One of rocks greatest shames is that this would be Deep Purple Mk 4’s only studio recording, as the potential was there for greater things.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: Come Taste The Band
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: David Coverdale – vocals * Tommy Bolin – guitar * Glenn Hughes – vocals, bass * Ian Paice – drums * Jon Lord – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Comin’ Home * 02 Lady Luck * 03 Gettin’ Tighter * 04 Dealer * 05 I Need Love * 06 Drifter * 07 Love Child * 08 This Time Around – Owed To G * 09 You Keep On Moving
WEBLINKS: Site Link
When Ritchie Blackmore stepped off the stage for the (then) last time with Deep Purple in 1975, many thought they were history, Blackmore’s shoes impossible to fill. Coverdale and Hughes thought otherwise, having got a taste of the big time, they weren’t about to relinquish it yet. The remaining originals, Paice and Lord agreed to continue, although they later admitted to being burned out from years of endless touring and that they shouldn’t have rushed things.
The search for a replacement was arduous, Clem Clempson of Humble Pie was initially considered before it was decided he didn’t have it. The band eventually chose young prodigy Tommy Bolin, formerly of Zephyr, The James Gang and Spectrum.
Bolin was rapidly rising as a solo artist and without doubt a guitar wizard on a par with Blackmore. The initial jams were spectacular, Bolin bringing a more rock and roll feel to Deep Purple, which suited their sub-funk dabbling. Many resented anyone taking Blackmore’s place and the odds were stacked against Bolin, who along with Hughes had developed a huge cocaine problem.
Straight out of the gate is opener ‘Comin’ Home’, good old fashioned r ‘n’ r with a surging pace throughout. Bolin’s guitar work is on another level, dominating affairs with some excitable escapades halfway in. A track impossible to tire of.
‘Lady Luck’ is more hard rock in style, Bolin feeding off Hughes’ funky bass riffs, producing a sound which betrays Purple’s English roots, almost too advanced. One of the better known cuts is the funk ridden ‘Gettin’ Tighter’, with a jazz fusion like breakdown that brings to mind Bolin’s work with Billy Cobham in Spectrum.
On the metal scale of things is ‘Dealer’, Bolin’s ode to his drug suppliers, with a brutal bottom ended riff and more superlative soloing from Bolin during the latter stages. There’s another funk effort with ‘I Need Love’, with Bolin warring with Lord in an interesting keyboard-guitar square off.
The theme of being on the run has been a recurring theme throughout Coverdale’s career, and it is explored in superior detail during ‘Drifter’, a powerhouse piece of 70’s metal, which demonstrates how heavy this lineup could be.
Bolin and Coverdale are the showcase, the desperate vocal and the outlaw guitar stance delivering the desired effect. ‘Love Child’ moves in similar circles, although ‘This Time Around’ is pure ballad material, Hughes playing it soft to a Lord keyboard effect laden background. Emotive and very ambitious.
Bolin rattles off a solo in the second instrumental half ‘Owed to ‘G’ ‘, showcasing his talents in a manner similar to his solo albums ‘Teaser’ and ‘Private Eyes’. The most remembered track ‘You Keep On Moving’ scores points for it’s dense atmosphere, the term ‘moody’ the only possible description as overused as it is.
‘Come Taste..’ was met with disdain by most, duly becoming Deep Purple’s lowest charting album of the 70’s. Critics wrote it off immediately, one inaccurately describing it as ‘colourless sludge’. Many years later it sounds better than ever, for me (perhaps alone) Deep Purple’s greatest album, Bolin’s overall work in another dimension.
Many long time detractors have also come around, noting how Bolin gave Purple a new face, less heavy handed and free flowing. Live they had the goods, as proved by the 1976 Long Beach Arena release ‘On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat’, which is a masterful display of improvisation and raw heaviness.
Of course things fell apart, Bolin and Hughes crippled by drugs, Coverdale dissatisfied with his position in the band (as Hughes hogged the vocals), and Paice and Lord simply worn out, leading to the split in 1976 after a shambolic gig in Liverpool.
One of rocks greatest shames is that this would be Mk 4’s only studio recording, as the potential was there for greater things. A recent issue of the magazine Classic Rock featured a superb in depth article on the rise and fall of Deep Purple Mk 4 and should be investigated to get a first hand look at what really went down. I’m comfortable in the knowledge that this is one of rocks perfect albums.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)