Ian Gillan - Gillan's Inn
Ok, first things first, get a load of that album cover. You've got Ian Gillan, standing outside his own psychedelic pub, on a "snowy" night (cocaine reference, maybe?), rather foolishly barefoot with a VERY cheesy grin on his face. Fabulous stuff. Gillan's Inn is open, and it looks like the party has started!
Or rather is pretty much over, as this is a retrospective album, bringing together songs from throughout his career, from Deep Purple, his solo work and his brief involvement with Black Sabbath. Few people possess a voice like Ian Gillan, capable of hitting the high notes even at his advanced age. Joining him on this album is a quite a roll-call of big hair rockers (well, apart from Joe Satriani, on account of him not having any these days). Ronnie Dio, Jeff Healey, Tony Iommi, Ian Paice and even Joe Elliott all help out here, and from the sounds of things, these old men of rock had a grand old time putting it together. Hello Cleveland!
All jokes aside though, Satriani's guitar playing is absolutely incredible - he is a master of his art and able to coax the most incredible sounds, playing at a speed that beggars belief. His contribution to this album is huge, particularly on opening track "Unchain Your Brain" and also on "Speed King", which is one of the best on the album. "Smoke of the Water" is also a highlight, of course, and sees Gillan together with practically the original Deep Purple line-up. The opening riff is a monster, and the recording here is very good indeed.
Other good stuff includes "No Laughing in Heaven" - with Glover and Paice, a hilarious piece of bluesy rock, and "Sugar Plum" which they also contribute to. The complete opposite to this though is the cover of "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", with Def Leppard's Joe Elliott. I haven't got words to explain how unbelievably bad it is, an absolute shocker. It makes me laugh to think how awful it is.
On the flipside of this dual disc in the DVD material, and there is loads of excellent stuff to watch and listen to. This whole release represents excellent value to fans, containing the album in 5.1, a "making off" video, some amateur bootleg video material and even a track commentary from Gillan. Also, and this is really cool, they have included pre-ripped AAC and WMA files so you can put the album straight onto your MP3, something I would like to see introduced more freely.
This is for fans only, definitely. BUT, if this is your thing, you are going to absolutely love this release. It contains stacks of excellent big-hair rock, acres of cool squeaky vocals, and enough guitar licks to keep you smiling until Christmas.