rod evans

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Purple Chronicle – The Best Selection of 25th Anniversary (3 CD Japanese box set)

DEEP PURPLE – Purple Chronicle – The Best Selection of 25th Anniversary (1993 triple CD Warner Japan box set)

Here is something clearly designed for the archivist, not the casual listener.  Purple Chronicle is a strange but in-depth collection of singles, album cuts, B-sides and rarities.  With tracks spanning 1968 to 1976 (Deep Purple’s original run) there is much to cover.  There are even two mono mixes that are still unavailable on CD anywhere else.

The first two discs comprise a chronological look at the most key Deep Purple tracks.  Five songs are earmarked to represent the Rod Evans era, including the big one “Hush” and Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”.  It’s a mere brief glance at the three albums they did with Rod, but there are more rarities on Disc 3.

The classic Deep Purple Mk II era featuring Ian Gillan takes over on the next 11 tracks.  From “Speed King” through to “Fireball” and “Strange Kind of Woman”, the big hits are here.  Who Do We Think We Are from 1973 only has one track present (“Woman From Tokyo”).  “Into the Fire” is pleasing to find here, as one of Deep Purple’s short and sweet heavy metal stomps.

Deep Purple Mk III and IV (featuring David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes behind the microphones) are given 12 tracks to stretch out.  They don’t anything as long as Gillan’s “Child in Time” which exceeds 10 minutes, so this is still fairly proportional.  The best songs, both rockers and ballads, are laid out from their three records.  They include the unforgettable “Burn” and “Stormbringer”, the extended blues “Mistreated” and underappreciated gems such as “You Keep on Moving” and “Comin’ Home” with Tommy Bolin on guitar.

All of the songs on the first two discs would have been available on standard Deep Purple CDs at the time.  The third disc has a bunch of tracks that were (and some that still are) harder to come by.  It is dominated by B-sides, single edits and assorted rarities.  “Black Night” appears for the first time, as a single edit and live B-side.  Indeed there is a lot of repeat of Disc 3.  “Speed King” for example is here twice more, with both of its extended intros (noise plus keyboards, or just keyboards).  These weren’t on the typical CD release of Deep Purple In Rock at the time.  There are single edits of “Woman From Tokyo”, “Highway Star”, “Lazy” and “Burn” (two edits!).  And there are lots of rarities galore, culled from B-sides and Purple’s outtake album Power House.  Some, such as Rod Evans’ “Emmeretta”, and Gillan’s “Painted Horse” and “Cry Free”, are true unsung Purple classics.  “Coronarias Redig” is notable as the only instrumental of the Coverdale era.

The two tracks that are still true rarities today are the mono mixes of “Smoke on the Water” and its live counterpart.  More versions of “Smoke”?  Yes indeed, but unless you have heard them in mono before, you have not heard them all.  These are not “fold down” mono mixes made by just converting the stereo track to mono.  These are audibly different in subtle ways.

This is the kind of set that will be difficult and expensive to track down.  If you spy it somewhere, be aware of the value to collectors.  (I was fortunate that a copy in great condition just dropped in my lap for cheap.)  Consider it if collecting Purple is your thing.  Includes full booklet and poster with family tree.

3.5/5 stars

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REVIEW: Deep Purple – When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll (1978)

DEEP PURPLE – When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll (1978 Warner)

When Deep Purple broke up in 1976, their back catalog was ripe for exploitation for compilation by record labels.  One by one, out trickled Deepest Purple, Singles A’s and B’s, and When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll.  1978’s When We Rock is the least necessary of them all.

The only thing that When We Rock really has going for it is that did feature all the Deep Purple singers to date.  Ian Gillan sings the majority of tracks, Rod Evans has two (“Hush” and “Kentucky Woman”) and Coverdale/Hughes have one (“Burn”).  The shoddy package had no involvement from any ex-members of the band, and even has an incorrect track listing on the back.  “Woman From Tokyo” isn’t live, but “Smoke on the Water” is (from Made in Japan).

