Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Deep Purple


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Deep Purple Who Do We Think We Are album cover
3.05 | 642 ratings | 29 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Woman From Tokyo (5:48)
2. Mary Long (4:23)
3. Super Trouper (2:54)
4. Smooth Dancer (4:08)
5. Rat Bat Blue (5:23)
6. Place In Line (6:29)
7. Our Lady (5:12)

Total time 34:17

Bonus tracks on 2000 remaster:
8. Woman From Tokyo (1999 remix) (6:37)
9. Woman From Tokyo (alternate bridge) (1:24)
10. Painted Horse (Outtake) (5:19)
11. Our Lady (1999 remix) (6:05)
12. Rat Bat Blue (writing sessions) (0:57)
13. Rat Bat Blue (1999 remix) (5:49)
14. First Day Jam (unreleased instrumental) (11:31)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Gillan / lead vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitars, bass (14)
- Jon Lord / keyboards (organ, piano)
- Roger Glover / bass
- Ian Paice / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: John Coletta & Roger Glover

LP Purple Records ‎- TPSA 7508 (1973, UK)
LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- BS 2678 (1973, US)

CD EMI ‎- 7482732 (1987, UK)
CD EMI ‎- 521 6072 (2000, Europe) Remastered by Peter Mew with 7 bonus tracks remixed by Peter Mew & Peter Denenberg

Thanks to The Miracle for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy DEEP PURPLE Who Do We Think We Are Music

DEEP PURPLE Who Do We Think We Are ratings distribution

(642 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEEP PURPLE Who Do We Think We Are reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Trouble was brewing between Blackmood and Gillan for a while now , but it all blew up in the face in this album. A rather poor album , hardly essential and totally uninspired IMHO! No wonder they broke up!

A rather noisy album with the only break given during the aerial Jon Lord solo of the opening track, also the only "hit"of the album. To my mind , only Rat Bat Blue is relatively better than the sub-par rest of the tracks (for Purper standard).

As for the bonus tracks , even the intriguing 11 min+ First Day Jam track will not make buy the CD version of the album. For Purple completists only!

Review by Chicapah
1 stars What a fitting title. After the eye-opening stunner that was "Machine Head" fans of this talented group were braced and ready to be completely bowled over by their next offering. Instead, we got this putrid stinker. As I recall, there wasn't a lot of advertising push for this one (especially considering the monster single that "Smoke on the Water" had been) and I came across it almost by accident while perusing the new releases at the record store one day in early 1973. I trusted that they wouldn't make me regret buying it on faith alone. My overall reaction upon finishing the struggle to listen to every song was "Who in the hell do they think they are to spit out such drivel?" It is ironic that they have one of their most identifiable songs on it in the embarassing "Woman from Tokyo" with its insipid lyrics and uninspired music. I always hope when I hear that on the classic stations that younger listeners don't judge them by that ultra-lame ditty alone and miss out on the really great stuff they produced before and after this waste of vinyl/plastic. The rest of the album offers little in the way of relief with the possible exception of "Rat Bat Blue" that features just a little bit of Blackmore's fiery guitar. How they could look themselves in the mirror after putting this bucket of slop on the market is beyond me. Shame on them.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Who Do We Think We Are" is not the band's best effort in terms of musical standard. However, this album is so memorable for me because the cassette version of this CD was one of six cassettes (all rock!) that my mother purchased for me - altogether with the purchase of National Panasonic Tape Recorder (mono!). Yeah . that was the first sound system that our family purchase and it was shared for me and my brother Henky. Lucky enough that my big brother Henky was a true rocker so I basically played whatever he played. I remember vividly the other cassettes were: Uriah Heep "Demons and Wizards", Santana (I don't know the album but there was memorable song "No One To Depend On"), Osibisa and El Chicano (hah? Do you still remember this band? Where are they now? Any of you know them?).

As this was the only album that I had so I did enjoy playing the cassette. Of course my favorite was "Woman From Tokyo" but I also loved "Rat Bat Blue" and "Place In Line" (I like the opening part where the sound is like in ambient like an SW radio wave at the time). When couple of years ago Deep Purple did a concert in Indonesia with Steve Morse on guitar and Don Airey on keyboard (replacing Jon Lord), they played "Mary Long". So I tried to spin the CD again after I watched them live. It's not bad at all.

