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4 stars Deep Purple's second album isn't quite as good as the first, but it does the trick quite well. Jon's keyboard mastery keeps getting better and better with every note. Ritchie's guitar solos are also more impressive than the first album (listen to Wring That Neck, kick-ass, man!!!) Ketucky Woman has its moments (Rod's attempt to sing like Ian, who's just around the corner). The ballads are quite lyrical (Shield, Anthem) and the covers, WOW!!! (Check out a funky Beatles cover of We Can Work It Out and a 2001-esque River Deep-Mountain High). Overall, 4 out of 5, just being fair because the sound could've been mixed better. Buy the CD instead of the vinyl, trust me!
Report this review (#46715)
Posted Thursday, September 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2 3/4 stars

This is probably Deep Purple's weakest album (along with the self-titled album) of their early years and successful years together. The album seems very incoherent for its diverse musical styles, and the compositions are not very strong at all. This is a psycheledic-classical-hard rock fusion with heavy emphasis on hammond organ.

The songs vary ... there are straight-rock songs in the vein of the debut album (Kentucky Woman, and the Opener). There is an amazing instrumental (Wring that neck) that only was surpassed by the superior "A 200" in the album "Burn". There is also a song divided in two that begins as a common Deep Purple rocker and ends as a beatlesque section of music. Shield is a strange mellow track with a good bass riff and some nice guitar playing. Anthem is the other highlight of the album. IT is proggy and symphonic and contains nice melodies and good arrangements... its middle instrumental section is the big highlight of this album. The closer of the album is an epic that doesn't justify its length ... it has neat parts here and there, but it is not as good as an epic should be. There are also bonus tracks which may be interesting for some.

1. Listen, learn, read on (5.5/10) 2. Wring that neck (instrumental) (8.5/10) 3. Kentucky woman (4.5/10) 4. Exposition / We can work it out (6/10) 5. Shield (5/10) 6. Anthem (7.5/10) 7. River deep, mountain high (5/10)

Get it after you get all their other albums in the early-mid periods of their career.

My Rating : C-

Report this review (#47003)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars With their second album , Purple went on to confirm their adventurous psych-laced proto- prog rock ! Clearly , the album was axed more towards experimentation and this album deserves to be regarded highly by all progheads.

The opening track Listen, Learn And Read On gives indirectly the name of the album by mentionning the Book Of Taliesyn (and the superb artwork sleeve , we are still in 1968 and they dared such a great cover). Wring That Neck is another track bound to become a live favorite (expanded to almost 30 min also) and shows the full capacities of this combo. The obvious single is Kentucky Woman (a hit in US only though) , but the other incredible moment is the purple-signed intro (Exposition) to yet another Beatles cover. In those 2,5 mins , Purple explodes into a full-blown prog outfit!

Side 2 starts with a superb Anthem already forcasting Jon Lord's envies of foraying into classical orchestras , something more evident with the next album. Anthem is the cornerstone of this album while The Shield is a strange but interesting track exploring somber moods. Finishing out the album is a long version of Ike And Tina's River Deep, Mountain High. Although not-always successful (and a bit ill-advised) it does show some limitations to Evans's voice compared to Tina's.

I am tempted to give this album another halfstar , but will not do so because some tracks are flawed. But clearly all progheads discussing whether Purple was prog should get a full listen to this album before answering honestly to this album. And I dare say the answer should not be negative.

Report this review (#47628)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For me this is the greatest musical achievement of Deep Purple along with their "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" recordings. A-side opener "Listen, Learn, Read On" is a very good psychedelic song with a chaotic and hazy feeling, playing with classic myths and hippie mysticism. "Wring That Neck" blows a quite basic bluesy jam, but I love the sound band managed to create for this LP, so it's a pleasant track to listen though. "Kentucky woman" is a bit boring filler, and the following medley "Exposition / We Can Work It Out" does not completely gain the potential of the arrangement's prospects. But the B-side of the LP is then almost pure gold; "Shield" has a very interesting feeling in it, with lot of percussion, raw keyboard sounds and great melodies included. Then "Anthem" is for me the best song this band has ever recorded. It has influences of ancient English music, the composition is witty (and very beautiful) and it has even mellotrons in it. The final track on the original LP is "River Deep, Mountain High" which has a grand intro resembling the start of Richard Struss's "Also Spracht Zarathustra" opening. I loaned the re-mastered CD of this album from library, in order to get hear the bonus tracks, and I recall they were decent but not essential. There's also a silly anecdote about this album; I got my copy from a flea market, and it was an American vinyl press of the album. "Wring That Neck" goes here with a name of "The Hard Road", and the length of the song "Shield" is indicated as 6:66.
Report this review (#49575)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#87782)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Despite fantastic cover art (some of Deep Purple's finest), and an intriguing album name, this is not a great album. The sound quality is absolutely terrible, the songs aren't very innovative or fresh, but rather bland and unnecessarily chaotic at times. But, there are some good points. There is good musicianship, and some short-lived beautiful moments. The singing is terrible, unlike other Purple releases, and lyrics just decent. But Deep Purple hadn't yet found their sound, yet. I do sound overly harsh, and this album isn't really terribly bad. If you are a huge Deep Purple fan, or a collector than go ahead and buy this album. If not, it's not an essential.
Report this review (#89993)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I haven't heard any of Deep Purple's oldest stuff before. From the Psychedelic Pop era (Proto Prog), if've only heard before "Wring That Neck", "Shield" and the most known of that era, "Hush". Capitalising on the success of the first record, a second album, "Book Of Taliesyn", was recorded before their first visit to the US, where they played support on Cream's farewell tour. Blackmore and Lord wanted a progressive rock band on those times, so maybe that's why it's proggier that the MK II albums. Again, I had the strange sensation this was not Deep Purple, maybe I'm too accustomed with their Hard Rock sound, and it's still the sound I like more from the band. Here we've no Gillan, the vocalist is Rod Evans, who impressed me with his habilities and the psychedelic echoes, he's a more that decent vocalist, but not as good as Gillan, IMO. Glover wasn't on this line-up, Nick Simper was in bass, I'm surprised by the sound the bass had, it may be equelized to have that sound, that gives a special feeling on the album. The prevalence here was by the keyboards (Lord), as well as some solos. The guitar (Blackmore) is very in the background, except on the solos, which are great! Ian Paice was on the drums, again doing a very good job, and providing, to my surprise, some orchestral-like percussion.