If music shoppers in 1978 were just looking for a handy-dandy single record set of all Purple’s radio hits, then When We Rock almost fits the bill.  “Hard Road (Wring That Neck)” is conspicuous by its inclusion, being a semi-obscure instrumental from 1969’s The Book of Taliesyn.  Swap that one out for “Strange King of Woman” and you could have had a serviceable hits set, even considering the live tracks.  After all, Made in Japan helped establish the live album as a viable hitmaker.

The only reason to own When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll is the cover art, which admittedly is pretty nifty.

1/5 stars

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 – Perfect Strangers (1984)

It’s Purple Week at mikeladano.com!  It’s all Deep Purple and Deep Purple alumni, all week.  This is Part 3…and this time we’re going Epic Review Time.  

Part 1:  Shades of Deep Purple
Part 2:  The Book of Taliesyn

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DEEP PURPLE – Perfect Strangers (1984 Polygram)

Deep Purple were the proverbial candle that was burned at both ends.  Their first four studio albums (plus a friggin’ concerto!) were cranked out in a mere two years.  Management and record labels pushed the band to stay on the road, only taking precious breaks to write and record new music.  Sometimes the pressure worked (Machine Head) and sometimes it didn’t (Who Do We Think We Are).  Ian Gillan’s resignation signaled the end of the celebrated Deep Purple Mk II lineup.  Though the band successfully carried on with David Coverdale & Glenn Hughes, even those lineups imploded and by 1976, Deep Purple officially ceased to exist.

The absence of Purple created a void that was filled by greatest hits records, live albums, and well-known side projects such as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Gillan, and Whitesnake.  Still, there was such a demand for Deep Purple itself that original singer Rod Evans put together his own bogus “Deep Purple” and played several shows in 1980!  In his band were a couple guys from Iron Butterfly, but no other former Purple alumni.  Just Rod.  The guy who didn’t sing “Highway Star”, “Smoke on the Water”, or “Lazy”.  Needless to say, Rod Evans’ bogus “Deep Purple” did not last as soon as word got out.  The lawyers for the other former Deep Purple members ensured that by running ads in the local papers. “The following members will not be appearing with the band called Deep Purple at [such and such a date and venue] : Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale.”  A show in Montreal was particularly horrid, and reportedly the band’s stage act involved one of the members bringing out a chain saw to cut stuff up. They were hit with lawsuits galore and quickly packed it in, but not before recording two new songs for a projected new “Deep Purple” studio album. The two songs, “Blood Blister” and “Brum Doogie”, are thankfully lost.  A video of “Smoke on the Water” live in Mexico remains, to remind us why this was not a good idea.  [For more on the bogus “Deep Purple”, click here.]

Clearly, lots of profits were to made if the real Deep Purple were ever to reunite.  They tried earlier on, but were hung up when Ian Gillan joined Black Sabbath.  When Ian’s Sabbath commitments were finished a year later, it finally happened.  Jon Lord had freed himself of Whitesnake, and Ritchie, Roger Glover and Ian Paice were all ready willing and able.  The reunion was on, for real this time.

The band quickly agreed on creating new music (otherwise, what’s the point of it?), and decided that there had to be a level of quality that served the name Deep Purple.  They retreated to the gorgeous Stowe, Vermont and found themselves to be in great spirits and full of ideas.  Another wise decision was the use of bassist Glover to produce.  After his first stint in Purple, he became quite successful as a producer.  He recorded some of the best Nazareth albums, a Judas Priest record (Sin After Sin) , Rainbow, David Coverdale, and countless more.  It only made sense to keep production of the new album within the band when you have a guy like Roger in the band!

The album that resulted, Perfect Strangers, was more modern but unmistakably Deep Purple.  Taking advantage of modern recording studios resulted in an album with rich instrumental tones.  As great as classic Deep Purple albums were sonically, Perfect Strangers has a new richness and clarity.  Jon’s organ is deep and gorgeous, but Ian Paice’s drum sound is monstrous.