It's a good but not essential hard rock music.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Running on empty

Deep Purple followed up the world conquering "Machine head" with this clear attempt at creating a facsimile. Unfortunately, relationships within the band were rapidly reaching breaking point, and any semblance of harmony had all but disappeared. Indeed, before the next album ("Burn") was recorded, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover would have moved on.

The problem with "Who do we think we are" is that apart from the opening track "Woman from Tokyo", there is nothing whatsoever to get excited about. It is as if the band's composers are unwilling to submit anything decent to the sinking ship (the credits are conveniently democratic), and the performers are doing only what is required of them.

"Woman from Tokyo" is the exception though. While not quite up there with the ultimate Deep Purple songs, it is worthy of a place in any "Best of" collection. The song has prog overtones, with the driving rock which identifies the track being countered by a "Strange kind of woman" like centre section (which sounds more than a little like the Kinks' "Tired of waiting"). Had the band come up with a few more songs of this quality, we may have been hailing this album as another DP great.

Unfortunately, the inspiration pretty much evaporates as the track fades. Blackmore's brief solos are functional but dull. Jon Lord contributes some decent organ work, particularly on the otherwise forgettable "Rat bat blue", and Gillan does his best to sound excited when clearly he is not.

On a couple of tracks, "Smooth dancer" and "Our lady", we move into Uriah Heep territory, the latter having the choral harmonies of that fine band. The only other song worthy of mention is "Place in line" which is a decent but undistinguished upbeat blues.

In all, a very average album which devotees of the band will probably find sufficiently in line with previous offerings to be of merit. For the rest though, there are far better Deep Purple albums than this.

While the outer sleeve of the LP is poor, the inside has some wonderful press clippings from the early days of Deep Purple, with headlines such as "Purple devastate Edinburgh", "Eating ban on Deep Purple men", and "Deep Purple taking over the world".

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I guess that for any band in the world, it is quite a difficult moment to produce an album after such a studio masterpiece than "Machine Head" and an alike live one as "In Japan". On top of that, the ambience within the band is desastrous. Blackmore and Gillan can hardly stand each other at the time. Gillan already wanted to quit but was encouraged to record another studio album (I guess financials were involved in his decision ...). They are trying to produce a second "Machine Head" but won't succeed even if this album is a good one. Still, we were accustomed to such a high standard bt the Purple that this one sounds weak in comparison.

In remembrance of their fantastic live record MIJ, the Purple will create the opener " Woman from Tokyo" to their new beloved Japaneese audience. Great hard rock song with a good riff. Tempo is slower than their traditional openers during Mark II. "Mary Long" is quite a good track (although 100% macho) : great rythm, strong keys and drumming. Ian performs quite well here. "Super Trouper" is alike to "Bloodsucker" from "In Rock" or to "Maybe, I'm A Leo" from "Machine Head". A good hard rocking song again but nothing fancy; this is exactly the problem with this record. Most of the tracks are good, but almost none is on par with "Machine" or "In Rock". "Smooth Dancer" is a great hard rock tune : fantastic background work from Roger and Ian as well as nice piano from Jon. The vocal parts, as I have already mentioned were strongly influenced by the left over track "Freedom" from the "Fireball" sessions (two years before). Piano / organ moments are just gorgeous pieces : Jon is at his best (as usual) should I say. It is a great piece of rock'n'roll music. Probably the highlight here, together with the title track. Side one is very good. Let's say that it is on par with "Fireball". B-side starts with "Rat Bat Blue" which is a good rocking track again. Ian Paice and Jon Lord are at their best. They managed to bring this track to the "Machine" level. "Place In Line" is a bluesy tune which has flavour of "Lazy". It kicks out after 2'25" and the kind of jamming session it develops after that is quite good. Great keys from the master. "Our Lady" could have been performed by the Mark I line-up. Quite mellow and monocord. The weakest track.

The remastered version has lots of bonuses. "Painted Horse" is an outake and is quite good. Since the album was quite short, I think it should have deserved to be included in there. There are some remix versions of "Rat Bat Blue", "Woman" and "Our Lady" (which has a very good finale and which IMO is better than the official version). "First Day Jam" is a very long ... jam session (over eleven minutes). Bluesy and highlighting Jon's skills (but do we need such thing to confirm this) ? Three stars for this effort.