The highlights are: "Shield", with an amazing catchy and very melodic vocal performance, a nice neo classical guitar and violin solos in the middle and lots of keyboards, giving that neo classical touch mixed with psychedelic pop and some prog elements. A great song, the best one of the album! "Wring That Neck", oh I love that one, it's instrumental with a cool guitar-keys unison rock n' roll melody, which is repeated a lot of times during the song, with blues' solos improvisation in the middle; a very enjoyable track on every listen (at least for me) and the second highlight on the CD. "Kentucky Woman" is a cover (well, a version actually) of Neil Diamond I've never heard before, which was the first single of the album and their second US hit. That song, despite it's not prog at all, always gives a big smile on my face and has a ver 60s and hippie feeling, with cool backing vocals (which are awesome along the album) and some applauses on the background, a party song. "Exposition/We Can Work It Out" starts with an excellent neoclassical intro with excellent organ playing and orchestral precussion, and one of the finest moments here; then follows a version of The Beatles' classic "We Can Work It Out" (which, as some reviews said before, has no relation with the intro), that is certainly the best DP cover, which is very well done and differentn and fatures again nice backing vocals on the tasty "Life is very short, and there's no time ...", a very nice moment; also the keys and guitar solos are very good. The other song, which is not a highlight, but would deserve a special mention is "River Deep, Mountain High", which is composed again by an intro, an excellent interpretation of Richard Strauss' "Also Spracht Zarathustra", very progressive and symphonic at the same time, again with orchestral percussion and a very neo classical feeling; after that enters a voice , almost speaking, a bizarre moment IMO, then followed by Evan's rocking voice and maybe the most rocker moment on the album, and a catchy psychedelic chorus with nice backing vocals. The other tracks are decent, but nothing very good.

Overall, this is a different Deep Purple, definitely more prog and psychedelic, organ driven music, and for me, a very enjoyable album. It's very good but non-essential, because you must (if you haven't them yet) have "Machine Head", "In Rock" and "Made In Japan" before.

Rating: 3.2/5

Report this review (#101807)
Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Taliesyn" is probably the weakest of the three first Purple albums. It is quite pyschedelic and the influence of "Vanilla Fudge" is obvious. The sound in general is quite outdated : the proof of time has not worked in favour of this release. I already mentioned that vocals from Rod Evans were too monocord and kind of boring on "Shades". The same applies with this album : just spin "Listen, Learn, Lead on" and you'll know what I am talking about. "Wring that Neck" is a good intrumental : it starts with a rageous keyboard solo in which Jon is pumping everything he can get out of his organ. Ritchie will follow with a great guitar break. This will be the trademark of the Purple for the years to come : same structure (but with vocals) for "The Flight of The Rat", "Highway Star" etc.). This track will be a classic in their live performances but extended quite a bit (to say the least! The version on "Scandinavian Nights" will get as long as thirty two minutes )! Listen carefully around 3'50" and 4'30" : these guitar notes will be re-used in "Smoke" during their 1972-1973 "Made In Japan". "Kentucky Woman" (a cover from a Neal Diamond song) is not a bad rock song : great rythm, good keyboarding from Jon. A powerful song and a mini-hit peaking at spot 38 (in the US since the band was still quite obscure in Europe). "Exposition" is an explosive instrumental piece (rendering part of Beethoven's Seventh !) leading to the Beatles cover "We Can Work it out" (the second one in two albums). Although it is not bad a cover, it is not so well achieved as "Help" from "Shades". Side B starts with the hypnotic "Shield" : a very good bass riff and a psyche organ sound make this track one of the best of this record. "Anthem" is a mellow song with some violin and a kind of a church organ in the middle section. Ritchie plays a nice guitar solo at the end. This track is quite enjoyable. The song I prefer on this effort is their cover for "River Deep, Mountain High" from Phil Spector (as a co-author) and popularized by Ike And Tina Turner : again an impressive Jon Lord during the intro (four minutes) which is built crescendo (I like it very much). It ends in a ferocious tempo. We are not far from what ELP will deliver. For once, the vocals are bearable. It will be released as a single and peak at Nr. 53 in the US (the original from Ike & Tina Turner will reach Nr. 88 only). There are five bonus tracks on the remastered version. Two leftovers from the studio sessions "Oh No No No" and "Playground" (instrumental) of which the intro sounds as "Hush". Both have some pyschedelic flavour, but this also applies to the whole album.. There are three songs from the BBC Top Gear Sessions : kind of studio "live" songs. "It's All Over" has a nice keys introduction, but "Hey Bop a Re Bop" is rather poor. Finally, there is a "human" version for " Wring That Neck" (same lenght as the original - even shorter) with good guitar work (Hendrix oriented) from Richie. The sound of these three tracks are poor. The album will only chart in the US (Nr. 54). I guess that this is due to their Vanilla Fudge oriented music more popular on this side of the Atlantic in those ancient times. Two stars.
Report this review (#105137)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I do believe this is better then their debut but not much better.The improvements they have made are in their own songs like "Wring That Neck", "Shield" and "Anthem" which are all good tunes.This record still feels restrained like the first one and there are covers songs here too, just not as many this time.

"Listen, Learn, Read On" is a psychedelic sounding tune with some prominant drumming throughout, and check out Blackmore's solo 2 minutes in. "Wring That Neck" is an instrumental and Lord's organ solo is followed up immediately by a Blackmore solo. "Kentucky Woman" is a Neil Diamond song that they cover very well. I like the way Blackmore lets loose 2 minutes in. "Exposition" builds beautifully and the drum and organ play is outstanding. The B side of the song is a BEATLES song "We Can Work It Out", and they do it justice unlike their cover of "Help" on "Shades Of Purple". This is a great version and the guitar playing has a blues style to it.

"Shield" features some good percussion and a lazy guitar solo 3 minutes in. Nice. "Anthem" is a ballad-like tune with good harmonies.This is the first time that Lord would use mellotron and I like the way the guitar comes into the strings section later in the song. "River Deep,Mountain High" is a cover that actually works quite well, and sounds really interesting to listen to. Lots of guitar and organ as well as harmonies. Good song.

I think if your a fan of the band you need to check this out.

Report this review (#112590)
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Symphonic progressive rock owes a debt to early Deep Purple. They were one of the first bands to attempt to meld orchestral concepts and themes with rock and roll. I'm aware that listening now to "The Book of Taliesyn" is like revisiting the Bronze Age of music production (when the luxury of eight recording tracks was considered state-of- the-art technology) but you can't deny the fact that in 1968 this group was bravely doing their best to open some new doors. They had managed to score a top five hit single with their snappy cover of Joe South's "Hush" from their debut but in those days one-hit wonders were a dime a dozen and it's doubtful that two people out of ten could have told you what the name of the band was. Yet that commercial success allowed them to go into the studio again, this time to try to make music that would set them apart from all the pretenders who would soon fade away.