The opening track “Knocking at Your Back Door” (hah hah hah) commences with ominous keys from Jon, sounding at first like the pipes of doom.  Then Roger begins a quick pulse, and Paice crashes that cymbal, and my God, Deep Purple is back!  Ritchie and Ian join them for the first Deep Purple epic of the album — and on the first track, no less!  “Knocking at Your Back Door” may be a joke lyrically, but it’s dead serious musically.  It’s Deep Purple, but streamlined.  Extraneous things have been discarded; others are sleeker.  The only disappointment about the song is actually the guitar solo, which just slightly does not fit.  Glover once said about this album that Ritchie struggles with solos in the studio more so than live.  Something about when the red light goes on, he gets cold feet.  There’s some incredible playing in this guitar solo, but parts of it feel out of place and overdone.

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That one minor complaint is probably the only quibble you’ll read here about Perfect Strangers.  The album continues to impress as it plays.  “Under the Gun” is a song that would sound so great live today; shame that it hasn’t been played live in 30 years.  I can’t imagine why.  “Under the Gun” demonstrates the streamlined groove that Purple were going for in the 80’s.  Listen to Paicey’s drums.  They are relentless and powerful, but he’s also playing it simpler than he used to.  This is intentional.  When I say “streamlined”, that doesn’t mean there aren’t long solos, because Ritchie’s here is over a minute long (in a 4:34 song)!

“Nobody’s Home” gives Jon Lord a change to stretch out a bit on the synths, but it’s just a feint.  This track re-writes “Black Night” for 1984, and ties it all up with a little bow in under four minutes.  “Your lights are burnin’ bright, but nobody’s home!” sings Ian, for once not speaking of Blackmore!  Jon takes the spotlight with a nice quick solo on the Hammond, a sound not often heard in ’84.

Side one was closed by the nasty little “Mean Streak”.  It has one of those quirky Gillan lyrics that I like so much. “She came home last night, rockin’ rollin’ drunk. She talk no sense but she sound good so she thunk.”  It’s a cool rock track with a chugging riff; always a deadly combination when wielded by Deep Purple.  It boasts one of Ritchie’s coolest solos on the album.

I will never forget seeing this video on MuchMusic, introduced by Bruce Dickinson.  Of Deep Purple he said, “Well, they’re very good. But not as good at football as they appear. No. They’re not.” The VJ (Erica Ehm) asked, “Why not?”  Dickinson simply responded, “Because they’re not! What a silly question.”

Of all the songs on Perfect Strangers, only one has been consistently played live every tour:  the title track.  This epic, like its  side one counterpart “Knocking at Your Back Door”, opens with Jon’s ominous keys.  This time it’s the old trusty Hammond, and then the band crash in with the riff to kill all riffs.  I think in some respects, this song has become Deep Purple’s “Kashmir”, especially when played in concert.  It has evolved to become more exotic since it was first recorded, though it does contain those flavors here.  The lyrics are ambiguously beautiful.  Back in the Record Store days, I talked to a guy once who thought the lyrics were about God.  I’ll leave it up to you.  Blackmore called it his favourite Deep Purple song.  It’s a tough call, but Top Five for sure.  I cannot survive without this song in my life, period.

Then WHAM! “A Gypsy’s Kiss,” right in the kisser.  If any doubters had thoughts that Purple had lost anything in the past decade, this song proved them dead wrong.  Blazing pace, blazing Paice, the whole place is ablaze!  Again, Ian’s lyrics are awesome, and I love the self-referencing.  “Space truckers free and high, Teamsters get ya by and by.”  I also really like this verse, because, hey. John Wayne, man.

John Wayne, the Alamo,
Crazy Horse, Geronimo,
I’ll smoke a piece with you.
Mind, Body, Heart and Soul,
We got Rock and Roll,
And there’s nothing they can do.

A good Deep Purple album rarely has a slow blues buried deep within.  “Wasted Sunsets” is the album’s heavy blues track, like “When a Blind Man Cries” was to Machine Head (though it was relegated to a mere B-side).  Jon’s organ sets the mood stunningly, and Ritchie absolutely nails it.  I get the feeling that Ian is baring his soul in the lyrics, although he doesn’t seem too regretful of all those one night stands.