This will be the end of the Mark II line-up for this time being. They will come back as such (much) later on. But Mark III will also deliver great moments. I have been writing the reviews for the Deep or the Purple or Deep Purple if you prefer during the last two months together with other giant bands like Genesis, Yes and twelve (to be precise) other ones.

I am posting the Purple ones together with the Yes ones. This was not by chance. There are a lot of similarities between both bands : they started almost at the same time, they have produced several good cover songs in their early days, they will change from line-up several times but both will return to their core one occasionnally, they produced masterpieces (studio and live ones), they are still touring and finaly they are two of my all time, all genres preferred bands. Thank you very, very much both Ian's, Ritchie, Jon and Roger. My youth has been impregnated by your work and I will ALWAYS love you. Thank you guys !

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What do you expect from an album that kicks off with a promising rockin' track such as Woman from Tokyo? Surely, a similar, if not a better, follow-up...

Expectations are even higher if you keep in mind that a year ago, the same band released one of the most influential albums in classic rock, Machine Head. However, the magic is lost somewhere after the opening track; a number of pleasant heavy rocking tracks do not match up with the actual capabilities of this band. This makes you wonder if Deep Purple is still the same band that released a few masterpieces the past years. A mix of heavy prog, blues and classic rock is the outcome for Who do we think we are (a successful title?). You don't need a lot of spins to realise the level of inspiration and musicianship on this record: there are some decent old rockin' moments but also a few disappointments at the same time (eg. A place in line). Our Lady and Super Trouper largely remind of early Uriah Heep techniques, but far off the level of albums like Salisbury or Demons & Wizards.

Jon Lord reveals some of his attributes on Rat Bat Blue and Smooth Dancer along with Mary Long stand quite well as rockers, despite the slightly silly lyrics of the latter. What is somewhat disappointing is the level of dedication in the solo parts, evident throughout the whole record. Concluding, this is not a bad album, sounds quite pleasantly for most of its duration but indifferently as well from times to times. Apart from the opening classic, the rest could be easily forgotten by Deep Purple fans. Even if this deserves a small corner in your discography, is not appropriate for your first 'purple' experience...

Review by poslednijat_colobar
2 stars Deep Purple are already superstars and now it's time for something really weak - like Who Do We Think We Are! After three consecutive masterpieces it's time for one of the weakest album by the band if not solely the weakest one. Something fresh is the first song, which is big hit, of course - Woman from Tokyo. Everything else is very boring and full of mistakes in logical conections without anything interesting. This is the reason for the break up of this line-up for more than 10 years. When you put this album on you are trying to find something good, but it's really very hard until the end of the album. Being not full disappointment I shall give it 2 stars!
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A self prophesying title if there ever was one.

For their seventh album Deep Purple had a lot to follow up on. They had had massive success album after album with works, now considered classics, like Fireball, In Rock, Machine Head and the live offering, Made In Japan. Clearly the inspiration had run out, but the band must have been as high on life as a kite when they recorded this, because they're clearly putting a lot of effort into simply subpar material. While the album can still be called good it is no were near the caliber of earlier works, which is probably why it was so ill received back when it came out. If there were any pluses, however, it was that the band were seen to be 'on the comeback' afterward.

Still, there is some good material to be had on the album. First and foremost is the song that many Deep Purple fans consider to be an embarrassment to the band's catalog, the single - and actually somewhat well known - Woman From Tokyo. Everyone has heard this song at some point in their lives, and if it doesn't look familiar then just wait until you refresh your ears with another listen. The sound of Gillian shouting ''my woman from Tokyo!'' will ring a bell right away. This is actually a fairly impressive single rooted in blues rock and tainted it Purple's trademark perverseness. Just about every song on the album will follow suite with this, creating an album with is very 'unprogressive', but that's not the main problem with the album, not at all.

The songs most rooted in strong songwriting are where Purple really shines. Take for example the excellent opener to side 2, Rat Bat Blue, which would actually inspire artists such as German artists Helloween to cover it on albums way in the future. Blackmore scorches the guitar in this track with his bluesy riffs and solos, making for the standout of the album. Unfortunately, the rest of the songs on the album fall between weak and forgettable. Mary Long has some of the strangest lyrics ever used in a repetitive chorus, and there's not much to save the song from that anyways. The other songs on the album are pleasant, but ultimately forgettable.

