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Tony Iommi & Ian Gillan • Who Cares (Ear Music 2012)

Well, the timing couldn't have been more unfortunate, as this dropped through my letterbox on the very day that Jon Lord passed away. And, of course, the very first track on this compilation of rarities, not so rarities and readily available material is the charity single from last year - 'Out Of My Mind' featuring Jon Lord, Jason Newsted and Nicko McBrain alongside Messres Iommi and Gillan. So, probably not the best time to try and be objective about this.

who cares album cover.It was an ad hoc benefit band put together by Iommi and Gillan, on a flight home from Yerevan, to help finance the rebuilding of a music school in Armenia they had visited together on various occasions in past years. So, let's break it down into new, old and rare.

The two sides of the single are present and correct, and there are first time on CD appearances from Tony Iommi feat. Glenn Hughes on 'Slip Away' and 'Let It Down Easy' from the "Fused" sessions. There are a couple of genuine unreleased moments from Repo Depo, which was tghe band Gillan formed after his second departure from Deep Purple. 'Easy Come, Easy Go' has been rescued from a cassette, and serves to show that there was nothing much of value going on there. Better is a live, acoustic version of 'When A Blind Man Cries' from Gillan, recorded live for an Absolute Radio session.

A couple of vinyl B-sides turn up as well, in the shape of 'She Thinks It’s A Crime' and 'Hole in My Vest'. The former came with the limited edition version of "One Eye To Morocco", and really should have been on the main album. The latter was the flip to 'Nothing But The Best', which came off "Naked Thunder" and is most definitely a B-side.There is an appearance from Greek teen idol M Rakintzis with 'Get Away', which saw Gillan joining in, as well as doing a tour of Greece back in 1993. Of course, Rakintzis went on to the heady heights of representing Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 in Tallinn with the song 'S.A.G.A.P.O.' which finished in 17th place. And then there's the 'Dick Pimple' jam which was given out as a fan club single, and probably drove many fans away. (What? Never!)

Back in the land of the seen, heard it, bought it, there is Black Sabbath doing 'Zero The Hero' and 'Anno Mundi', Gillans revisit to 'Trashed' featuring Iommi, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, the Ian Gillan number 'Don't Hold Me Back' from "Toolbox", as well as turns for his Javelins and Moonshiners gigs with 'Can I Get A Witness' and 'No Laughing In Heaven (live), respectively. The Gillan & Glover project gets a look in with Dr John turning up for 'Can't Believe You Wanna Leave Me', and there's another tearjerking moment as we hear the late Ronnie James Dio joining Purple for 'Smoke On The Water'.

As compilations go, it's pretty good. There is enough good material here that the less fanatical Deep Purple fan may have missed, to encourage them into buying. And there are enough classics, so they don't get bored. And the money is going to charidee, so you're doing A Good Thing without actually having to do anything.

review: Stuart A Hamilton

Who Cares is available to order from the dpas online store

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