For self referencing, no lyric on the album beats out “Hungry Daze”:

The mountain’s getting cold and lonely,
The trees are bare,
We all came out to Montreux,
But that’s another song, you’ve heard it all before!

Regrets?  Hell no.  “Different girls, laughing girls, forever girls and it was loud!”  Gillan has a talent for making cheeky lyrics like this work with serious music.  “Hungry Daze” has that modern Purple groove with the same kind of chugging exotic riff that powers “Perfect Strangers” — but faster!  There’s even backwards tapes (Jon’s organ), a sound unheard on a Deep Purple album since 1969, but back in style in 1984.

Lucky cassette and compact disc buyers got a bonus track: “Not Responsible”.  When I first got the album (on cassette) I wondered, “Why is this song a bonus track? It’s one of the best songs!”  Good question!  (Perhaps because it’s the only song on which Gillan dropped an f-bomb.)  I think it closes the album even better than “Hungry Daze” does.  Lyrically it’s more drinking and debauchery.  “So I’ll raise a glass to you, the foot is on the other shoe.”  I consider “Not Responsible” to be of equal value to any of the better tracks on the album proper, so if you only own this on LP, consider getting this song (legally) to complete the picture.

PERFECT STRANGERS 12 INCHWant more?  There’s one more, but you’ll have to do a little research to get it in full.  “Son of Aleric” is a killer slow groove 10 minute instrumental, with all the flavor of the album.  It was released on the B-side of “Perfect Strangers”.  If you bought the 7″ single, you got the 5:28 edit version.  If you bought the 12″ single, you got the full Monty at 10:03.  The full version was rarely issued on CD.  I have it on a compilation CD with the cumbersome title of Knocking at Your Back Door: The Best of Deep Purple in the 80’s.  But “Son of Aleric” is only on the UK version!  (Other territories just got a live version of “Child in Time” from the live album Nobody’s Perfect.  Bummer.)  This is the kind of open Deep Purple jam that you just want to melt into.  It’s magic.

If you like Deep Purple, but do not own Perfect Strangers, then I advise that you remedy that situation at your earliest convenience.  I am no stranger to this album; I have played it hundreds of times, often more than once in the same day.  I have never grown tired of it.  For that reason, and many more, Perfect Strangers earns the coveted:

5/5 stars

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REVIEW: Deep Purple – The Book of Taliesyn (1968)

It’s Purple Week at mikeladano.com!  It’s all Deep Purple and Deep Purple alumni, all week.  This is Part 2.  

Part 1:  Shades of Deep Purple

DEEP PURPLE – The Book of Taliesyn (1968 EMI, 2000 remaster)

I’m not a big fan of The Book of Taliesyn, and that’s not because I don’t like Deep Purple Mk I. I do like Deep Purple Mk I, or at least some of it. I think the third Purple album from ’69 is one of the band’s all-time best, and an underrated classic. The Book of only scratches the surface. The band had yet to find their sound, which would emerge fully formed a year later on Deep Purple In Rock. This album does represent significant growth, but not in the heavy metal direction that Purple would co-pioneer.  Instead, Book of travels further down the orchestral roads with Jon Lord.

The Book of Taliesyn, like Shades of Deep Purple before it, is built with cover songs as its cornerstones. It contains one of my favourite Deep Purple Mk I tracks: their version of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”. Energetic, ragged and rocking hard, “Kentucky Woman” is the absolute best track here.  Ian Paice is the MVP, but singer Rod Evans is well suited to this kind of tune. Other standouts include “Wring That Neck”, the legendary instrumental (also called “Hard Road”) that the band continued to play through the decades even after Blackmore left the band in the 90’s.  “The Shield” isn’t bad, as it features a long instrumental break featuring Jon and Ritchie.  There is also the track “Anthem”, a Jon Lord helmed piece that delves into classical, forshadowing the “April” suite from the third album, as well as the Concerto for Group and Orchestra itself. So, the band was certainly stretching out here. There is a definite growth from the first album. Unfortunately, the album is bogged down by another slow, boring Beatles cover (“We Can Work It Out”, this time) and also “River Deep, Mountain High”, a whole 10 minutes thereof, which does nothing to help the band.  The only notable thing about it is Jon’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” intro.

