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Deep Purple - Scandinavian Nights (AKA Live and rare) CD (album) cover

SCANDINAVIAN NIGHTS (AKA LIVE AND RARE)

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.04 | 45 ratings

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tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
3 stars (Note: this is actually a review of "Live in Stockholm - 1970" but it's the same tracks, just in a different order)

One of the more impressive aspects of Mk. 2 Deep Purple is that, for a band that only lasted for about 4 years, their live albums are surprisingly varied despite having a lot of material in common. At this point, the band had somewhat limited options as a live unit, at least if it wanted to minimize sung material from the Evans era and not lug an orchestra around to do the "Concerto" over and over. Well, this is a 2-hour live set, with a grand total of seven tracks, and the band's chosen approach is to stretch the instrumental parts out as far as possible. Sometimes this produces great results, and sometimes it produces results that aren't so great, but it all makes for a pretty interesting step in the band's development as a live act.

The album starts off somewhat conventionally, with "Speed King" (complete with rousing noisy introduction) stretched out in a way that feels "natural," if that makes sense. That is, it's made into an 11-minute piece (when the original was well less than half of that), but it does so by expanding the glorious midsection that already featured interplay between Lord and Blackmore. Ian gets in a fun interlude as well, and he clearly has a lot of enjoyment doing his own interplay with Ritchie. "Into the Fire" gets a slight expansion, but it's mostly done fairly close to the original, albeit with some fierce intensity (the only thing that bothers me is that Ian is very noticably flat through the entire song). "Child in Time," though, probably crosses a line of excess that it shouldn't. I mean, the usual "main" parts of the song are still as great and rousing as usual, but I kinda feel like part of the greatness of that section was the relative efficiency of it. Stretching the track to almost 20 minutes seems like a mistake to me, even if it's hard to identify a point where the playing becomes tedious, and I still genuinely enjoy this version (this is miles away from the mechanical, soul-less versions of the 80's and 90's).

Where the album predictably loses me is in the next three tracks. "Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root" are each stretched out to half an hour, and they sandwich (of course) a Paice drum solo (this time with "Paint it Black" serving as the intro and outro music). "Wring That Neck" could reasonably last a good 10 to 15 minutes (a pretty impressive feat, I think), but by the end it really feels like we're listening to warmup exercises by the guys as individuals and as a unit. "Mandrake Root" contains a lot of aspects that would later get reconstituted in the awesome live "Space Truckin'" performances, and there's some nice jamming beyond that, but again, how is somebody supposed to feel like listening to this for half an hour?

Fortunately, things end on a really rousing note with a fantastic rendition of the great single, "Black Night," done in a mere seven minutes. All in all, then, this is a really up-and-down album, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it as a whole to most Purple fans, but I'd definitely recommend the best parts. And, well, there's so much historical value that somebody with significant interest in the band will almost certainly want to hear all of it.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |

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