One Eye To Morocco

Ian Gillan

Ian Gillan, vocalist extraordinaire with Deep Purple, says of his CD One Eye To Morocco: “From a café’ in the Jewish Quarter of Cracow, where the conceptual seeds were sown, to harvest time at a Toronto studio, this is a magical journey for me.” I’m not so sure that the influence of Cracow is felt on the album’s 12 songs (or even a Toronto feel for that matter!); in fact, it is only the first few notes of the title track that sound remotely exotic. Fortunately, that doesn’t prevent One Eye To Morocco from showcasing Gillan’s songwriting and impressive pipes.

There’s the straight-ahead rock and roll of “No Lotion For That” and “Don’t Stop,” both featuring some impressive and steady guitar work from Michael Lee Jackson, a frequent Deep Purple and Ian Gillan collaborator. Gillan dominates “Change My Ways,” dancing around the harmonica and organ like Huey Lewis in search of a new drug. There’s some great slide work on “Girl Goes To Show,” as well as “Better Days,” a slow bluesy number with Gillan dipping the register before breaking out high and strong with that voice ingrained into the psyche of classic rock and roll.

“Ultimate Groove” and “The Sky Is Falling” both have a familiar Purple ring with a smooth Gillan vocal. The masterful “It Would Be Nice” brings it down to a crawl. Nailed to a poignant lyric, Gillan shows some remarkable control, even when the tempo picks up and a horn-driven solo delivers the final blow. Knowing Gillan as the voice of Deep Purple, it’s nice to have him step out and way from the band again. Whatever the record’s actual connection to Morocco may be, One Eye To Morocco stretches some boundaries and keeps it simple, moving and unique — all without making it look like the singer is ready to call it a day for a shady retreat along the Mediterranean. That is, if he doesn’t already have one.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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