Ian Gillan’s One Eye To Morocco is the professional product one expects from this industry veteran, an interesting videoclip airing on the web – more mellow than usual, sounding as if he’s fronting Procol Harum rather than Purple. “So the song, “One Eye To Morocco”, was the song that all (the) other songs had to fit with. It was written (starts humming the riff) as a backing track, and I developed the melody with (guitarist) Steve Morris some years before. But we never found a home for it…and now it’s become the front door of the album” the singer states in the above posted You-tube promotional video.
With a little taste of “Perfect Strangers”, which certainly is a good thing, the instrumentation gets a bit more exotic, a Beatle-esque string section coming in a la “Strawberry Fields Forever” before Ian starts singing: “I’m drawn by this obsession/With a tantalizing vision/Of a swirling robe” the gutiar wobbling in an entertaining tremolo, Rodney Appelby’s bassline very subtle under all the intricacies producer Nick Blagona slips into the construct.
At 4:08 it is only one of four titles that clock in over four minutes. Gillan knows people like short, quick bursts of melody and sound, and his lyrics are far more refined than they were in the early days of his run with Deep Purple. Has anyone noticed how Purple were better lyricists before In Rock, Machine Head and Fireball…in the Rod Evans period?
Here Gillan has all the elements working in his favor, “No Lotion For That” grooves with smooth car-driving rock, followed by a quick “Don’t Stop” with its quasi-Latino-fused-with-American-pop feel. “Change My Ways” certainly isn’t a song about his music because though things go a bit sideways from the material Gillan is most associated with, beyond Jesus Christ Superstar, it’s still the Deep Purple voice and attitude permating these tracks. “Girl Goes To Show deeping into even trippier musical bags, from Blondie’s “The Tide Is High” to even little subtleties of Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover”, not that you can hear those vibes as much as feel them.
On “Better Days” Gillan goes for a more Lou Reed-ish talk/vocal out of some Cajun bayou once inhabited by Rusty Kershaw. The album clocks in at almost 44 minutes, a search for the “ultimate groove”, in a song of the same name, to the pensive introspection of “Always A Traveler”, this will satisfy his large following but begs the question, can journeymen the stature of Ian Gillan find a bonanza of fans on the worldwide web without the platform that the unknown Susan Boyle types now utilize, and do we want our pop heroes to resurrect themselves in “reality tv” beyond what Ozzie Osborne has accomplished?
Without some kind of extreme blitz in the world of YouTube an album like One Eye To Morocco may never reach its full potential.
1.) One Eye To Morocco
2.) No Lotion For That
3.) Don’t Stop
4.) Change My Ways
5.) Girl Goes To Show
6.) Better Days
7.) Deal With It
8.) Ultimate Groove
9.) The Sky Is Falling Down
10.) Texas State Of Mind
11.) It Would Be Nice
12.) Always The Traveler