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Deep Purple - The Book Of Taliesyn CD (album) cover

THE BOOK OF TALIESYN

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.17 | 366 ratings

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ldlanberg
4 stars This album was my first introduction to progressive rock. The band's preceding debut album was a stateside smash, due to its pop orientation. Book does make the occasional foray into cover-song pop - side one's "Kentucky Woman" -- but the bulk of this album goes much further into experimentation. Jon Lord (organ; piano) had been previously educated in drama and he employs that artistic foundation liberally.

For standard Deep Purple fans, the instrumental "Hard Road (Wring that neck)" is the classic on this album. It's basically Lord and guitarist Blackmore trading extended solos a few times over. A bit bluesy, and if it weren't for Lord's grandiose sound, "Hard Road" would be mistaken an early Allman Brothers jam.

What the Prog fan requires is first found on "The Shield." It is a lyric-oriented track and yet a dark (arguably satanic) sound creeps up with its very first notes. Ten seconds in, the listener knows this is no ordinary song. Jon Lord takes a backseat as Ritchie Blackmore paints the mood with an eerie, harmony-guitar riff. Rod Evans (lead vocal) lends to the aura of this song with a portentous echo effect.

"Anthem" has already been mentioned by other reviewers above (q.v.); its instrumental mid section is indeed a gem. It seems that Genesis had attempted a similar sound on parts of their 1973 Selling England [.], but that had nowhere near the authenticity of this one. Another highlight of this album is the pseudo-classical, ascending intro to "River Deep, Mountain High." This Lord-led instrumental eventually builds into a grand fury, but then dumps the listener off into another attempt at cover- song pop.

This is not exactly the album to crank up at the end of the day. Except for Lord's organ adventures, the overall sound quality is ridiculously archaic. But like In The Court of the Crimson King, this is an interesting and colorful historical document. But The Book of Taliesyn uses intense drama instead of jazz. Regardless, you'll never think of Deep Purple the same way again.

ldlanberg | 4/5 |

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