This review comes by official request of the one, the only, the Scottish Heavy Metal OverloRd!
DEEP PURPLE: Inglewood (2002 Purple Records/Sonic Zoom)
Re-released in 2009 as Live at Inglewood 1968
Most casual rock fans think of Deep Purple Mk II when they think of this band: Gillan, Glover, Blackmore, Lord, and Paice. Before that classic lineup formed in late 1969, the prototypical Deep Purple Mk I recorded three studio albums. One of which (1969’s Deep Purple) is truly an excellent piece of work
Deep Purple Mk I consisted of lead vocalist Rod Evans (later of Captain Beyond), bassist Nicky Simper (later of Warhorse) and of course Richie Blackmore, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. They were more of a psychedelic hippy jam band than the heavy rock band that would record In Rock and Machine Head, and Made in Japan. As such, their live shows lack the ferociousness you’re used to. Having said that, this is an important historical document. It is bootleg quality, recorded in mono, but this is also the only live album of the Deep Purple Mk I years.
Track listing: 1.”Hush”, 2.”Kentucky Woman”, 3.”Mandrake Root”, 4.”Help”, 5.”Wring That Neck”, 6.”River Deep, Mountain High”, 7.”Hey Joe”. Seven numbers. Purple were the opening band for Cream that night. Purple’s setlist is mostly covers, with only two originals! Cream were recording that night, and part of their set the following day ended up on Goodbye. No audio tapes of Deep Purple survived, if they were recorded at all. That this CD exists is a miracle of sorts. It is actually from a video (not film) recording of the night. They were experimenting with a new video camera and were trying out various angles on Purple’s set. The tape sat for decades and degraded so badly that the video was a mere grey fog…but the audio portion survived. This CD is the result, and it is actually a complete recording of the Deep Purple set. No songs went unrecorded.
Blackmore was still playing a Gibson, so his guitar sound is still prototypical, beefy and out of control. Evans was no Ian Gillan, preferring to croon. Most of the songs are long meandering jams. While Deep Purple were excellent as musicians even back then, their jams only occasionally rise to the electricity they are now known and remembered for. They had only been together nine months.
Opening with “Hush”, they sound a bit restrained compared to the more kinetic album version. Rod and Richie provide some flash, but it’s a bit sluggish. “Kentucky Woman” is more action packed, and during Jon’s organ solo, for a moment — just a second — you can hear a hint of the future of “Highway Star” emerge between he and Ian Paice. “Mandrake Root” is an original, but for long stretches all you can make out is crashes and bangs of various things on various instruments.
I like Rod Evans’ understated introduction to “Wring that Neck”: “It features once again our guitarist, who is…to my mind ’cause I play with him, one of the greatest guitarists I’ve ever played with. True! He’s not bad, for a young’un.” Once Blackmore is in tune, he proves the flattery was justified. He’s obviously much more comfortable on something like this. I enjoy his bouncing, teasing solo. It is an antecedent of his style later on.
Jon asks the crowd if they’ve seen 2001; the mild clapping indicates that some have. The band crash into an organ-dominated version of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” before jamming into “River Deep, Mountain High”. A workable version unfolds, and then the band close with a surprisingly emphatic “Hey Joe”.
For its sonic issues (dips in volume and the like) and sometimes sluggish set, this is still buried treasure. There are a few Mk I live BBC sessions available on Purple remasters and box sets; but this is it, the only complete live show released thus far. Only one other is known to exist.
I have the Sonic Zoom digipack mail-order release. No matter the CD you purchase, all come with an excellent informative booklet with more information inside than you can absorb in one sitting. As mentioned though, this is bootleg quality. Don’t expect sonic clarity, don’t expect separation of the instruments. This is a one-mic recording, and there’s only so much you can do to clean it up.
If you’re a fan, add this historic recording to your library. If not, stick to one of more official live releases, like Made in Japan or In the Absence of Pink.
More Purple at mikeladano.com:
Deep Purple (1969), Machine Head (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition + vinyl + In Concert ’72 vinyl), Perks and Tit (Live in San Diego 1974), Stormbringer (35th Anniversary Edition), Come Taste the Band (35th Anniversary edition), Power House (1977), The Battle Rages On… (1993), Shades 1968-1998, Collector’s Edition: The Bootleg Series 1984-2000 (12 CD), Listen, Learn, Read On (6 CD), Rapture of the Deep (2 CD Special Edition), “All the Time in the World” (2013 CD single), Record Store Tales Part 32: Live In Japan, STEVE MORSE BAND – StressFest (1996).