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Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi – Who Cares

Label: Armoury Records
Format: CD
Released: 2012
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7/ 10

Don't be fooled. The duo that led Black Sabbath's oft-overlooked and underrated masterpiece, “Born Again”, are NOT back together again, releasing lots of new material. The only 2 new tracks on the Who Cares charity double-album are ‘Out of My Mind’ and ‘Holy Water’, recorded by the supergroup, Who Cares, comprised of Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), Jason Newsted (Flotsam and Jetsam, Metallica, Echobrain, Voivod), Jon Lord (Deep Purple), and Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden). ‘Holy Water’ is an excellent collaboration, one of the album's highlights. ‘Out of My Mind’ is pretty forgettable.


Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks on disc 1 and 2 of Who Cares seem to have been dug up from beneath couch cushions, along with pocket change, lint, and old sandwiches. Lost/unused/discarded tracks from Iommi's and especially Gillan's side projects abound, from Black Sabbath, Repo Depo, Deep Purple, Garth Rocket and Moonshiners, and various solo collaborations. It's often a flea market of Gillan's various experimentations, ranging from World Music to Rockabilly to American White Gospel to crappy commercial ballads.

‘Zero the Hero’ (Black Sabbath). This song made the “Born Again” album legend, but the version here is clipped (radio edit?), and therefore inferior.

‘Trashed’ (Ian Gillan feat. Tony Iommi, Ian Paice and Roger Glover). An altered cover of the brilliant original, also from the “Born Again” album. This is a good rendition, but as a fan of the original, I have trouble accepting its changes.

‘Smoke on the Water’ (Deep Purple feat. Ronnie James Dio - - with the London Symphony Orchestra). Incredible live energy, plus tasteful, unobtrusive strings, plus Dio guest vocals on one of the most iconic hard rock songs of all time. This track is a keeper.

‘Holy Water’ (WhoCares). Good stuff.

‘Let it Down Easy’ (Tony Iommi feat. Glenn Hughes). So, wouldn't this be “Seventh Star” of Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi or something? Not Sabbathy at all, suprisingly effective straight ahead hard rock groove.

‘Dick Pimple’ (Deep Purple). OK, if you can get past the title, and the opening two minutes of drunken rambling into the microphone, the guys launch into a fantastic 12-Bar-Blues jam, showcasing just how talented this band truly was.

I had a difficult time finding information about the charity behind this album, but according to Wikipedia, the proceeds apparently go to rebuild a music school in Gyumri, Armenia after the destruction of the city in the 1988 earthquake in Armenia.

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