DP BOOK OF TALIESYN_0003Like the other two albums in this series of remasters on Spitfire, there are five previously unreleased bonus tracks. All are valuable in their own way. Keep in mind that these tapes are old and may not sound as good as you’re used to. But, “Playground” is a bright instrumental from BBC tapes, and “Wring That Neck” is presented live. “Hey Bop a Re Bop” is buried treasure, an early version of what would become “Painter” on the next album.  There are two more cool covers to boot.  “Oh No No No” is a studio outtake, but I don’t recognize it.  It’s a mid-tempo pop rocker with splashes of Jon’s organ that quench the thirst.  Nicky Simper demonstrates some impressive bass chops, but he just wasn’t the right fit for the band.  A BBC Top Gear session yielded a song called “It’s All Over”, a slow country blues ballad that Thin Lizzy could have done at the same time.  This is a great tune, and it’s a shame that Purple never recorded it properly.

The colourful cover art is a quaint reminder that once upon a time, album covers were 12.375″ x 12.375″ and you could gaze upon the finer details for hours.  CD just doesn’t cut it.  This cover was so different for the band.  Their name and the album title appear on it several times, and each band member is credited (first names only) on the front.  The bizarre landscape foreshadows the Hieronymus Bosch painting on the next album.

2/5 stars. Not quite the band we know and love, but slowly getting there.

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Shades of (1968)

It’s a late start, but welcome to Purple Week!  It’s going to be all Deep Purple and Deep Purple alumni all week to Saturday, with at least two Epic Reviews lined up.  Let’s go!

DEEP PURPLE – Shades of (1968 EMI, 2000 remaster)

I’m not a big fan of Shades of Deep Purple, and that’s not because I don’t like Deep Purple Mk I. I do like Deep Purple Mk I, or at least some of it. I think the third Purple album from ’69 is one of the band’s all-time best, and an underrated classic. Shades of only scratches the surface. In 1968, these five guys didn’t have the road experience together yet to really gel as a unit. They had just formed and almost immediately began recording demos that landed them a record deal.  Ritchie Blackmore, a session player, had yet to emerge as the confident axeman that he is, still shyly putting together his solos while Jon Lord takes the forefront more often than not.

SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE_0003Deep Purple opened their very first vinyl with an instrumental.  “And the Address” is remarkably recognizable as Deep Purple, particularly because of Ian Paice and Jon Lord.

“Hush” was and is still an extraordinary version, and my preferred take over the 1988 Ian Gillan version. “I’m So Glad” isn’t bad, but “Mandrake Root” is not what it would later become live. “Help” has been slowed down to a crawl (reportedly, the way the Beatles wanted to do it) but it doesn’t rock. “Love Help Me” is 60’s pop rock goodness, as is “One More Rainy Day”, but “Hey Joe” is another one that would come across better live.  It doesn’t help that Shades of Deep Purple doesn’t really sound that great.

The five bonus tracks are all valuable, as these are some of Purple’s earliest live performances. Something like “Hey Joe” live (from the BBC) begins to show what the band would make of it. There’s also the rare track “Shadows” which is better than some of the tracks on the album itself.  This outtake probably could have used a little additional polishing, but it is what it is, and it’s worth checking out if only for Ritchie’s solo.  The audio fidelity on these tracks is sketchy, be forewarned.  That shouldn’t be unexpected for demos of this age.

2/5 stars. Hold tight, rock fans — a year later, the best of Mk I was yet to come!

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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 – Shades 1968-1998 (box set)

DEEP PURPLE – Shades 1968-1998 (Rhino 1999 box set)

I was really excited about this 1999 box set when it came out, but what it came down to was this: I paid “x” amount of dollars for just two songs that I didn’t have on other recent Deep Purple CDs. One song, “Slow Down Sister”  by Deep Purple Mk 5 was only available here. It’s since been reissued on the Slaves and Masters deluxe edition.  The other is a very rare and very great 1971 live version of “No No No” from a compilation called Ritchie Blackmore/Rock Profile Vol. 1. So there’s your bait.

