Tommy Bolin’s spirit revived with rerelease of Come Taste the Band



By Steve Newton

Seventies-rock fans who remember guitar great Tommy Bolin will be pleased to know that the only album he recorded with Deep Purple before his drug-overdose death in 1976 will be rereleased in North America on November 2.

1975’s Come Taste the Band, which was conceived, written, and recorded in less than a month, isn’t Purple’s best album–that would be Machine Head obviously–but it’s notable for having Bolin, who’d previously taken Joe Walsh’s place in the James Gang, replace Ritchie Blackmore on guitar. Bolin cowrote six of the album’s nine tracks, and penned the moving instrumental “Owed to ‘G'” on his own.

The two-disc 35th-anniversary reissue includes a remastered version of the album and a remixed version by Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden), with input from Black Country Communion‘s Glenn Hughes, who was Purple’s bassist-vocalist at the time. (The lineup also included vocalist David Coverdale, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice).

As well as a single edit of “You Keep on Moving”, the reissue includes two previously unreleased instrumental tracks from the original sessions with producer Martin Birch, “Always The Same in L.A.” and “Bolin/Paice Jam”.

When Blackmore left the band after 1975’s Stormbringer, many fans figured Deep Purple was toast, but Coverdale asked Lord to keep the band together, and Bolin was recruited for the six-string duties. I liked how he sounded on “Gettin’ Tighter”, with the soulful Hughes–always a better singer than Coverdale–on lead vocals. What a shame that the versatile and unique Bolin left us on December 4, 1976–the day after playing a show with Jeff Beck–at the age of 25.

One thought on “Tommy Bolin’s spirit revived with rerelease of Come Taste the Band

  1. Terrific band and album. I’m a fan of Machine Head Purple, but this lineup of the band is a particular favorite. Great album for Bolin and Hughes fans and Deep Purple fans.
    This Time Around / Owed to ‘G’ (Instrumental)

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