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Don Airey • All Out

"A new solo album from current Deep Purple and former Rainbow man, Don Airey, this sees him largely eschewing the neo-classical approach of many keyboard players in favour of a more song based album.

Granted, there are a few instrumental numbers, but he's put together a core band that features former Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance, along with drummer Darrin Mooney who has played with Gary Moore amongst others, guitarist Rob Harris and jazz bass whizz Laurence Cottle . Add in a few special guests - Joe Bonamassa, Whitesnake ex Bernie Marsen and guitar playing brother Keith Airey, and there's no doubt that it's a top notch band at play.

However, one thing Don Airey is not renowned for is his songwriting. Scan down the hundreds of albums that he's played on, and you won't find many writing credits. And, to be brutal, you can tell why. You see the songs are serviceable, as they find a groove into between prog, power metal and soundtrack. It flirts with the world of Mr Blackmores' Rainbow in places and on numbers like the instrumental ''Estancia', things actually go all early seventies Deep Purple. Which is very enjoyable, no question about it.

It's actually the instrumentals that come out best on the record, and I'd have been happy to hear more of them, but I'm sure that's a hard sell to a record company. Hence the vocal tracks. Of the vocal numbers, it's the hard rocking 'People In Your Head' and the Bernie Marsden enhanced 'Running From The Shadows' that come out best. Worst by far is the sole cover of 'Fire', the Jimi Hendrix tune that was rubbish the first time around..

Now don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this album, but once it was finished, I was hard pressed to remember any of the songs. It might be a grower, and it's certainly in the repeat play pile, but it struggled to grab me where it counts."

review: Stuart A Hamilton (aka Mr H)

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Don Airey "All Out" can be ordered from the dpas online store