It would be hard to call this a poor album, but it certainly is weak by any standard. Still, if you're a fan of the band it is anything but a clay pigeon of a disc, and you'll probably get some good enjoyment out of it. Just make sure you don't spend a small fortune on the album, because while it is good, it's got the face that only a mother (or in this case, fan) could love. Fans only, starters to the band are recommended to check out the 4 releases that preceded this one.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Just in order to put paid to any notion of me being a rabid DP fangirl, I have chosen this album for my first one-star review... They say that there is no bigger disappointment than the one you get from someone you love, and this is very true as far as the aptly-titled Who Do We Think We Are? is concerned. This album, released only one year after the awesome double whammy of Made in Japan and Machine Head gives new meaning to the word 'anticlimactic', and shows a band on the brink of disintegration. Of course, as everyone knows, soon afterwards Deep Purple would come back bigger and better than ever (though with a different lineup and sound) - but this disc remains a blot on their discography, though unfortunately not the only one.

There is not much to say about Who Do We Think We Are?, seen as it is mostly a flat, samey effort that never really sticks in the listener's mind. The sole exceptions to this rule are opener Woman from Tokyo, which, while not the band's strongest effort by any means, manages at least some semblance of quality, and the scathing Mary Long, dedicated to the same Mary Whitehouse (a notorious British campaigner for morality and decency) indicted by Pink Floyd in Pigs - Three Different Ones. The other songs, though competently executed, are totally forgettable, and seem to blur into each other in a sort of shapeless mess. Even the bonus tracks feel disposable, unlike those included on the remastered editions of In Rock and Burn - the lengthy instrumental First Day Jam being far from the best example of the band's mastery, in spite of a decent performance by Hammond king Jon Lord.

Probably, if the album had been released by another band, my rating would have been higher (though not by much). However, we are talking about Deep Purple here, and we have the right to expect something better from one of the undisputed legends of rock. If you are a fan, or want to complete your collection, try to find it secondhand, or discounted (as I did) - otherwise, it is not worth shelling out too much of your hard-earned cash for this very weak, undistinguished effort. Get Burn instead - even with a new lineup, it is everything the title promises.

Review by The Quiet One
2 stars Who do you think you are to rate this 1 star?!

Haha, side joke to dear Raff... Anyway, Who do We Think We Are is the typical album which gets so bad critics, consequence of being released after the band's magnum opus, or at least most acclaimed one. But if you hear this album, without thinking of Machine Head, either Burn, you'll definitely find, at least three or four songs that make this album enjoyable in the very least. There's no sutff like Lazy or Highway Star or Child in Time, to name a few, but they surely stand alongside Never Before, Maybe I'm a Leo, Smoke on the Water, Demon's Eye, and more of the style, just with a bit less of substance and new ideas.

The album overall features good riffs like from the classic 'Woman From Tokyo' and 'Rat Bat Blue', as well as good solos like the hammond-organ one from 'Smooth Dancer', also some good ideas like in the middle of 'Super Trouper' and in 'Woman from Tokyo', as well as some mediocre ideas like the entirety of 'Our Lady', or the simple blues rooted 'Place in Line', however this one features killer solos from both, guitar and organ.

However, it's a fact that this album is not Deep Purple at their peak and they definitely sound tired at times to the point of adding worthless blues piano throughout some of the tunes which is not something you expect from an already mature hard rock band.

2 stars: I enjoy this album almost in its entirety, but that doesn't mean this is a good album. It's average hard rock done by my favorite hard rock band, so yeah, of course I'll enjoy it. Get this after having heard In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head and Burn.

Review by 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.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars After releasing a string of terrific, groundbreaking records, Deep Purple came out with this dud. It is SO hard to believe it followed such a masterpiece as Machine Head! In my early teens there were only two bands I was totally fanatical about: Yes and Deep Purple. And yet I still remember how disappointed I was when a friend lend me a copy of Who Do We Think We Are. I tried very hard to like it, but to no avail. I gave the LP back to that friend after a week and never heard or talked about that album again. Until a few weeks ago when I heard the 25th Anniversary Edition.

Again I am glad I didnīt buy it. Ok, it is not a total disaster. Rat Bat Blue, Smooth Dancer and Woman From Tokyo are ok, they have some nice parts, the latter being the only one I can say I fully appreciated (the slow middle part is quite good and unusual for Deep Purple). But nothing here is even close to what they had done before. It is a typical case when you notice they are excellent musicians playing very well a very weak material. No inspiration, no good hooks, no passion. A very burocratic album and Ritchie Blackmore had every reason to disowed it in public as he did at the time (īcrapī).

