GLENN HUGHES: THE OFFICIAL BOOTLEG BOX SET, VOL 2 1993-2013
6CD clamshell box
Purple Records / Cherry Red Records
Missed out on the Glenn Hughes Official Bootleg Box Set, Vol.1? There’s more than enough to satisfy any Hughes/Purple/voice of rock cravings with Vol.2.
If ever there were a rock and roll trooper, it would be Glenn Hughes. Currently taking a breather having had to rearrange some tour dates, he’s certainly no quitter. Since his Deep Purple days, ‘voice of rock’ has reinvented himself constantly and a prolific output has poured incessantly from him; more recently and successfully with the excellent Black Country Communion as well as seeing him celebrating his Purple legacy.
The first volume in the series came under fire from some of the fan base but as others pointed out, the clue, the key word, was in the title. There will be many of us who recall the days when getting your hands on those ever elusive bootlegs was a bonus regardless of any sound quality issues and to be fair, that was part of the territory.
So how does the new set fare? An interesting curio set whets the appetite with a disc of demos and works in progress that offer an alternative to the usual hard rock credentials. He always was one for looking to broaden the Purple palette, so don’t be surprised at hearing laid back pop and soul from the archives that shows up the chameleon of Glenn Hughes and while the hard rockers amongst us may scoff at his attempts to broaden his range, it goes some way to filling in a period where his song writing took a lesser trodden path.
The live material kicks in with recordings from one of three Swedish shows represented. We head back to June 1993 at the Blitz Nightclub and you know with Glenn that you’re going to get some Deep Purple but the deeper cuts and not always the obvious Smoke On The Water (although you do…) and Speed King / Highway Star / Space Truckin’ etc, but This Time Around, Getting’ Tighter and You Keep On Moving. Not the prime cuts that you’ll find in the ‘best of’ sets. The plus, of course, is that you get to hear something a bit different; alongside the Purple hard rock is the soulful (some may opt for ‘soulfoul’) Georgia On My Mind that’s both a departure and a challenge and one he resolutely sticks with performing. The aforementioned sound quality issues that fans had with Vol. 1 may well resurface as while this set offers a very much ‘like you were there’ experience, it’s not a set of sonic crystal clear separation values that stand out.
September the same year offers a recording from Gothenburg’s Zoo Club that again offers a muddy (or possibly muggy) ‘in the audience’ experience or perhaps the sound from the bar. Thankfully there’s no-one singing right down your ear although let’s say that the audience atmosphere is to the fore. The Glaswegians are in good voice on five tracks from The Cathouse in November 1995 as they indulge in a “one Glenn Hughes, there’s only one Glenn Hughes” show of support. We’re back to Gothenburg in 1996 beefier sound and a chance for Lars Pollock’s keys to burn into your brain and there’s the bonus of the interesting curio of a 1992 version of Ozzy’s Goodbye To Romance that sounds like they’re having a go at a few covers.
We come more up to date with a Mk3 and Mk4 Deep Purple heavy set from 2013 Live In Rome. Might Just Take Your Life doesn’t quite match the pacey version David Coverdale’s Whitesnake was playing in their early days but one that’s always good to hear if just for that fizzing Hammond intro. A soulful stab at Stevie Wonder’s Superstition is followed by the band getting out their funk on the Bolin/Hughes piece Getting’ Tighter and then a thirteen-minute schmaltz through Mistreated. Probably the best sounding recording of the lot to boot. It’s a shame that the full force of the voice of rock sounds a little strangled at times although there are brave attempts at a Gillanesque squeal now and again. Historical importance and as you’d have heard it and all that come into play as the main factors in these type of releases and let’s face it – surely it’s better than nowt.
Watch some footage of Hughes and his band playing Burn in April 2019: