I will discuss a whole album of covers by the band Deep Purple this time. It is called Turning to Crime and was released on November 21, 2022. The album was created following a suggestion by Bob Ezrin, who has been Deep Purple’s producer since 2013.
This is Deep Purple’s twenty-second studio album and is composed entirely of covers. The track “The Battle of New Orleans” marks the first time Roger Glover has performed vocals of any kind on a Deep Purple studio recording. It was written by Jimmy Driftwood and most famously recorded by Johnny Horton and scored number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959.
- Ian Gillan – vocals (all tracks), backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11), percussion (3, 7)
- Steve Morse – guitars (all tracks), vocals (9)
- Roger Glover – bass (all tracks), additional keyboards (1), backing vocals and percussion (7), vocals (9)
- Ian Paice – drums (all tracks)
- Don Airey – keyboards (all tracks)
- Bob Ezrin – backing vocals (2, 5, 7, 8, 10–12), vocals (9)
- Leo Green – tenor saxophone (2, 6), horns arrangement (2)
- Matt Holland – trumpet (2, 6)
- Nicole Thalia – backing vocals (4, 6, 12)
- Marsha B. Morrison – backing vocals (4, 6, 12)
- Gina Forsyth – fiddle (9)
- Bruce Daigrepont – squeeze box (9)
- Julian Shank – percussion (10)
I was about to play “7 and 7 Is” by Love on YouTube and saw the listing by Deep Purple. I was introduced to their double LP, which is on white vinyl. “7 and 7 Is” is a song written by Arthur Lee and recorded by his band Love in 1966. The lyrics describe Lee’s frustration at teenage life—the reference to “in my lonely room I’d sit, my mind in an ice cream cone” being to wearing (in reality or metaphorically) a dunce’s cap.
“Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” is a song written and originally recorded by Huey ‘Piano’ Smith in 1957. Johnny Rivers recorded it in 1973 and it reached No.6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 19 weeks. According to the lyrics, the singer would like to approach a woman he sees in a club, or “joint,” but due to his musical illness, he’s unsuccessful.
They also cover my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, written by Peter Green and released in 1969. It has been covered by many, but none is better than The Rockets version. This Deep Purple rendition is excellent also. “Jenny Take a Ride!” was written by Bob Crewe and originally recorded by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.
“Watching the River Flow” is a blues rock song by American singer Bob Dylan. Produced by Leon Russell, it was written and recorded during a session in March 1971. It has been interpreted as Dylan’s account of his writer’s block in the early 1970s and of his wish to deliver less politically engaged material and to find a new balance between public and private life.
“Let the Good Times Roll” is a jump blues song recorded in 1946 by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. A mid-tempo twelve-bar blues, the song became a blues standard and one of Jordan’s best-known songs. The song was written by Sam Theard, a New Orleans-born blues singer, and songwriter, and was co-credited to Fleecie Moore, Jordan’s wife.
“Dixie Chicken” is a song written by Lowell George and Fred Martin and recorded by Little Feat in 1973. It tells of a visitor to the Commodore Hotel who goes from thinking he’s met the love of his life to pouring his broken heart out to a bartender. They soon learn that other barflies at the hotel have been let down by the same potential suitor.
“Shapes of Things” is a song by the English rock group the Yardbirds. It was written by Jim McCarty, Keith Relf, and Paul Samwell-Smith. The lyrics were both pro-environmental: “now the trees are almost green, but will they still be seen;” And anti-war: “please don’t destroy these lands, don’t make them desert sands.”
“Lucifer” is a song by the Bob Seger System, featured on their album “Mongrel.” The song was written by Bob Seger and reached a chart position of #84 on the Pop Singles chart in 1970, and was possibly the best song on that album. Cash Box called it “one of [Seger’s] live appearance favorites filled with a driving rhythm and searing vocal.”
“White Room” was written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown and was released in 1968 as part of Cream’s album Wheels of Fire. The song’s white room is often seen as a metaphor for isolation, a state of emptiness, or a mental space where the singer is trying to make sense of their feelings and experiences.
It’s a somewhat surreal and dreamlike composition, and the meaning can vary depending on how the listener interprets it. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The last song is called “Caught in the Act”, a medley of 5 classic rock songs. It starts with “Going Down”, written by Don Nix and originally released by Moloch in 1969.
Moloch, a British blues-rock band, did not achieve significant chart success, but it became more well-known when other artists, such as Freddie King and Jeff Beck, covered it in subsequent years. These cover versions by other artists gained more recognition and charted higher.
Next up is the instrumental “Green Onions” written by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Lewie Steinberg, and Al Jackson Jr. and recorded by Booker T. and the MGs. The track was originally issued in May 1962 on the Volt label as the B-side of “Behave Yourself”. According to Jones, the composition was originally to be called “Funky Onions”, and it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 100.
The next instrumental was originally recorded by the Allman Brothers in 1971 and written by Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley, and Jai Johanny Johanson. It was released on their live album At Fillmore East.
“Dazed and Confused” was written by Jake Holmes (1967) (Jimmy Page and Robert Plant) and released originally by Jake Holmes and later by the Yardbirds and then Led Zeppelin. The song was included on their debut album Led Zeppelin (1969).
Completing the medley is “Gimme Some Lovin'”, first recorded by the Spencer Davis Group. Released as a single in 1966, it reached the Top 10 of the record charts in several countries. The song was written by Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis, and Muff Winwood.
- “Deep Purple – Turning To Crime” https://www.discogs.com/release/21120127-Deep-Purple-Turning-To-Crime
- “SHAPES OF THINGS” https://vancouversignaturesounds.com/hits/shapes-of-things-by-the-yardbirds/
- “Turning To Crime White” https://www.amazon.com/Turning-Crime-White-Deep-Purple/dp/B09RP7R2VX/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3LJ565UF8ZPHO&keywords=turning+to+crime&qid=1695523027&sprefix=turning+to+crime%2Caps%2C89&sr=8-1
- “Deep Purple” https://www.ear-music.net/turning-to-crime/
- Bob Ezrin – Biography. (n.d.). AllMusic. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/bob-ezrin-mn0000074597/biography