Unfortunately, the booklet and discography is loaded with errors. This was disappointing. The packaging is nice, with that sheet metal looking embossed cover. It opens kind of awkwardly though, making it hard to handle. And man, there are so many Deep Purple box sets out there now! I have Listen, Learn, Read On which is six CDs dedicated entirely to just 1968-1976. Obviously you can’t squeeze Deep Purple’s career onto just four discs. This set covers 1968-1998, which is a huge chunk.  It’s almost the entire Jon Lord tenure.  It skimps in some places and confounds me in others. Usually, Rhino do such a great job, but I felt this one didn’t live up to their other products.

SHADES_0003Disc one covers 1968 to 1971 (Shades Of to Fireball). The tracks listed here as demos or rarities are from the Deep Purple remastered CDs, all except for the aforementioned “No No No” which really is awesome. If you have the great Singles A’s & B’s and the Deep Purple remasters, you have all this stuff. Except maybe the edit version of “”River Deep, Mountain High”, I’m not certain about that one. You get a good smattering of favourites on here, like “Kentucky Woman”, “Speed King”, “Child In Time” and so on, but it’s not really sequenced all that well. The slow-ish Deep Purple Mk I material fits awkwardly with the Mk II.  Other songs of note include non-album singles and B-sides such as “Hallelujah” (first recording with Ian Gillan) and “The Bird Has Flown”.  The version of “Speed King” included is the full UK cut, with the crazy noise intro.

Disc two is 1971 to 1972: more Fireball, and Machine Head. All these tracks can be found on Deep Purple remasters. There  are some excellent tracks here, such as the rare “Painted Horse” and “Freedom”. “Painted Horse”, a personal favourite, has been available for decades on an album called Power House. I guess Blackmore didn’t like them at the time, so they languished until the band broke up before the record label released them. “I’m Alone” was rare for a long time, and “Slow Train” was completely undiscovered until the Fireball remaster. I like that “Anyone’s Daughter” is on here, a very underrated song.  Of course you will hear all the big hits on this disc: The studio versions of “Smoke on the Water”, “Fireball”, Highway Star” and “Space Truckin'”. This will be many people’s favourite disc.

The third CD continues with Mk II.  It starts off with the Made In Japan live version of “Smoke” which is fine, but now you’ve heard it twice.  Soon, it’s  “Woman From To-kay-yo”, “Mary Long”, and the scathing “Smooth Dancer”.  Then Gillan and Glover are out, and in comes Coverdale and Hughes  One rarity on this disc is the instrumental “Coronarias Redig”, which dates from the Burn period. It also includes some of Mk III’s most impressive work, including two of the best tunes from Come Taste The Band. Conspicuous by their absence is the epic “You Keep On Moving”, and Blackmore-era fave “Gypsy”. You will, however get “Burn”, and “Stormbringer” from Stormbringer itself.

SHADES_0005The fourth CD is the one that ticks me off the most. This covers the reunion era, from 1984 to the then-most recent album Abandon in 1998. The hits are here, “Perfect Strangers” and “Knocking’ On Your Back Door”, as well as some singles from the Joe Lynn Turner era. What ticks me off here is the song selection. “Fire In The Basement”? What? That song kind of sucks, why not “The Cut Runs Deep”? Only one song from The Battle Rages On is included, only one from the excellent Purpendicular, and only one from the recent Abandon? And not even the best songs? That makes no sense.

To short-change the later era of Deep Purple only serves to short-change the listener.  The band were revitalized and rejuventated by Steve Morse, and made some really good, well received music. I saw them live with Morse in 1996.

From The House of Blue Light era, a single edit of “Bad Attitude” is included, which is probably rare.  What you won’t get is the full, 10 minute + version of the instrumental “Son Of Aleric”. This is one of the best lesser known tunes from the reunion era. Instead, you get the truncated 7″ single version. That makes the 10 minute version frustratingly hard to get. It was originally released on a 12″ single, which you may be able to find. You might have better luck finding it on the European version of Knocking at Your Back Door: The Best of Deep Purple in the 80’s. It was included there, replacing “Child In Time” from the US version. I managed to get it thanks to my mom & dad who bought it for me at an HMV store in Edinburgh (along with Restless Heart by Whitesnake).