The extra tracks add little to the original edition. I liked Painted Horse and I suppose the extended First Day Jam is ok, but thatīs about it. Their incredible chemistry was gone and the result sounds like a bunch of leftovers tracks from the previous works put together . A real shame, the weakestt thing DP Mk II ever relasead. Small wonder that line up broke up soon after this LP was out. I can only recommend Who Do We think We Are for collectors, hardcore fans and completionists.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Just like so many other Purple fans, both young and old, I fell in love with the band through the high-adrenaline trio of In Rock, Fireball and Machine Head, all boasting some of the classiest, most striking hard rock and heavy prog of the 70s.

Just like so many other Purple fans, both young and old, I lost a whole lot of faith in the band upon hearing Who Do We Think We Are. After a few spins dominated by sheer disbelief, utter disappointment and occasional thoughts that I must be missing out on something, this mediocre effort slipped my mind and thankfully passed into oblivion for several years.

Well, here we are again.

While not appallingly bad in any way, it's the sonic equivalent of an ugly hangover after a terrific party. Bland, often mid-tempo rockers with lack of identity, edge and power. Fat and clumsy, the songs lazily straggles on in hope of living on past glories. Uninspired, blunt Hammond organ from Lord, insipid, cheap guitar licks from Blackmore, unusually pedestrian drumming from Paice and a Gillan singing with less than a quarter of the inspiration we've come to expect from him. Glover does what he have to do, nothing more. Where Deep Purple used to be a tight, loud, crashing, technical, confrontational and brave band you now find a sluggish, retired boxer desperately trying to find any kind of focus.

It just goes to show how much internal strife can ruin even such a killer line-up. I think some fans could find redeemable features on Who Do We Think We Are, but I'll always look at this album as something tainted and unworthy...and preferably created by another band.

2 stars.


Review by tarkus1980
2 stars Ok, so it's laudable on the part of Gillan that he didn't like that the band had established for itself a bit of a stylistic rut, and that he wanted the band to branch out a little. But with intra- band tensions reaching a fever point (Ritchie had a bit of a reputation for not getting along with his vocalists, a theme that would pop up through the rest of his career), this wasn't exactly the best time to try and go out on a limb. Especially when that limb ended up costing the band most of what made it stand out from everybody else in the first place.

In all fairness, though, I really like the album's most famous song, the hit "Woman from Tokyo." Ok, so it's basically mid-tempo generic heavy pop rock, which can understandably drive many people away from it (honestly, I remembered it as not so good until I started listening to this album in earnest for reviewing purposes). But dang it, the riff is nice, the hooks are well-established, Gillan gets in some delightfully dorky "OW!!" screams in the verses, the mid-section is lovely, the coda is fun ... It's a bit disappointing as an opener to a DP album, since it doesn't blaze like we've come to expect from DP openers, but as a song unto itself, it's quite a nice little ditty.

Unfortunately, there's the rest of the album to deal with, which I find extremely disappointing. The thing that bugs me the most when listening to a lot of these songs is that I can tell that this is a band that is instinctively comfortable with making heavy music, yet it almost seems as if, once they'd sense that a song was veering in that direction, that they'd intentionally try to shift the mode away from ass-kicking and into poppier modes. Only problem is, the attempts to put poppier aspects in the songs just aren't that good - the lukewarm "rocking out" is compounded by the lukewarm hooks, and the result just seems incredibly lifeless and mediocre to me. It also doesn't help that some of the "rock out" attempts use older classics as crib notes - "Super Trouper" is based off of "Bloodsucker" (before aborting the riffage and turning into some sort of stupid poppy psychedelic thing), and "Smooth Dancer" reminds me just a little bit too much of Speed King for my comfort.

Of the other four tracks, "Rat Bat Blue" is undoubtedly the best, as it boasts a ferocious funky riff (over which Ian throws some stupid singing) that eventually gives way to a great organ jam. Alas, "Mary Long" tries to rock but doesn't (and has stupid lyrics to boot), "Place in Line" is a lazy attempt at a blues jam, and the closing "Our Lady" goes in one of my ears and out the other, leaving no trace of its attempt at majesty or whatever.

