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Deep Purple: Reviews From A Hater


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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 8:39:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2012 8:42:29 PM PST
@Ogre: "I do hear some bits and pieces of the MK II sound on Shades, but it's still a pretty big change from this to that..."

The title track to "Fireball", to me, sounds like a faster, heavier version of "Hush"; there is a clear link. The basic sound is still there, it's just amplified even more, and with a more dramatic singer.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 8:46:09 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Re : Alex says he *brought* some which I'm sure he'll pass around to everyone else here

Oh my God, Topper spelled bought wrong. Stop the presses, shut down Wikipedia, call the librarian...

Just kidding Topper. Have a good one...and honestly even if we fight like cats and dogs tomorrow I think it's cool you're giving Deep Purple a shot.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 8:47:51 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Topper,

Well, sheet, I may only be able to get to Book of Taliesyn before the real fun begins

Alex,

Did you get the overly ripe, almost rotten, tomatoes? You know, just not so rotten that they fall apart in your hand before you can throw them, but rotten enough to have a foul stench that sticks to the target?

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 8:48:21 PM PST
@AlexMontrose: "I think it's cool you're giving Deep Purple a shot."

I knew that whole aggressive bully thing was a facade. What's next--I see you next to the Kate Bush section at the library?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 8:56:22 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Topper,

Or maybe "Hush" sounds more like later Deep Purple than anything else on the album?

I get that the basic sound is there, but Shades is still something completely different than In Rock or Machine Head to my ears. I was just wondering if it was a sudden and radical change with the new lineup, or more of a gradual progression.
Guess I'll know soon enough

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 9:02:36 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2012 9:06:32 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 9:08:43 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Re : I knew that whole aggressive bully thing was a facade. What's next--I see you next to the Kate Bush section at the library?

You wish. Nahh no Kate Bush, maybe Three Dog Night ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 10:00:14 PM PST
@Ogre: "Or maybe "Hush" sounds more like later Deep Purple than anything else on the album?"

You have a point. That and "Mandrake Root" both point to the future for them, the rest of the album maybe not so much.

"I was just wondering if it was a sudden and radical change with the new lineup, or more of a gradual progression."

I'd say that if you think "In Rock" sounds significantly different, that it was a sudden and radical change. There's a progression in Blackmore's playing from album to album up to that point, otherwise the aforementioned left turns they took for "Deep Purple" and "Concerto" were even further away from the "In Rock" sound than "Shades" and "Taliesyn" were. Although there are a few songs on "Deep Purple" with a good hard rock sound (see my review).

@AlexMontrose: "Nahh no Kate Bush, maybe Three Dog Night ;)"

I find the idea of a Three Dog Night section at the library fairly frightening! I'll take an entire section devoted to "In Rock" first.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 10:05:36 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
After taking a needed break from some very old DP and Montrose (Ronnie, not Alex) to listen to something much fresher, Seven Swans, I've got Book of Taliesyn queued up next

Topper's review doesn't look too promising, but there's 5 in there. A perfect 5, really?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 24, 2012 11:15:31 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 24, 2012 11:27:13 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
RE: Review of The Book of Taliesyn

Agree with you that this is not as good, overall, as the first album, and there's only one song I strongly disagree with you on

Listen, Learn, Read On:
Totally dig this song. The talk-singing and "pretentious" fairy tale lyrics with a backdrop of great playing are right up my alley (The style reminds me of Nomeansno, though the music is markedly different). And the quiet pauses are hardly unnecessary, they add to the overall, dysfunctional mood of the song. Some of Sonic Youth's material comes to mind, too.
Bumping this one up a full point to 4.5, with extra credit for originality

Wring that Neck:
No comment, only one I completely agree with you on

Kentucky Woman:
3.5 is way too kind. Never understood why this was a hit (well, ok, I do, but that's another discussion about the record industry, marketing and sheep) Even your review of it doesn't seem to lead up to an above average rating. I'll give it a 2.5

Exposition/We Can Work It Out:
Again, I think you're being too kind. It's OK, maybe just above average, which would knock it down to a 3.0

Shield:
Agree with your take, but can't give it a perfect 5. It just doesn't really grab me until almost halfway through. But I do like it better than the opening track, so a 4.7

Anthem:
A *bit* dull? How about painfully dull? Sticking long, pointy needles in my eyes would be preferable. Is there a worse rating than 0?

