Nobody's Perfect

Deep Purple

Mercury Records, 1988

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


After successfully reuniting in 1984 to record Perfect Strangers and following it up with a solid effort in The House Of Blue Light, one wondered what possessed Deep Purple to put out a double live album.

Sure, it had been over 15 years since the Mk. II lineup of Ian Gillen, Ritchir Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover and Ian Paice had graced the world with Made In Japan, still one of the finest live albums I've ever heard. And sure, they probably wanted to put out something that the new generation of Deep Purple fans would cherish for years to come.

It is therefore ironic that they chose to title their 1988 live release Nobody's Perfect, 'cause this album is far from that.

The bulk of the album is made up of tracks that the older Deep Purple fans grew up with: "Space Truckin'," "Smoke On The Water," "Strange Kind Of Woman". However, seeing that Blackmore and crew had been playing these songs for the better part of two decades, it was almost as if they could play them in their sleep - and sometimes, that's exactly how these live versions sound. The album's opener, "Highway Star," features Deep Purple blazing through the track, leaving a sloppy trail along the way. I would have much rather had them play it at a normal tempo and had Blackmore actually work on providing a cleaner guitar solo. (And quite frankly, I would have rather heard the my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 full version of "Woman From Tokyo," thank you very little!)

And no matter how much screaming he does on stage, Gillen is not the same young singer he was in 1971, and his voice is definitely showing the signs of age. Those high registers he used to hit with no effort now sound strained - the band even drops the key of "Knocking At Your Back Door" a step or two, as if to make it more accessible for Gillen.

Still, the newer material does shine on Nobody's Perfect. The live rendition of "Perfect Strangers" isn't quite as strong as the studio version, but this will do fine nonetheless. "Bad Attitude" also provides a strong showing for Deep Purple, and even though the key in "Knocking At Your Back Door" is knocked a little lower, it's still an enjoyable song. The keyboard riffs from Lord to open the track show he hasn't lost anything over the years.

The album concludes with a bit of a surprise: a re-recording of "Hush," finally with Gillen on vocals. (The original version on 1968 was sung by Rod Evans.) I remember the first time I heard this version, I cringed in pain, and shoved this album way to the back of the Pierce Archives. Well, as time ahs passed, it's proven itself to be a halfway decent version of the song, but nothing will ever take the place of the original.

Nobody's Perfect possibly shows the signs of a band in turmoil; Gillen left Deep Purple one year later, and was replaced by Joe Lynn Turner for all of one album. (Gillen returned to the fold again in 1993.) If this was indeed the case, then maybe this album was put out just in case the members never worked together again. Either that, or this was a "contractual obligation" album, seeing that Slaves And Masters, the album with Turner, was released on RCA. (Contractual obligation albums always seem to suck pretty bad.)

Nobody's Perfect has occasional moments that show the old fire of the classic Deep Purple lineup, but for the most part, this is a tired record that sounds uninspired. You want to hear live Deep Purple, spend your money on Made In Japan, then come back to this if there's any cash left.


Rating: C-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mercury Records, and is used for informational purposes only.