In short, mediocrity abounds. Glover and Gillan left in disgust (or did Ritchie push them out? Ah, the mysteries of life), and thus ended Mk. 2. So sad that such a great band went out on such a non-great note.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I really can`t see why this album is not liked by some people. Taking into consideration the hard time the band was having during the recording of this album, i really expected worst things from this album. Before this album was recorded, Ian Gillan wanted to leave the band, but was persuaded to not do it. There were some pressures from the management. Gillan said in interviews that the band needed a rest, but that the management wanted a new album and more touring. So, Gillan stayed with the band for more time. But he and Ritchie Blackmore were not talking to each other, and Roger Glover said that this situation even caused more problems during the recording of the album. So, despite all these problems, this album is still very good, in my opinion. Maybe some of the lyrics are not very good...but the music in general is very good. But in general the album sounds like it was done with the intention to give to the fans a good quality album in performances and production. In fact, the recording is very good.

"Woman from Tokyo" is maybe the most known song from this album. It maybe lacks some power and some creativity in the "quiet" instrumental section, but it is good anyway. "Mary Long" has good music maybe inspired a bit by Blues music but maybe the lyrics are a bit offensive. "Super Trooper" and "Smooth Dancer" are good Hard Rock songs. "Rat Bat Blue" is one of the best songs from this album. "Place in Line" is a song influenced by Blues, with Gillan even "imitating" some Blues singers, and this song has very good keyboards solos by Jon Lord. "Our Lady" is maybe the best song in this album, another Hard Rock song to finish it in a good level.

After this album was released there was more touring fot the band until June 1973. After that, Gillan finally left the band. And Blackmore also wanted Glover out of the Glover also left the band.

The band sounds tired. Even Gillan`s voice sounds tired. But they had to work. So, I think that it was not their fault if this album was not very good for some fans. I think that it is a very good album, maybe better than the next three final studio albums that the band recorded without Gillan and Glover ("Burn", "Stormbringer", and "Come Taste The Band", this last album with Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore) before they split in 1976.

This line-up of the band (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) played and recorded together again since 1984 until 1989, when again some problems between Blackmore and Gillan led to Gillan to leave the band again and to to be replaced by Joe Lynn Turner. But Gillan returned for another album ("The Battle Rages On", 1993) before Blackmore finally left the band again in late 1993, in not very good terms.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars DEEP PURPLE was always a strange act. A rather random cast of characters starting as a pool of talent arranged in a similar way to pop acts like The Monkees, somehow found its own soul as one member after another built upon what came before and finally beginning with their 1970 landmark album "In Rock", the band had hit upon the perfect chemistry. This was the period that has been designated the Mark II era of the band's long and changing career and was the time when Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Jon Lord (keys, piano, organ), Roger Glover (bass) and Ian Paice (drums and percussion) were one of the most successful bands alongside Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in the nascent world of hard rock and early heavy metal. The band sold albums by the millions and couldn't book enough shows to fill the demand of their dynamic live performances. Their success was the envy of musicians far and wide and one of those rare acts that seemed to appeal to all whether they preferred hard rock, prog, soul, jazz or classical. This band simply had a universal charm.

And then there was the negative side of the equation. After the success of their multi-platinum release "Machine Head," DEEP PURPLE became living legends and toured like there was no tomorrow under the management's brutal dictatorship and constant pressure to perform. All was not well with the PURPLE ones after the whirlwind tours across the world had finally come to an end. Exhausted were they and that is exactly when the pressure reared its ugly head. Instead of the sensible idea of allowing the band to recuperate from their enervating and demanding live performances, the record company and all the money grubbing whores who profited dearly from the band's phenomenal success instead pulled out their slave driving whips and put the band immediately back in the recording studio to pump out a followup album which resulted in the very frowned upon WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE which to this day still divides hardcore fans like the DMZ between the Koreas.

As the tale goes, the infighting between management and members resulted in major schisms that led to Ian Gillan jumping ship only a few months after WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE was released. Citing fatigue as the main culprit which led to all the other issues at hand, the band carried on the best that they could although agreeing on tracks to include on the album was one of the major points of contention. The rather short album consists of a mere seven tracks and includes one of the band's most famous tracks "Woman From Tokyo" which narrated the famous Japanese tour that also yielded one of the most celebrated live album recordings of the entire rock era with their hugely popular "Made In Japan." After that famous single, what we mostly get is another six musical compositions that have sort of fell to the bottom ranks within the greater DEEP PURPLE canon, and that is indeed a true shame because i happen to be one of those who actually loves this album although i will readily concur that WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE is indeed one of the weakest releases within the Mark II lineup.

