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DEEP PURPLE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.64 | 423 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chris H
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The end of an era!

Deep Purple's third studio album, the self-titled "Deep Purple", marked the end of the under-appreciated Mark I era of the band. Lead singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper were kicked out the door to be replaced by the screeching Ian Gillan and the steady handed Roger Glover. Although the Mark II line-up has the far more popular albums and individual songs, this Mark I line-up is miles ahead of the other line-ups in terms of being able to keep a steady beat and have the backing rhythms all in order. Set aside the fact that Rod Evans can't even begin to compare with the vocals of Gillan, and you realize the Mark I line-up deserves more credit. Now, this album was their first major output of original material. Only containing one cover song, this time it being Donovan's "Lalena", their music did get a tad repetitive, but hey every band starts somewhere with new material. Most of this album seems like a letdown if you hear the Mark II albums first, but compared to the first two albums this a huge step forward.

The album kicks off with the incredible "Chasing Shadows", which features an excellent tribal drum beat and some nice bass work by Simper. The vocals are repeated a few too many times, but the massive Ian Paice drum solo that closes the song is well worth the wait. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ian Paice is THE greatest progressive drummer hands down, and he does it all on his little Ludwig kit. Skip the uneventful "Blind" and arrive at their only cover song, "Lalena". Rod Evans is at his career peak here, still nothing special but he gets the job done. Certainly no comparison to Donovan, but a lot worse justice could have been done to the song. "Fault Line" contains nothing of interest, and then we come to the A side finale, "The Painter". Ritchie seemed to have been sleeping on the previous songs, so your ears aren't prepared for the riff ambush the erupts when "The Painter" kicks into gear. This is probably the song that gave birth to your favorite Mark II songs like "Speed King" and "Smoke On The Water". The B side contains the boring "Why Didn't Rosemary?" and the straight forward rocker "Bird Has Flown". Make it past these and their 12 minute three part suite, "April" beings. The first two parts have a very operatic feel, probably the base of their live album to follow. The last part is the only way to end this album, loud and heavy with great riffs and more amazing drumming. The first 9 minutes is worth sitting through to hear this piece.

The best of the three Mark I albums, without a doubt. However, it is still not essential to a casual Deep Purple fan. if you are interested in big hits, look elsewhere. If you are interested in hearing the sounds that the early line-up cut their teeth on and how the "classic" line-up got their inspiration, this is the album for you. Any rock n' roll fan should pick this up if you come across it, but don't go and search for it.

3 stars for the music, and add another half for Ian's amazing solos.

Chris H | 3/5 |

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