River Deep, Mountain High:
Agree with your comments, but again I think you gave it too high of a mark. Knocking this one down a notch to 3.0, maybe even 2.5

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 11:56:05 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 12:01:16 AM PST
@Ogre: a great, detailed review. Lots to chew on here.

"The talk-singing and "pretentious" fairy tale lyrics with a backdrop of great playing are right up my alley..."

I'm not against fairy-tale lyrics per se, but I don't like it when kings and castles are just kind of gratuitously mentioned; as with any kind of lyric, I need the words to relate some kind of meaning and depth. Donovan is a good example of someone who talked a lot about that kind of stuff on his classic albums, but couched the subject matter in actual stories of love, pain, spirituality, and redemption. Here, it's like a gratuitous checklist of fairy tale imagery--and I've never been a fan of talk-singing. In fact, just a few weeks back I discovered a mind-blowing early psychedelic release from '67 by The Zodiac called "Cosmic Sounds" which had some of the most creative and trippy arrangements of the period--except the lyrics were all in spoken word, which was a real drag on the proceedings for me.

"Exposition/We Can Work It Out: Again, I think you're being too kind."

I liked the "Exposition" portion. Powerful, early prog-rock.

"River Deep, Mountain High: Agree with your comments, but again I think you gave it too high of a mark."

This is the one we probably disagreed on the most (don't forget I still do like "Listen, Learn Read On" which along with "The Shield" and this track are easily the best things on the album). I do think the song portion rocks pretty good--although some of that might have to do with the fact that "River Deep Mountain High" is classic enough to sound good under any circumstances. I just love that song, and although Deep Purple aren't a band I normally associate with kick-azz soul music, the fact that it doesn't sound totally awkward is an achievement in itself. The arrangement of "Zarathustra" sounded more awkward to me than their take on Tina, a bizarre reversal of expectations IMO. Still, like I said, I like The Animals' arrangement more.

I can't wait to see what you think of the third, self-titled album. As you know it's my favorite, although it's pretty different in sound from either the earliest material or the MK II stuff.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 7:11:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 9:10:59 AM PST
Zaplightning says:
During my younger days my friends and I were heavy into Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath & Deep Purple. I don't know the in's and out's of Deep Purple, meaning different group members at certain times. Ian Gillan is one of the best singers I've ever heard. Now that I'm older when I go for a old school hard rock CD to spin I pick Deep Purple over the other big boys during my youth. I have In Rock and Machine Head, also a live bootleg DVD from 1972 and Jon Lord flat out slays on that hammond. In Rock and Machine Head....5 out of 5 stars.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 10:47:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 11:12:36 AM PST
AlexMontrose says:
This wasn't "my" Deep Purple... so talking, writing about this early stage of their career doesn't hold the same primal passion it would from 1970 forward.

When I first heard In Rock I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next and the next and......once it became evident that these guys were going to end up being one of my favorite bands, if not *the * favorite, I had to know everything about them. At what point I started listening to all of MK I couldn't tell you an exact time but I'm sure it was in the very early stages of my love for this band. Still, it was so different from In Rock(which was my introduction to them), Fireball...their whole live sound that was employed on Made in Japan and the following albums...you almost had to approach this version like you would approach maybe someone like the Who in the 60's. Once you got into Who's next and Quadro, their sound had sprawled and expanded so much it almost made some of those 60's records sound quaint. Which they were in certain ways. Not saying they weren't good, many many good songs, just a different animal in every respect, from songwriting, epic vision, production and their 70's brand of dramatic impact.