"Listen, Learn, Read On" is a dynamic, adventurous song to start things off. The verses are spoken by vocalist Rod Evans from way down inside some very deep reverb and, while the effect sounds ridiculous today, it definitely gives the tune some gravity and drama. Considering the Camelot subject matter you might even call it medieval prog. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore provides one of his unconventional leads and drummer Ian Paice plays like a madman when necessary. Nick Simper even manages to throw in some psychedelic fuzz bass toward the end. "Wring that Neck" (or "Hard Road" as it was titled on the US release) is a rocking instrumental that holds up well even today. I've always thought the opening lick had to have been inspired by Woody Woodpecker's trademark laugh and I still feel that way about it. (For those of you too young to remember, WW was a wise-ass cartoon character that was as popular as Bugs Bunny back then.) Anyway, it features Jon Lord ripping into his Hammond organ and more blistering guitar work from Ritchie, including a tricky false ending. It's important to mention that, while most axe-men at that time were trying to imitate either Clapton or Hendrix, Blackmore didn't sound like either (or anyone else) and his solos were anything but typical. His work on this tune is a good example of his individual technique. Since they had gotten lucky with a song from across the pond earlier they cover yet another Yank's ditty next, Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman." With a beginning and end that reminds you of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, they perform a pretty straightforward rendition of the song except for the guitar and organ fills, of course. And it worked nearly as well as before by climbing to #38 on the charts. The following track is "Exposition," in which they take huge liberties with the second movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Again, though, it just goes to show that they were determined to blend classical with rock and roll rather than pop (as the Moody Blues were doing). It's an exciting prelude but, unfortunately, the main course of Lennon & McCartney's "We Can Work It Out" with its "groovy" feel doesn't hold up its end of the bargain. There are some nice vocal harmonies on the bridge and Lord flies across the keyboard on the organ ride but it's not enough to save the song from being a letdown. "The Shield" has a fast "walking" beat and a very intriguing musical theme that fluctuates between the minor and the major. It also has some Hammond- generated percussion (as utilized on "Hush") and another inventive guitar break. "Anthem" is a decent song but it tends to stray too far into cabaret for me. That being said, the middle section features a terrific baroque-sounding treatment impressively arranged by Jon. It's a great marriage of a string quartet with Blackmore's tasteful electric guitar that I wish had gone on a little longer. Since Kubrick's revolutionary film "2001: A Space Odyssey" opened that same year it's no surprise that the band incorporated Richard Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra" into the beginning of the final song. It fits what they were trying to do perfectly. But when they arrive at the singing part of "River Deep, Mountain High" they lose the big sound and the momentum they had built up fades away quickly. Ritchie adds some nice harmony guitar parts but when you compare Rod Evans' voice to Tina Turner's well. forget it. A big gong crash ends the album fittingly.

Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord had both studied classical music styles so it's only natural that they would take their band down this progressive road. Ritchie was quoted as saying that, while Jimi was the rage at the time, it was New York's Vanilla Fudge that had the most influence on them and it shows. Both groups were taking traditional song structures and enhancing them with other styles, creating their own epic versions of well-known tunes. I was still in my teens when this was released and I played the LP until the grooves wore out. Sadly, I was in the minority and mediocre sales of Deep Purple's early efforts were soon to convince them to steer towards a harder rock sound. But albums like this one sowed the very seeds that would soon grow into the symphonic progressive rock movement. It may not be a great album but it's good and a genuine trailblazer, nonetheless.

Report this review (#114555)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Even though the band and the album are a bit problematic, I gave "The Book of Taliesyn" the 5-star rating. The band is problematic because the band members change once every few years. "Taliesyn"'s Deep Purple isn't "Machine Head"'s Deep Purple, and "Machine Head"'s Deep Purple isn't "Bananas'" Deep Purple etc. The album is problematic because half of it is covers (and if you didn't know- even track 4 - We Can Work it Out's Exposition is a cover- for beethoven's seventh symphony-2nd movement). BUT these are the common standarts for rating (everyone rates by band and ignore any historical changes the band has been through), so that's how I will rate.

The album has a few highlights - Listen Learn Read On (one of the best album openings I have ever heard), Shield and Anthem. The bonus version of the album (with 5 more tracks), has the playground track which is so very cool... All of the other songs are also very well played. The album makes you notice how colorful this band is. Each of the band members of that preiod of Deep Purple present their abilities and talent, and together construct (in my opinion) Deep Purple's best album so far.

As compared to Deep Purple's other albums and as compared to every other album I know, I decided to give the 5-star rating. Everyone can say whatever they want, but I think that this album is no less then a MUST-HEAR album for every rock fan. It's pure fun.

My rating is 4.6

Report this review (#129360)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second album of DEEP PURPLE's Mark I line-up follows the suit of their successful debut.

Again, large portion of the record was reserved for covers. This time, however, these attempts were less interesting and under- devised. While Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman" and THE BEATLES' "We Can Work It Out" are at least decently performed, Phil Spector's masterpiece done for Ike and Tina Turner - "River Deep, Mountain High" ends the album on a low note. Vocal parts are poorly sung so even the bombastic Hammond intro which resembles the "Zarathustra" theme from the concurrent successful movie "2001: Space Oddissey" cannot justify its inclusion.

On the other side, original PURPLE tracks are much better. The opener "Listen, Learn, Read On" is excellent song with reamarkable riffs and catchy chorus, only a bit too long. Instrumentals "Wring That Neck" and "Exposition" show the early prog-leanings of the group with Blackmore and Lord utilising solo adventures on their instruments. One can still hear that the bad were looking for their right direction, wondering between heavy blues-filled acid-rock of CREAM and classical and symphonic influences of THE NICE. "Anthem" is a nice, organ-led ballad under the obvious THE BEATLES influences, although a bit too soft for my taste. Finally, the best track of the album is unusual piano-driven arrangement "Shield", which is filled with psychedelic references ("I can smoke the pipe of sweet and better life and trust in the strength of the shield... trust in your love and Lucy of above..."). Very good performance, arrangement and singing, so one wonders why this title has been deeply buried in the past of the band, never gaining attention which deserves.

Overall, "The Book of Taliesyn" is not as good as the debut album, but it is still a convincing effort that mirrors the extremely adventourous and prolific rock scene at the end of the 1960s. This album is not essential, even below average at certain points, but for the prog rock scene it is useful to see the roots of the genre.


Report this review (#131539)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Book of Taliesyn" follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, however it is even more adventurous with less pop covers and more original compositions of extended forms. "Listen Learn Read On" is heavy track dominated by heavy guitar and hammond, with archaic reverb on the vocals, nevertheless it's an enjoyable tune considering the sheer energy present in the band. The Neil Diamond cover "Kentucky Woman" is a standard fare, maybe because Rod Evans' voice was so close to Diamond's. Aside from this hit single (and I feel it's not necessary to celebrate such ephemeral singles 40 years after they are recorded, because styles evolve, and there is much more impressive stuff on this record), there is the concert staple "Wring That Neck", much like first album had the pair of "Hush" and "Mandrake Root". "Wring That Neck" sampled the proto-hard rock part of Deep Purple in a big way, being an explosive boogie of hammond-guitar duels, which would become the standard during the classic Mk.II line-up. On the other side the proto-prog sound of the band that was undecided about its direction is best indicated by the 6+ minute long "Anthem". Starting with a hammond motif inspired by the baroque master Bach, and evolving into a lyrical ballad with some lovely mellotrons (the instrument's last appearance in DP discography), followed by a fugal exposition played first by hammond and organ, and then by a string quartet, "Anthem" is not some kind of a transcendental masterpiece, but it is in the same class as proto-prog contemporaries like Procol Harum. "River Deep Mountain High" is the longest track clocking in at 10+ minutes, and evolves slowly, like the best prog epics, but the absolutely antiquated heavily-reverbed vocal harmonies are simply laughable. Taliesyn is an interesting evolutionary step between DP's first and third albums, but much like the first album, remains a fan-only release, simply because there are so many more well-rounded DP albums to add to your colossal prog-rock collection.
Report this review (#134040)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars An album of old Welsh poetry? Not exactly!

