DEEP PURPLE – Deep Purple (1969 EMI, 2000 The Original Deep Purple Collection)
I love when bands release a self-titled album as their third, perpetually (purpetually?) confusing fans who think it’s their first! Maybe not so much in the Wikipedia age, but many of my customers thought that Deep Purple was the band’s debut.
This album is unbelievable. I know people, very particular music fans, who consider this to be the best Deep Purple album. I wouldn’t make that claim myself (I prefer Fireball) but I rank this one very high. Neither of the first two albums by Deep Purple Mk I did much for me. I found them meandering and plodding. Somehow, by the third record, the band had morphed into something different. The singer was Rod Evans (Captain Beyond) and the bassist was Nicky Simper (Warhorse). And of course more changes would come, since this would prove to be the last album for both men.
Side one, track one is an amazing opener called “Chasing Shadows” (not to be confused with a later Deep Purple song just called “Shadows”) that features a Paice-arranged drum orchestra throughout the whole song. “Blind” is second, which features Lord on harpsichord. How 1960’s! Great song though, slow and mournful with a wicked Blackmore solo. This is followed by the Donovan cover “Lalena”. It is another sad sounding track in a row, but with a beautiful organ opening from Jon Lord. A brief instrumental called “Fault Line” is a crazy interlude, recorded backwards with the bass recorded forwards. That melds into a serious rocker called “Painter”, which ends side one. “Painter” to me is best remembered for Ian Paice’s inventive drumming and Blackmore’s excellent bluesy playing.
Side two began with “Why Didn’t Rosemary?”, a groovy blues rocker with the relentless rhythm section of Paice and Simper driving it. “Bird Has Flown” follows, but not the Beatles song. It verges on heavy metal with Blackmore leaning heavily on the wah-wah peddle. The final track, “April”, is a 12 minute tour-de-force and an obvious foreshadowing to the next Deep Purple album, Concerto For Group And Orchestra. It features a long opening in two movements. The first movement is mostly organ and classical guitar, with some electric guitar accents. The second is based entirely on classical instruments and sounds very medieval at times. (Foreshadowing Blackmore’s Night!) Finally, the band kicks in with an intense rocker, Paice laying it down hard. Rod Evans’ lead vocal is among his best, a fitting swan song, although he certainly didn’t know that at the time!
Indeed, even while Deep Purple were gigging with Rod Evans and Nick Simper in the band, they would soon secretly begin rehearsing and recording with their replacements, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover!
This excellent CD remaster comes with an extensive booklet and five bonus tracks. Some of these bonus tracks were completely previously unreleased. These are live BBC performances and non-album singles. Notably included are two cool, catchy and rare singles A-sides: “Emmaretta” and “The Bird Has Flown” (an earlier version of “Bird Has Flown”). Some of the BBC performances have since been released on compilation albums, but these are rare performances indeed. In a short while, the band would write In Rock and drop most of the old songs from their set.
The only flaw with this CD, (and I’m talking the only flaw), is the cover. That awesome painting by Hieronymus Bosch is one of the coolest, creepiest, most interesting paintings I know. The original LP was a gatefold and you could fold the whole thing out and stare at it for years. The cover on this CD is so tiny, and doesn’t show the back part of the LP. That’s a real shame. For such a great cover, for it to be chopped and rendered down to about 2″ per side…it doesn’t make any sense. What a blown opportunity. The CD should have come with a small fold out poster, at least.
5/5 stars…but pick up an original LP if you can. I have a purple vinyl reissue, but it lacks the gatefold, and you really lose something without the gatefold.
An original LP is seen below.