Often cited as nothing more than a series of disconcerting efforts and passionless pits of uninspired drudgery that showed the band playing their older material by the numbers, i see this album from a different point of view. True that this without doubt could have been a better album given all the vital circumstances needed to create a "Machine Head 2," however even taking the album for what it is, this is one excellent album filled with classic PURPLE material. For one, i don't want a sequel of a previous masterpiece but rather a new set of tunes that take a bold new approach to the sound laid out from what came before. WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE does just that with heavy guitar riff oriented bluesy rock in tandem with the excellent keyboard accompaniments and yet more strong vocal performances from Gillan. There is no slacking off here that i can detect.

After the initial "Woman From Tokyo" the tracks continue with an interesting array of heavy rock that is more blues oriented than on their previous albums but not too far off the cuff of other Mark II albums when all is said and done. "Mary Long" is an exception listed below (me no likey) and while "Super Trouper" doesn't jump into the typical heavy DEEP PURPLE rocker, it does however have a unique fragility to it with a very catchy melody and smooth instrumental interplay that is more sophisticated than the average DP track. "Smooth Dancer" is an absolute gem with a heavy emphasis on a nice guitar riff (reminds me of what "Nobody's Home" would sound like on the future "Perfect Strangers) with excellent keyboard interplay in the form of a rather honky tonk sounding piano run. The melody creates one of my absolute favorite DP tracks of their career. The keyboard solo is also quite adventurous as Lord is a relentless madman.

Next up: the phenomenal "Rat Bat Blue." This is yet another masterpiece of music in the band's long career with a heavy blues riff that adds some interesting progressive rock time signature workouts at key moments (albeit brief). Honestly it sounds a tad like "Rock 'n' Roll Hoochie Koo" by Rick Derringer only without the lame cheesiness and elevated to a higher arts position. Brilliant grooves, excellent vocal interplay and one of Jon Lord's most treasured sizzling keyboard performances in his entire career that makes Keith Emerson look like nothing more than a piano student who wants his mommy. "Place In Line" takes the pure blues route that sounds more like a John Lee Hooker track than the DEEP PURPLE the world had come to know, however despite this sidetrack into a sorta "Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues" that sounds a tad Janis Joplin, this track finds resolution as it ratchets up heaviness. A major faux pas for some but for me this merely finds a band paying tribute to a style of music that inspired the members all the while adding their own voice. I find it quite satisfying myself. Last up: "Our Lady." Spacey organ intro is followed by a semi-ballad that maintains a thick organ presence and sounds a bit like a 60s psychedelic band of some sort. Not one of the best tracks of the album and definitely not a wise ending choice but i find this one to have a nice groove and beautifully intricate melody as well.

Here are a few reasons i can detect as to why this album has received such a bad rap. 1) Reputation. Yeah, this album has gotten trashed by everyone over the years to the point that someone who had never listened to this album would assume that the band was trying to record covers of The Partridge Family or something. 2) The album cover and title are admittedly awful and give the impression that all the stale and soulless tunes that have been purported to exist surely must be as such since the cover is about as inspired as a adipose laden ass sitting on a plexiglass coffee table. 3) There are some bad moments on this one although not nearly as bad as one would expect. Unfortunately one of these musical faux pas' s comes as the second track "Mary Long" which is a rather insipid tale doubt a girl losing her virginity and even hosts a major no-no of stealing the riff from Clapton's "I Shot The Sheriff" for certain parts of the track. 4) This is different than "Machine Head" and has a completely different energy. Riffs are varied, solos (both guitar and organ) are more varied. Everything is more eclectic and more ideas are strewn about which makes some people feel uncomfortable i guess, especially when the relativity factor is part of the equation (that being it followed the brilliant consistency of its predecessor.)

A perfect album this ain't. There are so many ways this could've been a better album but i personally love this one a lot and find it a testament to the fortitude of a great band at their absolute worst that is still able to crank out excellent music despite wanting to pull out a semi-automatic rifle and blow everyone else around them away. While i would never tout this album as the pinnacle of the band's career in any way, shape or form, i do find this to be woefully underrated, under-appreciated and misunderstood. While i will probably never convince anyone to the contrary, i cannot find the horrible aspects of this album that i have read about forever. This is an excellent album that only could've been much better with some rearranging of tracks and a few more months of recovery after a lengthy tour. However, as fate would have it, the band would splinter, Gillan would exit stage right and David Coverdale would usher in the Mark III phase. True that we cannot change history but we can alter our misguided perceptions of a great album that's been deemed inferior for too long.

