Mk I

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Hard Road: The Mark I Studio Recordings 1968-69 (5 CD box set)

scan_20170123DEEP PURPLE – Hard Road: The Mark I Studio Recordings 1968-69 (2014 Parlophone)

It’s fantastic that old mono recordings are getting the CD treatment.  The original mono mixes of the old Beatles albums were a revelation to those who had never heard them before.  The original mono versions of Deep Purple’s Shades Of and Book of Taliesyn are less surprising, but still a welcome addition for completists who want to hear it “as it was” in 1968.  Comparisons are difficult, but both albums sound like they were meant to be in stereo.  Unlike the Beatles pop rock compositions, Deep Purple’s featured a lot of solo work and even full-blown orchestral movements.  The stereo separation makes that easier to appreciate.  Only Purple’s third album, 1969’s self-titled Deep Purple, did not receive a mono mix.  It is presented here in stereo only.

Now, these three Purple albums all received the deluxe edition treatment (single discs) in the year 2000.  Those versions on Spitfire (links in above paragraph) are still excellent ways to get this early Deep Purple music.  They are fairly common, have great liner notes and pictures, and feature the stereo versions plus 14 bonus tracks combined between them.  There is also a compilation CD called The Early Years featuring more bonus tracks, including 2003 remixes and live takes.  Where Hard Road fails is in replacing these previous four CDs completely.  One would hope you would get  all the associated bonus tracks from this period in one handy-dandy box.  Sadly this box is not quite so dandy.  Here is a list of tracks missing from Hard Road that were on the remastered single discs:

  • “Kentucky Woman” (alternate take on The Early Years)
  • “Hard Road” (BBC session on The Early Years and The Book of Taliesyn remaster)
  • “Hush” (live from US TV)
  • “Hey Joe” (live BBC recording from the remastered Shades Of).
  • “It’s All Over” and “Hey Bop-a-Rebop” (unreleased songs, live BBC sessions from The Book of Taliesyn)

The live BBC songs above can also be found on the double CD BBC Sessions…except for “Hard Road”.

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Of course there is plenty of material on Hard Road that is not on those earlier discs, making things that much murkier.  In addition to the original mono versions, these include:

  • “Kentucky Woman” remixed in 2003
  • “Playground” in a non-remixed version
  • “River Deep, Mountain High” and “The Bird Has Flown” (single edits)
  • A fresh 2012 stereo mix of “Emmaretta”
  • The isolated single B-side version of “April (Part 1)”
  • An early instrumental version of “Why Didn’t Rosemary”

Irritating, yes.  But only to completists.  For just about anyone else, Hard Road will satisfy their need for pretty much all the Deep Purple Mark I they can handle.  It’s not as complete as the title would let on, what with that live “Hush” and alternate take of “Kentucky Woman” missing in action.  Instead you will receive a large booklet with plenty of notes and a new 2013 interview with producer Derek Lawrence.  He was on board early, before they were in Deep Purple.  He describes an early version of the band called “Roundabout” (with Bobby Woodman on drums and Chris Curtis on bass) as “bland”.  When Ian Paice and Nick Simper joined, they sounded better, but to Lawrence clearly Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice were the stars.

Each disc comes in its own LP-style sleeve.  It’s a gorgeous set.  It sounds fantastic, and was assembled with the usual care that goes into a Deep Purple album.  A few niggling missing tracks aside, this is highly recommended to those looking add the first three Purple to their collection.

4/5 stars

 

 

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Inglewood (Live at Inglewood 1968)

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

INGLEWOOD_0005Deep 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.

INGLEWOOD_0004Jon 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.

3.5/5 stars

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).

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Power House (1977 Japanese import)

PH FRONT CD

DEEP PURPLE – Power House (1977  Warner Bros, Japanese import)

I have always loved listening to the Power House album, featuring the classic Deep Purple Mk II era. After Purple broke up in ’76, the market was inundated with compilations and live albums. This one, and others like Last Concert in Japan, and When We Rock We Rock… were snapped up by fans who wanted more Purple. All of these albums have been rendered redundant by superior, current Deep Purple remasters.  If you’re the kind of fan who collects all of those 70’s posthumous Hendrix albums, then you’ll dig Power House, a brief but enjoyable romp through less familiar Purple. You’ll even get the original liner notes by Simon Robinson.

Power House consisted of 6 then-unreleased tracks. Here’s your complete track list:

1. “Painted Horse”.  This is an outtake from the Who Do We Think We Are sessions in July 1972.  This is the track that Blackmore “didn’t like”.  He hated what Gillan did with the vocal, and demanded it be changed.  Gillan refused, and the result was a great, unique Deep Purple rocker that remained unreleased until after the band was defunct.

2. “Hush”
3. “Wring That Neck”
4. “Child In Time”
From the Concerto for Group and Orchestra program in September 1969.  The original hit LP release of the Concerto had just the three movements of that piece.  Deep Purple played a standard three song set before the Concerto, and here it was released on Power House.  These three versions remain among my favourite performances of these songs.  “Child In Time” had yet to be recorded on album, and Jon Lord’s melodies are experimental and in development.  Very cool.  It’s “Hush” that really smokes, a definitive version of this cover.  Gillan made it his own right there.

Today the Concerto is available remixed on two discs, with the full piece, the Deep Purple set, and the Royal Philharmonic’s rendition of Malcolm Arnold’s “Symphony No. 6”, which was also performed that night.

5. “Black Night”.  Another nearly definitive version in my books!  This is a B-side, recorded at the Made in Japan dates in August 1972.  This is widely available today on various extended versions of the Japan shows, the Singles A’s and B’s, 24 Carat Purple, and many others.

6. “Cry Free”.  Outtake from the Deep Purple In Rock sessions in January 1970.  It is incredible how fertile the band were in the early 1970’s.  As if In Rock wasn’t amazing enough, this kind of song doesn’t even make the album?  Amazing that Deep Purple’s outtakes were so impressive.  That they could throw this away speaks volumes of their confidence at the time.

Regardless of Power House being superseded in recent years by better packages, I still enjoy this album, in this sequence.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Deep Purple (1969)

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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.