Deep Purple's second album retains the Mark 1 line up which includes bassist Nick Simpler and vocalist Rod Evans. Once again, the band go for a combination of their own compositions and a handful of covers. The title is taken from a famous Welsh book (spelt slightly differently as "Taliesin") which contains some of the oldest poems written in the Welsh language.

The album kicks of in what in retrospect sounds like full Spinal Tap mode, the spoken introduction to "Listen, learn, read on" now inadvertently having all the seriousness of "Stonehenge". The track has distinct similarities with the type of music Atomic Rooster would develop slightly later, this being emphasised by the driving Hammond organ.

The fine instrumental "Exposition" sees Blackmore already pushing his guitar much further forward than it was on the band's debut. This leads into a frantic organ driven quasi-classical rendition by Jon Lord, similar to much of what appeared on Beggar's Opera's debut album. The piece acts as an introduction to the first cover version on the album. Lennon McCartney's rather funky "We can work it out" is perhaps a less obvious choice to cover that the first album's "Help". The interpretation here is surprisingly faithful to the original, Blackmore's guitar inflections being the only real difference until Lord finally lets go with a improvised run on organ.

As a closet admirer of the work of Neil Diamond, the cover of his "Kentucky woman" is rather enjoyable. Whether this through and through pop rendition actually adds much to this album though, is a matter for debate. The instrumental soloing does however distinguish it from the crooner's original. The vocals here are at times particularly reminiscent of the sound of the Doors.

The Lord/Blackmore/Evans composition "Shield" at first sounds deceptively simple. However, this six minute piece turns out to be a finely crafted number with slightly understated vocals and some excellent guitar work. The following "Wring that neck", like Mandrake Root" from the debut album was developed into a never ending live monster. Listening to this relatively brief 5 minute version, it is easy to see why, the track being quite simply an opportunity for the band to let their hair down and jam along in fine boogie fashion.

The final cover is a 10 minute interpretation of Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep mountain high" (although Ike did not actually appear on the recording), a song written by Phil Spector in partnership with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The wall of sound, which was the key characteristic of the original, inspired George Harrison on his "All things must pass" album. Here, that wall of sound is largely replaced by the Hammond organ, this version initially being a slowed down, elongated dirge of the type Vanilla Fudge created so perfectly. As the track progresses, it becomes a more orthodox cover of the original.

The album closes with the Lord/Evans composition "Anthem". This delightful ballad features what is arguably Evans finest vocal performance, supported what sounds like the rare appearance of a mellotron. The middle section is a classically based amalgam of strings, organ and guitar which combine in true prog fashion to create a wonderful whole.

In all, "The Book of Taliesyn" may not see Deep Purple moving on significantly from their debut album, but it still contains a wealth of music which was well ahead of its time. Anyone with any residual doubts about why Deep Purple are listed on this site should investigate this album, along with the previous release, for the reassurance they seek.

Note that this review reflects the order of the tracks as they appeared on music-cassette.

Report this review (#142961)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's so classic that I am now listening to the album of late 60s by Deep Purple titled "Book of Taliesyn" and it has always been a joy listening to vintage rock music like this one. For sure this was not the first album that I knew Deep Purple for the first time because it was "Fireball" that introduced me the band. But I think the music of the early Deep Purple was progressive in nature, or to be specific in symphonic style. Look at the opening track "Listen Learn Read On" which has all the energy and drive of dynamic rock music with some changes in styles and tempo. The music is raw and uplifting. I guess you would enjoy this vintage record as it's quite original in composition. There are raw guitar solo and organ plus some breaks that remind me to symphonic prog music. Ian Paice drumwork indicates his talents really well.

The next track "Kentucky Woman" follows the same energy and drive as previous track. Paice continues with dynamic work while Nic Simples walking bass work does not serve the purpose as beat keeper only but it flows beautifully with the music. Rod Evans indicates his transparent vocal quality while Blackmore's guitar solo is still rough and does not show his uniqueness yet. The organ solo in the middle of the track is truly progressive in nature. In here I can smell the unique organ work quality of Jon Lord which is heavily influenced by classical music. It's stunning.

"Wring That Neck" is truly a symphonic progressive rock track. Liste to how Jon Lord opens the track with his inventive Hammond organ solo which is very dynamic, followed with a blast of rhythm section that follows, combining tight bass lines and dynamic drumwork. Right after long organ solo, Ritchies provides his guitar solo stunningly. It's really an excellent track and everlasting, because you still can enjoy this track nicely even nowadays. Jon Lord enters again and this time combined with Ritchie's guitar. The end of the song has timpani that make it uplifting track.

As usual with previous album, Deep Purple also covers The Beatles song "We Can Work It Out" performed differently with ambient nuance - darker than the original version. It starts symphonic with "Exposition" exploring Jon Lord's organ work combined with Nic Simpler's bass lines. You can see how prog this part is, because the music flows dynamically in inventive notes. When the song moves into "We Can Work It Out" Ritchie provides guitar melody while Rod Evans sings.

The rest of the songs : "Shield", "River Deep, Mountain High", and "Anthem" are also excellent tracks.

Overall, this is a very good early album by Deep Purple which has strong progressive rock elements especially through the work of Jon Lord and also mostly on the structure of the song that most of them are not straight forward. It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#157212)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album was published in October 1968, a mere three month after the first DP record (I am talking of the U.S. releases here). It is therefore obvious that THE BOOK OF TALIESYN is basically in the same vein as its predecessor: self-penned material is alternating with cover versions. IMHO this second offering is a bit stronger because the bad tracks are not as weak as the ones on the first album.

I always liked the opening track - LISTEN, LEARN READ ON - the melody is not ordinary, the snare drum is very fast (too fast?) but gives the whole thing a special tinge. Next comes the fine instrumental WRING THAT NECK, which had to be re-titled for the U.S. release as HARD ROAD. KENTUCKY WOMAN (by Neil Diamond) is the first of the three cover versions. It is suprisingly aggressive but at the same time a bit thin, as if the band were not really convinced of that number. EXPOSITION steals a few characteristic bars from the Romeo & Juliet Overture by Tchaikovsky and leads into WE CAN WORK IT OUT. This version is so bad one can only say: let it be. Next come the DP compositions SHIELD and ANTHEM, what a relief and 12 minutes of pure bliss. This is MK I at their best, those numbers are equal to the 3rd (April) album. The last track is a 10 minute version of RIVER DEEP, MOUNTAIN HIGH. Its bombast is ridiculous but at the same time necessary, because else the album would have ended with a whimper.

