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Ian Gillan

One Eye to Morocco

(Eagle; US: 31 Mar 2009; UK: 23 Mar 2009)

Ian Gillan has been the lead singer for Deep Purple on and off for four decades, but he’s been just as prolific outside of that high-visibility gig.  An unexpected break from Deep Purple’s 2008 tour found him with some extra time on his hands; in typical fashion, he used the downtime to flesh out some ideas for a solo album he’d been kicking around for three years or so.  The title, One Eye to Morocco, is a euphemism for not concentrating on the matter at hand—while that notion might have been the initial inspiration, Gillan and his collaborators were anything but distracted when crafting the 12 songs that comprise the album.  One Eye to Morocco is full of smart arrangements that underscore the album’s loosely unifying concept; strangely, the more exotic-leaning songs (“One Eye to Morocco”, “Don’t Stop”) tend to work better than the straight-ahead rockers—Deep Purple this is most definitely not.  But even though he doesn’t stretch his voice to its Purple-proven limits, Gillan seems to know his limitations and strengths with equal intimacy, resulting in an album full of youthful longing that belies its creator’s 63 years of age.

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