For me a lot of MK I is also on the quaint side but you can hear the seeds being planted. After all you had three musicians who would go into the 70's making up a huge portion of their sound, interplay, rhythm etc.

One of the things that made some of these songs sound quaint was the production and sound of their instruments. I almost hated Ritchie's tone on those old Gibsons he used in MK I. Throw in a few harpsichords and again the production, tinny sound and that *is* the 60's. And no matter how many great solos RB played for the MK I period it didn't have the dark demonic roar, frenzied excitement and massive power once he intentionally switched to a Strat from In Rock forward. Maybe some prefer that sound or don't think it makes much of a difference. I do. Lord sounded basically the same but Paices drums also sounded *very* thin in the 60's. Rod Evans is hard to take at times, sounding like a lounge version of Elvis. I personally am not crazy when he tries to swoon and emote so much but when he sings "normally" he's not so bad. Nicky Simper was a good bass player and surprisingly, considering the pedestrian production of the period, his bass comes through pretty loud and clear at times.

As has been pointed out here, the third self titled album was the best of the three and contains some terrific music. I hadn't heard Chasing Shadows for a little while and now can't get it out of my head. Just tremendous. I agree with Topper, when it ends (abruptly) you want more, because the music was still so interesting. I would also give Bird has Flown a 5 off this album. Lord's solo is haunting, powerful and dangerous and filled with dynamics. April is very nice, Fault line very good, sounding at times like a paranoid cold war sci-fi flick. Blind is good song showing an increased comfort level with writing a melodic, rhythmic mid tempo song. The Painter is a "typical" DP song sounding a little reminiscent of the Fireball era with it's up tempo bluesy beat and space for Blackmore and Lord to shine and trade solos, something of course that was about to become so prevalent right around the corner. I like Lalena and Emmaretta, the bonus song, B Side , whatever it was. I think it was the first song I heard from this album and always liked it.

All in all I would I would give Deep Purple/Deep Purple a 4.0/4.25...a strong B+

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 11:16:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 11:22:40 AM PST
@AlexMontrose: I think you make a good point about the dichotomy between the 60s versions of these bands vs. the 70s. As I said I still see connections between the MK I and MK II DP, as well as between the 60s Who and 70s Who (of which I love both eras equally), but I can see how someone might only go for one sound and not the other.

As you know I prefer Evans to Gillan but it's not because I think Evans is amazing; I have some of the same criticisms of his vocal style that you do, although I think that he sounds pretty good on the third album, especially the slower material. I think his voice was very suited for "Lalena" or "The Shield" and I don't think it sounds loung-y; his problem was on the harder material. He did OK on "Hush" but they really needed someone more powerful for, say, "The Painter" and "Bird Has Flown". I just have a big problem with the "powerful" singer they got to replace him, but more on that later.

Blackmore definitely improves with each release, again only really coming into his own on the third album, and then of course evolving further for "In Rock". On the first two albums he sounds like an acceptable Hendrix/Clapton student, but things like the production and his choice of guitar work against him. He's using fuzz and wah-wah for that late 60s acid-rock sound which I love, but he seems mixed kind of low, another victim of the production. He's also actually not given all that many opportunities to solo until the third album, and when he does it's kind of modest, although "The Shield" is a great early indication of what he could do. Lord seems to overshadow him on the first two albums.

The production is a huge problem on the first two albums; the band clearly had a big sound (ie. "Hey Joe") but even for the period the production is pretty rushed and poor, making most of the instruments sound weaker than they needed to be (I agree that the bass is suprisingly OK, though, and Lord must've paid the engineer a fiver because he's always way up in the mix). I kept turning the volume to the max to try and compensate but it never seemed enough. The mix is also slightly muddy--something that affects things like "River Deep Mountain High". I think the third album is a *big* leap forward production/sound-wise, as it sounds loud, clear and well-balanced, which is another reason why I think it's the finest. But the songs, arrangements and performances are all better on the third album, it's just a great one overall.