So, LISTEN, LEARN READ ON, WRING THAT NECK, SHIELD and ANTHEM are the essential tracks here. The over all impression is that the band was still without direction, but beginning to find it. As said at the beginning of the review, this album is better than Shades of Deep Purple. There are more good songs on it and the failures are not as hefty as on the first one. The development that led to the overwhelming 3rd album is recognisable, .

Three well earned stars.

Report this review (#162122)
Posted Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Purple´s second album was always my favorite of the three albums released by DP MKI. It is a big improvemnt over the debut album, with better original songs and less obvious choice of covers. The group sounds much more confident on the studio and more bold on the arrangements. Jon Lord kind of dominates the album throughly, but Blackmore is also becoming the driving force behind the band´s sound, with some already original and powerful guitar licks.

Don´t expect the heavy rock powerhouse of later classics like In Rock or Machine Head. The band still had to find its own way, and the songs flow through differeent styles: a mix of hard rock, pop and progressive. And, like everything done by Deep Purple, it is very well done. The backing vocals are also fine (and, unfortunatly, were latter abandoned).

The Book Of Taliesyn was another step towards their definitive sound, but showed the band in a creative period anyway, and I should point out the fact that they could handle almost any style in rock music. It was a matter of time to find their unique sound (and right line up), but they left quite a good impression by the time they release this LP. Highlight: The Shield.

I can´t call this LP essential, but it was very good. 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#177601)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Nice intro ... now where are my dungeons & dragons rules??

Big Heads up to all you Tool/Amplifier fans ...... (you will hate this)

I'm a fan but let's face it this is not very good. Yes it's DP (with what sounds like a little bit of glam rock) ... cos there's our Lord: not the heights of Burn but all the elements of what to come are here. It's always a bit odd reviewing an album you've listened to a zillion times but hey four glasses of Chimay Tripel (including that sugar puff moment) (PS i you dont understand it you either haven't had Sugar Puffs or Chimay ..God help you).

Back to the the Dark Lord Richie as he wafts his fretboard at the Good Lord. It's harsh to say but Rod's not in same league as some of the legendary vocal beasts that follow him. Somehow through all this fairly decent proto heavy rock Richie manages to get every other instrument faded out when ever he deigns to play a lick. if he was in my band i would reckon that was a bit egotistical and we'd get Ray Winstone to get medieval on his ass but hey what do I know.. (reminds me Fix Bayonets!!!) for those of you who ahve seen Love Honour and Obey.

it all gets a bit over the top - look at us we're really classical dramatic 1812 - nah let's break the mood with an appalling Beatles cover [aside -- was there ever a world in which this was OK???] .. anyway let's face it a few snippets of Jon may well be worth it. Nah Nah it's just a Fucglyd up cover.

Buy Burn Buy Strombringer (Hoorah!!!)

Report this review (#181842)
Posted Friday, September 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good second album for Deep Purple, that marks progress for the band in comparison with the first one. Fewer covers, better guitar solos by Ritchie Blackmore, better original songs, more clear sound - all these news make the album better as whole, than the first one for the band - Shades of Deep Purple. Deep Purple has revealed its potential with some classical and progressive elements, but anything like hard rock is away from the album. This is one of the first progressive albums of all time and that's the importance of it. Typical proto-prog album. It's interesting how one of the pioneers in progressive rock music - Deep Purple - got away very fast from their roots and become one of the greatest hard rock bands. Interesting... I will mark the best song on the album - this is Anthem - Deep Purple's original song with strong classical/progressive influence. The interpretation of River Deep, Mountain High is worth, too! 3 full stars.
Report this review (#194222)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well well... This Purple was a different beast than the classic Purple, and it isn't fair to judge their albums comparing them with the Mk II and Mk III ones.

In Mk I terms this is the most irregular one. Weak is a strong word for it and I believe that irregular is more adequate. Production is awful and even the remastered version couldn't do too much for the first and last track e.g. This time the Beatles cover didn't work so well and, with Kentucky woman (another cover, this time from Neil Diamond!) and the frist track, they can be considered fillers. But another cover, from Ike and Tina Turner (!) sounds as good as the original, and very harder, Ritchie showing flashes of the things to come. This track was played alive in those times, and I have a bootleg that shows that Blackmore and Lord were building brick by brick their heavy dialogue that would dominate the early 70's shows.

Wring that neck aka Hard Road is a good number, full of time for live contortionisms. You can hear it in its full orgiac live form in the BBC's In Concert recorded in 70-72 with the Mk II.

And now, the best pieve for Taliesyn. I don't believe that Deep Purple belongs to this site. Their sound in the Mk I era wasn't proto-prog to my ears but typical jamming rock from the late sixties with a little more quality than the average hard group. However pieces like April (from the last - and best - Mk I album) and Anthem could be seen as proto-prog music thanks to their efforts in mixing classical instruments and moods to rock passages. Anthem is beautiful and really fits well with Evans' voice. It's a shame that I didn't find any bootleg with this song played alive.

Finally a brief comment about the musicians. Although the first album is stronger than this in the material I believe we can hear the group playin' tighter in pieces more complicated than the ones on Shades of...(like the above mentionated Anthem). Lord's proeminence is more clear here as well. Rod Evans was a good singer but we can easily see that he lacks that something that put the things on fire. I believe that the real Evans only show what he could do in the first Captain Beyond album. And there he showed that his was a giant singing, without barriers or limits to its expression. Unfortunately he never did the same on Purple.

A 3 star album in general. In progginess, 2. So 2.5 stars.

Report this review (#199738)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A milestone in hard rock. This, besides representing proto-prog, represents the very first of heavy metal. If it were any other time period, I'd give it a 3 star, but this is the late 60's, an original, organ-synth, hard rock riff driven rock sound. What this album lacks in creativity, sheer brilliance and talent take over. The Book of Taliesyn also includes a few of my favorite songs, including Anthem and It's All Over. Listen, Learn, Read On is an excellent first song and really sets the tone for the entire album, with its reverberous vocal effects and the lyrical theme behind the mythics of The Book of Taliesyn. Wring That Neck is one of the worst on the album. It really shows how talented the musicians are, but it isn't captivating. Kentucky Woman is an instant classic, a great cover of Niel Diamond's song. It starts out energetic and organ-driven with a great guitar riff from 0:01 to 0:14. At 3:00, we hear arpeggios and scales on the synth, pretty typical for the entire album. The introduction of Exposition is what caught me, the heavy beat, then the old-age guitar picking. I really get a baroque feel at 1:40 with the synthesizer solo. The climax is great, as is the ritardando at the end, which leads perfectly into We Can Work It Out, a cover of The Beatles' single released with Day Tripper. The cover is great, and Deep Purple added their own originality with the guitar riffs and the keyboarding. Shield is one of the best tracks in the album. I especially like the piano part after the verse, and the distorted guitar playing during the whole song. The bass part adds some identifiable rhythm to the entire track. Anthem is probably the high-light of the album. Many have noted its influence from baroque music, as part of it actually quotes Bach's famous organ fugue. But what I find that's equally masterful about this song is that it's a bridge for rock lovers to cross into prog rock and even classical music. The entire song is accessible and still sophisticated. River Deep, Mountain Is An Example as to how Deep Purple was setting the bar for early progressive rock. It has a lengthy introduction, which reminds me of the popular song Also sprach Zarathustra, composed in 1896. This leads into an exciting accelerando, and then again the lengthy part. The song changes at 4:17 to the verse. This track is a great example of their hard rock, along with the hard-to-listen-to songs of their early years. Oh No No No is another great rock sound complimented by organ synth. This song sounds stagy, but it relaxed with a great guitar solo by Blackmore at 2:02. I had the good fortune to buy this album without the live tracks of It's All Over, Hey Bop Re Bop, and Wring That Neck, but BBC Session outtakes. It's All Over is a very touching track with such lyrics about "crying his life away". And it's apparent this takes heavy blues influence and even gospel music. Hey Bop a Re Bop has a nice blues heavy guitar riff for much of it, but again, it's a little less original than what I was expecting. Playground has a similar sound, a complete instrumental, nice progressing melody, an influential hard riff. The entire album can be described as energetic, psyche and blues oriented, and highly influential for hard rock and progressive rock. A journey I recommend taking, for sure.
Report this review (#220279)
Posted Monday, June 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars So apparently the band thought that their first album was good enough to warrant a "concept" album for their sophomore effort. What a bunch of maroons. The "concept" is actually limited, more or less, to the opening track, which strangely turns out to be the most enjoyable thing here. Yeah, the voice-of-God speaking sounds like a bad parody of contemporary Moody Blues poetry, but at least there's some crunchy guitar sounds here and there, and the chorus is disturbingly fun to sing. If you're a total dork, that is.

