Date: November 26th, 2021
This is what you get when you leave a band at home for too long. When any kind of massive touring is not an option, they get all sorts of ideas. I don’t even think grabbing a few extra pounds is the reason for “Turning to Crime” (oh, how the title sat down on this sentence). The previous “regular” album has just settled into place, so there’s no real need for it. What’s more, if they wanted quick cash they could’ve picked up better songs. Well, “better” is not quite the word I need here. Perhaps a finer choice would be “more recognizable”.
Where am I going with this? Let me explain for those of you who haven’t heard what’s the catch. “Turning to Crime” is an album made up of cover songs. Some of them originally performed by established stars such as Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Yardbirds and such. Others are pretty much unknown, at least to my ears. And even with the famous artists, Deep Purple could’ve gone for their greatest hits. However, they didn’t. Once again, it would seem they picked by heart instead of wallet.
That’s why we got a record sounding so playful and energetic. Okay, I get it, sound recording studios these days have all the capabilities to make the dullest recordings sound dynamic. But there’s still this feeling Deep Purple quite enjoyed making this album. It actually does sound like a group of young and talented musicians, full of hope and admiration for their heroes, starting out as a band with covering what they’ve heard on the radio. No sheet music, simplified tabs or outsider help. Just five youngsters living life to the fullest and enjoying playing music as such.
Yes, these are the songs from back when music was still somewhat innocent. Before it turned into a serious show business. Before green millions came flowing in. Back when it still needed passion above all. Back when expression was way more important than influence, money or power. Handpicked by a quintet of nostalgic music enthusiasts with skills to match the love they hold for the sound they grew up with.
Hence, I believe Ray Charles would be over the Moon if he ever got the chance to hear “Let the Good Times Roll” by the Purple. The rest of the covered ones can be extremely proud as well. Bob Seger, Huey “Piano” Smith, Mitch Ryder or even Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple did them all justice and then some. Artists unnumbered would certainly give their right hand to have their song appear on “Turning to Crime”. That’s how good it sounds!
Thinking about it now, I remembered those cheap compilation CDs of greatest rock hits. But while those are meant to earn a quick buck at no investment necessary, “Turning to Crime” is a genuine homage to the olden days of rock, blues, bluegrass, dixie and even Irish folk. It’s just twelve songs, brought back to the spotlight, with some new air breathed into them, but this is a release to be excited about.
To tell you the truth, I’m sincerely hoping this is not the last of its kind. Hoping Deep Purple will “turn to crime” at least a couple times more. Not that their previous recording was no good, it was actually quite satisfactory, but this is certainly a good way to pass the time until the next record or the next tour. Come on boys, show’em how it’s done!