Don Airey - One Of A Kind

Don Airey - One Of A Kind

(CD, Ear Music, 2018)

"Can you feel the music running through your veins?" That’s the first thing you see when upon opening the booklet to Don Airey’s fifth solo album, titled “One Of A Kind”. It’s actually just recently I’ve really gained a real interest in various band members’ solo albums. I've of course been familiar with Don Airey's capabilities since long but it has always been the main bands that have caught my interest. Yes, I know, I know, I’ve missed a lot of good music by doing this but it’s better to start late than never, right? With this (and because of his long list of merits), I had no idea what to expect from Don Airey, what he could deliver and frankly my expectations were very far off from what’s delivered on “One Of A Kind”.

Album opener “Respect” is a DEEP PURPLE oozing rocker, far heavier than I ever expected anything to be. And that is what’s on “One Of A Kind”; mighty fine '70s Heavy Metal. For sure, it holds more than that, some very melodic stuff, almost happy and cheerful on occasion. But the way it’s delivered, the musicality and nerve make it work. Just listen to the title track “One Of A Kind” as an example. The moody verses resolve in a very light and bright chorus line. Even with the key-changes, it flows very smoothly. Carl Sentance’s (see also PERSIAN RISK & NAZARETH) vocal performance here is outstanding. The mood fits his voice perfectly and he sounds better than ever. I mean, he has impressed every time I’ve seen him, but the soul and nerve delivered here are outstanding.

It’s no surprise that I like the heavy stuff, with “Victim Of Pain” coming in as a favourite. It’s raw and direct, much more primitive than the rest of the songs on the album. The gnawing rhythm of the vocal line in the verses are fantastic. And again, there’s a very catchy chorus-line coming in which merges perfectly with the parts and passages of this Epic. “Running Free” is a much lighter tune, more of American '80s Arena Rock. Still, it doesn’t feel misplaced on the record. The massive chorus works and in comparison with its predecessor on the album this one is miles away. But it still fits in, all of it does. RAINBOW styled “Lost Boys” is another favourite; I love these up-tempo old-school heavy tracks. The groove is there as well as the dynamics. And it’s a relief to get a record like this one that sounds awesome but is not pushed to the limits and cut to utter boredom (and why should they, the musicianship is fabulous). The vibrancy really does the trick.

Another fantastic piece of music delivered on “One Of A Kind” is “Children Of The Sun”. It’s a rather complex and funky piece of music but it still has the same drive and melancholy to it as most of the album. This is one of the reasons Don Airey’s music really appeals to me. The passage before the chorus-line and the chorus sound very much like GILLAN, so what’s that not to like?

Closing “Stay The Night” leans towards contemporary DEEP PURPLE and could easily have been a part of DEEP PURPLE's last few records. The track sums up the record in a very good way. Well, the whole package contains a bonus disc too with a few line-samples of Don’s current and former employers, which is all good and works well as a bonus. That too sounds great. And the question asked in the booklet (also a line in that final song), is highly relevant. Yes, I can feel the music. We're talking about classic Hard Rock, dark and epic so in that sense it's perhaps not “One Of A Kind”, but hell yes, I can feel it and it makes me crank up the volume to get a little bit more out of it.





01. Respect
02. All Out Of Line
03. One Of A Kind
04. Everytime I See Your Face
05. Victim Of Pain
06. Running Free
07. Lost Boys
08. Need You So Bad
09. Children Of The Sun
10. Remember To Call
11. Stay The Night
12. Pictures Of Home (bonus, live)
13. Since You've Been Gone (bonus, live)
14. I Surrender (bonus, live)
15. Still Got The Blues (bonus, live)


Don Airey - Keyboards
Carl Sentance - Vocals
Laurence Cottle - Bass
Simon McBride - Guitars
Jon Finnigan - Drums
Steve Bentley-Klein - Strings