The rest of it, though, just sounds like the first album gone slightly sour, only forgetting to rock. Except for the good instrumental "Wring that Neck," based around a nice organ riff, there isn't a single piece here that can keep my mind from wandering more than, say, 50% of the time of the given track. Lessee, we have a Neil Diamond cover, "Kentucky Woman," which is ... ok. We have an extremely mediocre Beatles cover, "We Can Work it Out," preceded by an introduction that sounds to me like Jon had decided that keyboard parts that would sound like the blueprint for the more mediocre Van Der Graaf Generator organ breaks would be a good idea. It also shows Paice, in a rare lapse of judgement, trying to make his drum parts more "profound" by making them as loud and echoey as possible. Meh.

Lessee, then there's "Shield," which starts off with a nice bassline, decent minimalist guitar, a decent vocal melody ... and just gets insanely tedious over six minutes. Then there's "Anthem," which is actually quite pleasant, even though it's dripping with schmaltz (and since it's over six minutes, naturally, this becomes a problem, which isn't really remedied by the sudden appearance of a string section in the middle). At least it has a pretty guitar solo, one of very few on the album. And finally, there's the band's cover of "River Deep, Mountain High" (by whom, I have no clue), which, excluding yet another silly, tedious, long organ-based introduction, is ... ok. Not memorable at all (except for the chorus), but pleasant in the slow parts and amusing in the fast parts.

You know, looking back at this review, I'm amazed that I give it as high a rating as I do - some reviewers absolutely trash the hell out of this album, and I can definitely see where they're coming from. Still, I don't outright hate anything on this album, except the disgraceful Beatles cover, and besides, the total hilarious naivety of the band in regards to what actually consists "good" music is at least somewhat charming. At the same time, it's still a rather tepid massacre of good taste, so I can't really put it in the "so awful it's great" category, like I do with ELP's Pictures at an Exhibition. If you see it in a cutout bin, consider it, but otherwise, don't bother.

Report this review (#280969)
Posted Saturday, May 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Book of Talysien is a pleasant early Purple album. It's still very much a rock'n'roll album that reminds as much of Elvis Presley as of the Deep Purple as we know it. But it already shows the known heavy rock interplay between Blackmore, Pace and Lord.

Listen Learn Read On is a steaming heavy rock track with a very high Deep Purple stamp. Only Rod Evans' vocals are still rooted in earlier rock traditions. He's a fine singer of course but his Elvis style dates this a bit. The instrumental Wring The Neck is classic Blackmore Purple, with sharp guitars that are both full of bite and melody. Like all tracks, also this one drowns in 60's reverb, but apart from that production choice this track could have fitted easily on Fireball.

After those two strong openers Kentucky Woman is a rather average 60's pop song. Exposition makes a bit more room for classical organ playing from Jon Lord. It's like a take on Rondo from the debut of the Nice. It leads into the psychedelic pop blues of We Can Work It Out.

The Shield offers a dreamier mood. It's a straightforward pop song again but I quite like this one with it's snake-charming Eastern melodies. Anthem however is probably the weakest link on this uneven album. There's a classical musical bit in the middle but basically it is a plain sugary crooner. River Deep is a 10 minute song which is sure deserving of the proto-prog tag. Hailing from 1968, only the Doors had similar long composed pieces. Unfortunately none of the melodies or playing is really heart-warming.

A good early Purple album, but with too many prevailing 60-ties rockabilly and pop elements to stand-out from their contemporaries.

Report this review (#285780)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the one in the middle of PURPLE's three early albums, before their rise to fame with the new heavier direction (which was to produce some of the most respected classics of heavy rock genre). Having heard 'Anthem' in the radio I thought this early Deep Purple stuff would be quite pleasant, and more arty, with Jon Lord's leanings to classical music. But I was perhaps expecting too much for my anti- heavy rock taste.

The vocals are not Ian Gillan's yet, but the singer Rod Evans actually has very similar vocals to Gillan. Also the bassist was to change. It's so easy (and it wouldn't be very wrong either) to say that these early albums are done by a band who haven't yet found their musical direction - or even the right line-up. Well, I just wish they would have continued developing things heard here instead of becoming heavy legends. If only Jon Lord's creative participation wouldn't have taken the back seat (after the Concerto For Group & Orchestra, of course)... There are glimpses of classically influenced innovation, but no more than that. The rather under- developed state of their writing skill is also visible in the large portion of recycled song material. It seems that with the songs 'We Can Work It Out' (Beatles) and 'River Deep, Mountain High' they dared to stretch boundaries more than with their own compositions.

Ritchie Blackmore (whose biography I read recently) always needed to show off his skills as a guitarist, and here he does it most openly with the hard rocking instrumental 'Wring That Neck'. I think in the end already here Blackmore with his ballsy playing is more dominant musician than Lord. A pity. The CD reissue has several bonus tracks (three live ones and two studio outtakes). Maybe this album is best described as promising. It's kind of a fall-in-between case. I like the fantastic cover drawing more than the music. But 'Anthem' is a fine ballad-ish song anyway, and 'Exposition' (instrumental long intro to the Beatles cover) is surely Proto Prog worth noticing.

(I want to remind you of the subjective nature of my ratings, and this is not such a classic that makes me rate it higher than I personally enjoy it. Done that too as a PA reviewer...)

Report this review (#291060)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This has to be one of THE most underrated albums of all time, as exemplified by all your negative reviews and my own subsequent rebuttal. A masterpiece within the undercurrent of petty reviews.

