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Deep Purple - Who Do We Think We Are CD (album) cover

WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

2.91 | 398 ratings

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debrewguy
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Reading Cacho coming to this album's rescue , after Raff's rip (a rather strong descritpion for it was done in a most kind and soft manner), I just had to add my two canadian cents in. First, as both did, I must mention some extenuating circumstances that affect my rating - this was first Deep Purple LP that me & my friends picked up. We had heard of Smoke on the Water, but never heard the song itself (1977, my gosh, how isolated we were), but we had this album. It didn't hurt that it started out with My Woman from Tokyo. If this song had been released by any other group, it would be up there with the classics. With DP, it rarely cracks the top ten. But to those of us ignorant of the masterpieces from the previous albums, this song stood high in our regards( still does, eh)

On to the songs ... O.K., I believe I've said enough about My Woman from Tokyo. Except, let me add this - it really could stand as a perfect encapsulation of all the MKII Deep Purple had tried to do with its' music. It was their version of what hard rock could be beyond basic 12 bar blues; it included the pop elements that they had shown on songs like Never Before; the mellow mid part was their arty side; and the interplay between all five that made so many other bands seem so ham handed (including the last great Gillan scream until his heavy Gillan band). Mary Long would eventually be seen as mediocre by most of us. Once you got past the virginity/hypocrisy/stupidity lyrics, and the simple blues structure, this was just competent workmanlike tunesmithing. But good enough to keep you from getting up to lift the needle to the next song. Even today with CD & MP3 players, I don't skip forward. Super Trouper, we saw as this album's Maybe I'm a Leo. Blues derived, with the DP treatment, that pushed it beyond the genre. Smooth Dancer is this album's Fireball or Bloodsucker. The type of song that Blackmore thought showed that dangerous roaring side of the group. Here again, the group shows some of its' pop sources in the chorus, where you could swear they took Never Before's chorus, put it through the blender, sped it up, and spit it out. Baby you're the one who can never see the sun, because it don't shine nightly. Don't you look at me because I'm gonna shake free, you'd better hang on tightly. Still gets as much play as any other DP song. Rat Bat Blue is memorable more for its' guitar & synth parts. I still use the opening riff as a practice exercise for guitar. Not as heavy as Machine Head's songs, but still loud. Place in Line though, is where even the biggest Purple fans could see how dry this line-up's songwriting well had rapidly become. A basic blues, instumentally, lyrically, structurally. Even saying it pales in comparison to Lazy is insufficient to describe how the group went from craftsman to workman in a genre that served as the basis for much of their work. Yes, once they get on to the solos, things spice up, but even with CDs you need to fast forward to this part because you can no longer listen to it. Yes, the MKIII line-up would match Place in Line in quality, but you expect more from the classic bunch. Our Lady is probably the match that set the final fire between Gillan & Blackmore. It sounds like an imperfect compromise between the aspects that Gillan had loved on Fireball, and Blackmore had enjoyed on Machine Head. Too poppy for Ritchie, and too little of it on the album for Ian. It is probably as prog as they got after Child in Time. I don't play this song as much. It's a good song, but with time, and with knowledge as to what was happening internally in Deep Purple, it seems like a farewell from the group to its' then current incarnation. Almost a slow shuffle out the door waving goodbyewithout a look back ...

Yet, with all the mild praise heaped here & there; with the rapture that some songs still hold me for; this is still a favourite. And probably , in a way, it helps for its' admirers to consider it as the step before the next great leap that the group might have taken. First In Rock sets the stage. Fireball builds, adds to, and explores possibilities. Machine Head refines, solidifies, explodes. Who Do We Think We Are, unfortunately never gets a successor to give voice to its' promises. Too bad for us.

debrewguy | 4/5 |

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