This reissue commemorates the album created by Deep Purple’s third major line up. Gone were the band’s seminal front man Ian Gillan and bassist/producer Roger Glover. With their replacements—the up-and-coming bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, and a complete unknown front man in the form of future Whitsnake superstar David Coverdale—the band was taking a bit of a gamble with its core audience. To illustrate what a big deal this was, imagine the magnitude if Led Zeppelin had suddenly replaced Robert Plant during its prime. Or, think back to the real-life schism that ensued when Ozzy Osbourne got ousted from Black Sabbath.Deep Purple is in the same class as the aforementioned juggernauts, and has also been hugely influential in the world of metal.
Two parts heavy, with equal doses of funk and blues, BURN marked a new creative renaissance for the band. The eponymous opening track kicks things off in high style, with guitar extraordinaire Richie Blackmore’s sonic riffery and Jon Lord’s swirling keyboard acrobatics. “Might Just Take Your Life” keeps the momentum going with its dirty swagger, and some killer vocals courtesy of both Coverdale and Hughes. “Mistreated” is heavy on the blues and showcases Coverdale’s epic pipes. Hughes is no slouch either, as evidenced on “Sail Away.” Having two world-class vocalists would usher in its own set of issues for the band, after BURN’s original release in 1974. But for the time being, the album gave the band a new lease on life, just as Rhino has done with this excellent reissue, which also features five bonus tracks and a 24-page booklet.
+ Jim Kaz