Man, I tell ya Rod Evans is f***ing incredible. I sat there for 45 minutes in absolute awe of his voice. Surley that voice alone earns this album 3 stars MINIMUM.

My 2 favourite tracks from this labum "Shield" and "Anthem" are proto-prog masterpieces. How can people not see this? Brooding atmosphere with hypnotic overtones and Evans' sonically divine vocals. Impeccable stuff right here.

And Deep Purple covering The Beatles "We Can Work It" a poor choice? Oh how wrong you all are. Fusing 2 incredible styles together to form one ultimate track. I see no problems here.

Report this review (#332001)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Probably the more complete album of Mk1 "The Book Of Taliesyn" is, at the same time, my preferred MK1 album. It is difficult to describe the exact style of this album: Prog?, Heavy Rock?... If you have listen to an album of Simper's Warhorse you have listen 4th or 5th DP Mk1 album and you have listen to another "The Book Of Taliesyn". Probably, for this reason I insert "The Book Of Taliesyn" between Heavy Rock albums. It is clear that "The Book Of Taliesyn" is a true Prog album (also if Proto Prog). This album start with "Listen, Learn, Read On", a great Heavy Rock song, also a great Proto Heavy Metal song that is the title-track of "The Book Of Taliesyn". The second song is "Wring That Neck", another DP evergreen, a Proto Heavy Metal song and an instrumental. Another high peak of this album are: "Shield" (but only of DP Mk1!), "Anthem", the song more Progressive of all DP discography, a good ballad and the cover (penned by Berry, Spector and Greenwich) of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" with an organ intro (not aged good), that is a perfect song for Rod Evans voice and for DP in general. From 2000 remastered version bonus tracks "Oh No No No" (original version by Ben E. King) is a good song that was one of the high peak of "The Book Of Taliesyn".

I repeat, probably "The Book Of Taliesyn" is the more complete album of DP Mk1. Hard Rock and Prog at the same time.

Report this review (#379278)
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Book Of Taliesyn' - Deep Purple (6/10)

The second album from Deep Purple is also one of their most underrated albums. Like 'Shades Of Deep Purple', fans look back on this record and dismiss it, in no small part due to the fact that it features more cover tracks. Although there is a greater wealth of original material here, it is hoped that a band would have started focusing solely on their own material by this point, but in any case, 'The Book Of Taliesyn' is a small step in the right direction for this archetypal hard rock ensemble. Another psychedelic-tinged, organ driven slice of hard rock, Deep Purple's music may still not have been golden at this point, but contrary to the disdain that the album has received, there is some great stuff to behold here.

All things considered, the album is fairly diverse for its time. 'Listen, Learn, Read On' has a few psychedelic effects on the vocals to make things sound a little spacier, and the lyrical themes revolve around medieval, fantasy based topics that really add to the charm of the band. 'Wring That Neck' is an instrumental that shows the heaviness of the band, as well as the great talent of their keyboardist (and brightest shining star at this point) Jon Lord. Richie Blackmore has some nice solos on this album finally, but it would be a while before he started really coming onto his own as the guitar hero he is considered today. 'Shield' and 'Anthem' are two strong tracks that aptly describe the band's sound at the time, even bringing sounds of classical music into the mix; something that was not heard much at the time. Deep Purple even bring their own unique sound to the Beatles cover 'We Can Work It Out', adding a long proggy instrumental introduction that really makes the track their own.

A problem that 'The Book Of Taliesyn' really does struggle with is the production, which often feels a little too ambitious given the technology at the time. While Deep Purple can't be put down for wanting to incorporate alot of sounds into their album, 'Taliesyn' does tend to get a little muddy and too distorted at times, especially with the dense organ sounds. Deep Purple's sophomore is a very good album, but this is a problem that does tend to take away from the ferocity of the performance, and there were parts where the production really felt as if it got in the way of enjoyment. Deep Purple would keep getting better from here, taking this potential and running with it a little more on their self-titled follow-up to this album. 'The Book Of Taliesyn' is a good album on its own merit though, and while it is not excellent or particularly engaging, Deep Purple does deserve more credit for this album than what they get.

Report this review (#476488)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I consider "The Book of Taliesyn" one of the best Proto-Prog albums of all of the times, and I find very superior in relation to the other 2 albums of DEEP PURPLE"S MK-I phase. In spite of still to present strong influences of the Flower-Power movement as for instance, the use of elements of the oriental music, of the boogie-woogie, and influences from The Beatles, Cream, The Who etc... there is in this disk a strong inclination of adopting influences of jazz and classical music.. Such observations are easily noticed, for instance: Track 2 "Wring That Neck" brings a theme that mixes jazz & blues, Track 4 "Exposition / We can work it out" relates the classic music (in "Exposition") with one of the best versions for a Beatles"s song . Track 5 "Shield" presents a guitar arrangement and a rhythm that reminds ndian themes and besides it culminates with a percussion arrangement that simulates a Tablas concert. My rate is 4 stars.
Report this review (#502402)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Finding their feet.

Mk 1 of Deep Purple released three albums. This is the second album. It has some cover versions and some own compositions.

The music is typical 1960s with rampant keyboards and guitars. John Lord and Ritchie Blackmore are in fine form here and is really finding their voice..... make that tones..... on this album. Tones and sounds carried over to their great Mk 2 albums, well at least In Rock and Machine Head. Rod Evans, later Captain Beyond, does a great job on the vocals.

The songs here are really good. This album also includes the semi-classic Wring That Neck which is a great song and a pointer to what Deep Purple would do later. But the best song here are Deep Purple's take on River Deep, Mountain High. A song immortalised by Ike & Tina Turner. Deep Purple's take on this song is different though. But still a great version.

The rest of the songs are good, with the notably exception of their version of The Beatles's We Can Work It Out. A song which does not fit into this album at all. This album is still an enjoyable listen, though.

3 stars

Report this review (#569325)
Posted Thursday, November 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I heard "Shades of Deep Purple" I confess I was a little disappointed with the band. The so-called reputation and what I heard did not fit. A second chance was necessary for a band as respected as Deep Purple. I decided to hear the next album "The Book of Taliesyn"... A cover much more interesting than the previous, where you can view images sung in "Listen, Learn, Read On", for example: "he hare he bounds across the page. Past castles white and fair. Past dreaming chessmen on their boards. With a fool's mate as a snare." It was possible to notice a different sound, melodies and chords better built, own compositions. The first time I heard of "Jon Lord" was as a guest musician on some albums "Black Sabbath" and "Ozzy". It was visible to the quality even playing in a few moments over the shares mentioned. On this album the fascination for technical quality and creative "Jon Lord" only increased. "Wring That Neck" or "Hard Road" is a wonderful instrumental track. Point for all members, in fact, a small detail, throughout the album, "Rod Evans" was here less significant to me. "Kentucky Woman" has a more exquisite record for "Jon Lord", of course "Ian Paice" does not leave for less. If I were to summarize this album in a single name: "Jon Lord". "Exposition / We Can Work It Out" offers us another brilliant moment of harmony of the band. In all aspects the album for me represented a significant advance over the previous. I have the slight impression that "Ritchie Blackmore" is much more perky. "Evans" interprets well the song "Anthem" with an emotion consistent with the letter, "Memories still bring me a numbness to my feelings." "River Deep, Mountain High" ends the album with a sense of accomplishment.

