album, there is actually quite some decent material around. Due to Bolin’s funk background, the influence the genre has on the sound of the band became even greater, and sometimes, Come Taste the Band
feels more funk rock than it does hard rock. The way it is probably best described, is the sound of Mark III with a strong amount of funkiness on top of it. That said, there is nothing at all particularly wrong with that approach, and it could have definite potential.
Bolin, having to replace on the quintessential 70’s rock guitarists, didn’t do all too shabby with those funky guitar lines of his. Most of the time they are indeed quite catchy, although simple, and form an adequate backbone for the song, as shown with the first two tracks Comin’ Home
and Lady Luck
. The mood is laid down correctly, as the funk remains throughout, though a slight touch of jazz in tracks such as Gettin’ Tighter
also makes an entry.
The most striking fact about the whole sound of the album is how much the band has changed. This is, not in miles and miles and miles, near the Deep Purple that created In Rock
and Machine Head
. It isn’t very surprising, of course, knowing that 3 members had been replaced since then, but it hasn’t only been an evolution in sound. Mark II was immensely creative, and reached completely new heights, even forming the shape of hard rock music when it was in its very development. Mark III was also capable of doing quite something, but by the time Mark IV came around, the spark seemed to have vanished. Has it left just with Blackmore" Perhaps. I like to believe it was a gradual process. Despite that the beginning of Come Taste the Band
is not actually so poor, genericness makes its entrance all too soon. With titles such as I Need Love, this record doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Apart from a surprising break with the melancholic ballad This Time Around
, which isn’t even that much of a standout, this album is simple funk followed by even more simple funk, and the true inspiration is nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, Deep Purple had been losing their true spark since Stormbringer
There isn’t all that much that Come Taste the Band
really can do. The tunes are fairly enjoyable, not badly performed, and Bolin gave it his best shot, but that is really about it. This album is the sound of a band that has lost almost every inch of its creativity, and that is a shame, for we know they can, and have done, far and far better. If you like straight-up old-fashioned funk, here’s your game. Don’t expect a Deep Purple record.