Interesting how you like "Blind", though--it's their only song which has the 60s-sounding harpsichord on it. ;)

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 11:23:21 AM PST
Yes, Bird Has Flown is one of my favorites from DP!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 11:43:40 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 11:55:58 AM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Topper,

I'm shaking my head here just thinking about their productions problems *throughout* their career. Not just the 60's records. As much as I love "In Rock" it "sounds" like an 8 track. Just horrible, even the remastered version did little to improve it. Obviously for me personally I always hated the fact that they didn't seem to take great pride in the production. In Rock has an overall "charm" with that scratchy, high treble thinness and it's very raw which in some ways gives it even more power but if they just could have added some "thickness" to their overall sound (The closest they came was Who do we think we are, which did have a much thicker sound) it would have been another revelation. It always distracted but because I felt the songs were so good, I just lived with it.

Evans is croony to me. He wouldn't have seemed out of place singing ballads in a much less harder, heavier band than Deep Purple. But he was talented. I just feel his overall tone has such a 60's again quaint sound it's no wonder they wanted him gone for their new direction. BTW, they called or sent a telegram or something along those lines to both Evans and Simper in the middle of the night informing them they were out of the band. Nice ;)

Yeah I like Blind. The harpsichord doesn't "bother" me, it's just so period feeling and gives their sound an almost cheap 60's Vampire flick feel, if you know what I mean.

Ironically, when you get to Burn there's a song I absolutely love called A 200 that is more reminiscent of this sound than anything else they did from 1970 forward. Even Blackmore's guitar on that song has a throw back feel to the 60's and the song itself is a very cool Hammer horror sounding instrumental. I believe it was the first time Lord used a synthesizer to great effect, Blackmore goes nuts and I just love the overall vibe of that song.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 11:57:21 AM PST
@AlexMontrose: I don't know about your consistent dismissive use of the word "quaint" to describe anything 60s, but I'll leave that one for now. I actually don't mind the production on "In Rock", it's certainly better than anything previously--it sounds full enough to me (but then again, I *like* a more treble-y sound, even on hard-rock material, which is probably another difference in our tastes showing). "Machine Head" is the MK II album that I think has the miserable flat production.

"The harpsichord doesn't "bother" me, it's just so period feeling and gives their sound an almost cheap sounding 60's Vampire flick, if you know what I mean."

LOL I'm not sure I know what you mean, as I'm not aware of any 60s vampire flick with harpsichord in it. Most of the UK Hammer Horror films of that decade had the cheezy electric organ, or a classical string section. The harpsichord on "Blind" just sounds like a Baroque-Renaissance era touch to me--definitely 60s, I'll give you that.

"Ironically, when you get to Burn there's a song i absolutely love called A 200 that is more reminiscent of this sound than anything else they did from 1970 forward."

You seem to have forgotten the, um, discussion we had on this track earlier, where I heard it for the first time. I saw it as another Emerson cop (this time "Abaddon's Bolero" off of ELP's '72 "Trilogy" album), so we'll probably have tons 'o fun discussing that one when I get to the album. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:17:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 12:44:14 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:23:46 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Topper,

RE: Deep Purple III

Another first listen for me before we get to MK II, and I fully agree that this is the best of MK I
But I 100% disagree about this being a "left turn", I'm totally hearing a transition here

The opening track seems to be exactly what they were going for with "Listen, Learn, Read On", but with more of a cohesive direction this time
And the other psychedelic, Vanilla Fudge influenced, songs sound to me like a natural progression/refinement from most of the first two albums

Then there's "Why Didn't Rosemary?" and "Bird Has Flown", which signal a new direction, the former reminding me a lot of "Lazy", and the latter has a lot of MK II in it as well, the last third or so even sounds in some ways like a pre-cursor to "Child in Time"

And I'm glad you pointed out "Emmaretta", I've been ignoring the bonus tracks on these albums. That one's another clear indication of a new direction, complete with a Mule-like drum solo

And those three songs make it pretty clear to me why they kicked Rod Evans butt out the door and went with Gillan

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:36:22 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Daniel,

RE: "Ritchie had the new sound in his head and he knew that he would have to change the bass and singer to get where he wanted to go. You can find all of this info on the sleeve that comes with the In Rock remaster."