SHADES_0004Mick Wall’s liner notes offer the Morse years a mere mention, and end on a nostalgia note of “bring back Blackmore.”  Come on. Let’s focus on the present of a band that shows no signs of slowing down, shall we? But this box set short changes the present, and by picking it up you won’t hear such awesome later songs as “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” or “Fingers to the Bone”.

I know many reviews of this set are glowing, and each reviewer has their own reasons for doing so. I can’t. This band is too important, too vital, and dammit, still alive! This box set simply doesn’t do them justice. I was ticked off when I bought it and realized I owned almost all the “rare and unreleased” material. Collectors won’t find much here worth the coin spent, and rock fans who just want a great box set of Deep Purple won’t get to hear enough Morse.

Somebody dropped the ball on this one! 2/5 stars.

SHADES_0002

REVIEW: Deep Purple – Deep Purple (1969)

DP FRNT

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.

Part 141: When We Rock, We Rock, and When We Roll, We Roll

RECORD STORE TALES Part 141:  When We Rock, We Rock, and When We Roll, We Roll

I’d always liked Deep Purple, since I first heard the song “Knockin’ On Your Back Door”.  But I wasn’t a Deep Purple collector until 1996.  Until then I only owned three:  Deepest Purple, Perfect Strangers, and Knockin’ On Your Back Door.

In 1996 two critical events occurred:  Deep Purple released the incredible comeback record, Purpendicular, with Steve Morse.  I was also dumped by a girl who went and married the next guy, a few months later.  That kind of took the wind out of my sails.  And what’s better for putting the wind back in, than some new music?

I had T-Trev order Purpendicular for me.  I hadn’t even heard a note, or seen a review.  It was an import.  Wasn’t even released in this country yet. Yet, new music was what the doctor ordered.

The CD arrived open, as did almost all discs imported from England.  (Do you not seal your discs in England?)  T-Rev gave it a test spin before I arrived.  The track was called “Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic”.

“There’s some crazy stuff on here.  Hope you like it”.

In three listens, I loved it.

The quest was on to get more.  I taped some rare stuff off my buddy Vuckovich:  Anthology (the vinyl, not the CD version) , and Power House.  Both contained rare tracks that were not available on CD at the time.  We had copies of Shades Of and Book of Taliesyn, and I bought those as well.   Book Of was a cheap reproduction, unfortunately I paid $16 for it without realizing.  You could hear that it was taken from a vinyl copy.  We also had a used copy of When We Rock, We Rock, so I grabbed that too.  It had some live stuff from Made In Japan on it.

The local library had a copy of Deep Purple, the final Rod Evans album, which I recorded.  It quickly became a favourite.

At Sam the Record Man downtown, I found both Concerto For Group and Orchestra and King Biscuit Flower Hour.  I fell in love with the Concerto big time.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work well for store play.  The quiet parts were inaudible.

Later that summer, Tom directed me to a copy of The House of Blue Light, used with some water damage on the cover, at a Christian record store in Waterloo.  I took it because it was impossible to find on CD.   And finally, T-Rev and I hit HMV in Toronto, where I acquired a beautiful 25th Anniversary edition of In Rock, and the accompanying “Black Night” limited edition single.

Don’t break the case, the autographs are etched into the plastic!

That was just 1996, and I hadn’t even scratched the surface yet.  I didn’t even have Fireball, Machine Head, Made in Japan, or Who Do We Think We Are yet!  It would take time.  Back then you didn’t necessarily buy in order of preference, you bought in order of opportunity.

It was a lot of Deep Purple to absorb in a short period of time, but that’s how Purple became one of my top five favourite bands today.  Sometimes you just need to dive in…and sometimes you just need a little push to do so.  Thanks for dumping me, chickie!