Report this review (#785467)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7.5/10

Well, this album is a slightly "less good" than his previous one, but still offers an amazing amount of psychedelic rock / progressive / proto-hard rock, as evidenced for example in the opening Listen, Learn, Read On, with distorted vocals and rather complex to its mere four minutes. There are still a ton of covers, and while Kentucky Woman does nothing for me, works as Exposition / We Can Work It Out (cover respectively Beethoven - looks the classical side of Jon Lord - and the Beatles) and the epic River Deep, Mountain High (Ike and Tina Turner? this is good) really show the ability to surprise the band exploring the foreign material.

In fact the b-side is better than the next. If the second song, Wring That Neck (Instrumental) is a typical blues-rock and full of phrasing and interactions between the Lord's organ and Blackmore guitar, The Shield (with its exotic percussion, which sounds like a drum machine of the 80s ) and Anthem (with his string arrangement and classical influence evidenced again) are my favorite, besides the cover of Ike and Tina (who also has an introduction to also Sprach Zarathustra, named after 2001).

4 stars. Lower, but still a good quality material.

Report this review (#869903)
Posted Sunday, December 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Their second album still has the band playing music with some mixed styles: Psychedelic Rock, Rock Pop, Prog Rock, Classical Music and Hard Rock. It was recorded in late 1968 with some pressure from their U.S. label which wanted more musical material for their next U.S. tour. They had more time for the recording of this album than in their first album, but they really were under pressure for new material. Still, the recording of this album, while they had more budget to record it, still does not sound very well, and the music still sounds very "sixties".

"Listen, Learn, Read On" has some Psychedelic influences and "sound effects", but also some Pop Rock influences.

"Wring that Neck": an energetic instrumental musical piece with good riffs and some Blues and Hard Rock musical influences, with Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore playing the riffs together with some Prog Rock influences. Blackmore`s guitar sounds better in this album than in their first album. This is maybe the best song from this album.

"Kentucky Woman": a very Pop Rock song composed by Neil Diamond, but played with good arrangements. It sounds more like Rod Evans`s singing style was more adequate for this kind of songs than for more heavy songs.

"Exposition / We Can Work It Out": "Exposition" is an intro which uses arrangements from some Classical Music excerpts from works by Beethoven and others. "We Can Work It Out" is a cover from a song composed by Lennon and McCartney, with a very Pop Rock arrangement. I don`t like both tracks very much.

"Shield": another Pop Rock song with some Psychedelic influences, not very interesting for my taste.

"Anthem": a ballad with some acoustic guitar and Pop Rock influences. Very mellow. I don`t like it very much. Lord plays some Mellotron in this song.

"River Deep, Mountain High": a Pop Rock / Psychedelic arrangement for a song which was originally recorded by IKE AND TINA TURNER in 1966. They also used a Classical Music theme ("Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss) in some parts of this song.

As a whole, I think that their first album was better than this album. There is also a very often use of "dramatic percussion" playing (A timpani? A gong?) by Ian Paice, which maybe was suggested a lot to be used by the producer of the album (Derek Lawrence) which really sounds "pompous" most of the time. There is also a very often use of some reverb in the vocals which I also don`t like very much.

For collectors / fans only.

Report this review (#1264783)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Continuing in the path of Shades Of Deep Purple, they create another solid album.

Let's see what we've got here, track-by track:

Listen, Learn, Read On: Very nice rocker with psychedelic elements, close to the Arthur Brown style. Ian Paice's drums are spectacular, and by far the best element of the song.

Wring That Neck: A Deep Purple instrumental classic, with unforgettable work by Jon Lord on keyboards. The first song in the Purple history that showcases the magnificence of Jon Lord. Richie Blackmore sounds great too, but Lord wins the "duel".

Kentucky Woman: Nice Brit pop song, fun but not something significant for my taste. Yet, another great performance by Lord.

Exposition; We Can Work It Out (The Beatles): Pomp introduction with army-like drums, and many elements that we would encounter on Highway Star two years later. At the 3:00 mark they begin The Beatles cover, which is not one of the best they ever did, but it's a respectable song for sure, and prog-ish too.

The Shield: The most psychedelic song of the album, if someone told me it was a Sid Barrett song I would believe him. Not a fan of psychedelic music though, so not a a fan of this one.

Anthem: Bittersweet ballad, in the pop style of that era. And suddenly... violins and medieval keyboards, out of nowhere! What a twist! Afterwards, a guitar solo and back at the mainstream form. Very unpredictable song, a really nice one!

River Deep, Mountain High (Ike & Tina Turner): Intro that begins with an "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (J. Straus) improvisation and continues in psychedelic forms, with the first vocals at around the 4:30 mark. Here, they play a brit pop-rock cover of the Ike & Tina Turner song, with the intro elements reappearing here and there. Very good song overall, not boring even though it's over 10 minutes long. Richie Blackmore's guitar has seen better days though, lower than his own level here.

RATING: A bit weaker than their debut, but with some great moments too. The massive potential they had finds another way to show it's self, and we are only two albums away from the first big bang. 3 stars.

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Posted Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am very surprised by the poor consideration the progressive rock fans have for this record. Does my radically reversed interest for it result from a sentimental attachment, back to my discovery of this work which seemed so strangely beautiful to the 8 or 9 years old boy who discovered it in the early 1970's, seeing there a bridge between classical and rock, at the same time as in "Trespass" and "Take a pebble". "The book of Taliesyn" is, in my opinion, the most beautiful work of Deep Purple.

Certainly, "In Rock" remains his masterpiece, because of its energy, virtuosity, the precision of the themes, etc. But it's pure hard rock, even "Child in time" and its prominent organ has no obvious prog feature. "The book of Taliesyn" is a pure progressive rock album.

Maybe the two easy songs of the album, "Listen, learn, read on" and "Kentucky woman", have disappointed some listeners. I recognize the second one may seem to reveal an uncertain taste ! But the five other pieces elaborate a collection of finely crafted melodies with permanent classical references. For instance, the beautiful violin and organ solos in "Anthem" ; or "Exposition", a solemn opening to one of McCartney's masterpieces : "We can work it out" that seems to me transcended here.

The instrumental "Wring that neck" could have been composed by Keith Emerson but the virtuoso keyboards is enriched with a sharp guitar. Maybe John Lord has never played better than in this fired piece and his dialogue with Ritchie Blackmore is quite exciting. In the splendid version of "We can work it out" and all along the subtle tempo of "Shield", Rod Evans' deep and majestic voice could remind Greg Lake's singing.

And in the end, Deep Purple managed to make a great symphonic piece of a famous rhythm and blues top hits ! A little bit pompous sometimes, undoubtedly, but isn't emphasis an element of prog rock ?

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Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2016 | Review Permalink

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