Thanks again for pointing that out. Reading those liner notes and listening to the self-titled third album make things a lot clearer

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:44:49 PM PST
@AlexMontrose: I didn't actually think "A200" was all that bad (just derivative), and Blackmore's solo makes the difference from ELP's song. It did sound very different for DP since most of their stuff seems to be guitar-and-organ, not all those synths. But like you say I'll probably be able to place it in better context once I've heard all of the catalog in order up to that point.

"Quaint is not a bad word to me or dismissive. It just describes an overall vibe that you instantly hear from a certain period of music."

Sometimes the word is used dismissively, but if you're just using it to mean "sounding of a certain time or place" then I don't have a problem with that. I'm sure "In Rock" and "Who's Next" sound 'quaint' to today's generation used to modern-day music and production standards (or non-standards, LOL).

"In Rock had very little texture, heft other than the scratchy, 8 trackey sound."

It sounds full and textured enough to me; it's certainly a bigger, fatter sound than the early records. If anything I think that bigger sound works *against* the record in a certain sense, but I'll have to explain that curious statement in much more detail when I get to the review (which might have to be much later tonight, since I want to listen to each album twice and although I've done "Concerto" and "In Rock" both once now, it's a real struggle for me to even begin to think of listening to "Concerto" again...but I will).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:50:51 PM PST
@Ogre: I don't think too many of the songs on the third album display the Vanilla Fudge influence anymore. What songs were you referring to?

"Why Didn't Rosemary?" doesn't sound to me like a MK II cut, it's too traditional bluesy for that. I do think (and said so) that "The Painter" and "Bird Has Flown" point to their next direction. But much of the rest of the album, I think, is a left turn...things like "Lalena", "April", and "Blind" don't sound to me like either the earliest stuff or the coming 'classic' material. But I'm glad you liked it overall; I don't think anyone here disagrees that this was MK I's crowning achievement.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:55:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 12:56:24 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
If you have the time do a little research ( I won't say where ;) and you'll discover all the headaches they had making that Concerto album. They just brought in Gillan and Glover so that was a whole brand new feel and the orchestra was so smug and hoity toity about having to play with these long haired hippies that supposedly they barely spoke to each other. I think Blackmore wanted to break a guitar over a few of their heads, the whole thing was a mess and never realized according to Jon Lords plan/vision.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 1:01:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 1:03:40 PM PST
@AlexMontrose: ...and yet Lord somehow thought the whole mess worthwhile enough to foist on the public again for its thirty-year anniversary. Ugh.

There are actually a few bits of "Concerto" that are good, but they are few and far between, which makes the whole thing a chore to listen to just to get to the OK stuff. I've been very tempted to not hear it a second time and just write a quickie one-paragraph review (which is what I feel it deserves), but I won't; every album deserves as much of a chance as I can give it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 1:14:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 1:26:49 PM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Yeah well, it was Lords baby/music so I'm sure he wanted to "clean" it up and he had every right to do that. I'm sure on paper that was a lot of good there. Maybe the execution or the fact he wrote it when he was very young he bit off more than he can chew. I've never heard it all so I can't really say how "bad" it was but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it, if only because the mix between them and the orchestra was so awkward, never fully realized. Plus from what I've heard it still had that 60's tinny sound.

Lord, after he retired from Purple followed his muse/love and made some classical records along with a few other choice genres. He sort of looks like a composer so as long as he was happy. Don't know if you've ever heard but I believe the last live performance he gave before he passed was a composition/song he co-wrote with Rick Wakeman. It's called.."It's not as big as it was". Pretty good....especially the first four, five minutes and it's on youtube. It was great to see Lord still flying on the keys.....looking so at home.
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Discussion in:  Classic Rock forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  497
Initial post:  Nov 24, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 6, 2013

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