Four stars because the strengths are so much greater than the weaknesses.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars the time 1973 rolled around, Deep Purple was exhausted after constant touring and the tensions in the band were making things very difficult for the band to work together. The Mark II line-up still made up the band and was continuing to be very successful despite all of the tensions. This was true all through the recording sessions of their 7th studio album. The band couldn't work together, so studio time was split up on an individual basis. They were also having a hard time agreeing on what songs should go on the next album 'Who Do We Think We Are'. Rumors were that Gillan and Blackmore were not getting along, but the band blames the countless hours that they were pushed to continue pumping out albums for the corporate labels. After their extensive touring, they were pushed into the studio to make this album. However, even with all the tension in the band and the fact that the critics didn't like the album much, it still was one of the band's biggest selling albums.

It starts off with their hit single 'Woman from Tokyo', and this starts thing off very promisingly with one of my favorite introductions from the band and the excellent contributions from everyone involved from Gillan's dynamic vocals, Lord's excellent organ and piano work and the driving guitar riff and passages. It's interesting that the single version of the song leaves out the psychedelic section in the middle of the track. 'Mary Long' is not quite as interesting a song, a little more of a less interesting hook and instrumental backup, and sort of a less engaging vocal, even though the lyrical content was pertinent with a chastisement at the hypocrital moralities of the older generation of the time. The chorus is much less interesting, though it is effectively damning. The tracks continue to stay around the 3-4 minute duration for a while, with the uninteresting 'Super Trooper' that even the psychedelic effects added to the vocals in the chorus can't save this one. In fact, it takes the steam right out of the song. 'Smooth Dancer' finishes off the first side (What? Already?). This one is definitely more solid, but it's also lacking anything original or interesting. It's okay, but nothing special, except for the instrumental break which is too short, but has also been done before, but much better.

The 2nd side has the longer tracks on it, but even then they are still between 5 ' 7 minutes and only has 3 tracks. I can imagine a big complaint here would have been the short duration of the album. The movement from the psychedelic sound to a more blues-rock sound is quite apparent on this side, though the songs are a bit better with a little more jamming and a great vocal by Gillan on 'Place in Line' where he sings in an atypical lower register on the verses. It's a pretty great change up, and probably the best track on the album, especially when the tempo picks up towards the middle to more of a peppy boogie/swing beat and a nice fusion sounding guitar (and later organ) solo. 'Rat Bat Blue' is also pretty good, but is mostly saved because of the instrumental section which at least is a little big longer than the ones on the first side. 'Our Lady' ends the album with a rather mediocre track unfortunately.

The 2000 remastered edition adds seven bonus tracks that help to lengthen the duration of the album. It starts with the '99 Remix of 'Woman from Tokyo' which gives it a brighter tone and certain things stand out a bit more, with a longer jam session at the end. Then there is an alternate bridge section (only that section) from 'Woman from Tokyo', just the part that slows down with a more ambient style. This is followed by an out-take that was not used on the album called 'Painted Horse'. This is an okay track that probably would have been a better choice for a closer than the 'Our Lady' track. It features some harmonica use and a great guitar solo. There is a '99 remix of 'Our Lady' that adds another minute to the original, but still doesn't do much to make the track much better. There is a short clip from the writing session of 'Rat Bat Blue' followed by the '99 remix of that song with that brighter sound that makes the individual instruments stand out better. This all accumulates to the long, 11 minute 'First Day Jam' that helped to generate a lot of the ideas for the final album, and actually shows the band working together (which was a rare occurrence at this time). The only member missing was Roger Glover who was apparently stuck in traffic. Blackmore plays the bass for this session. It's nice to hear the band actually work together here. This, along with the outtake song, are the main reasons to search out this remastered version.

After the release of this album, it would seem that the Mark II version of the band was finished. Ian Gillan would leave the band right after the release to try for a solo career. Bassist Roger Glover would also leave the band at this point. Yes, replacements were made, yet it would be difficult to match the excitement of the Mark II lineup. Eventually, however, this lineup would return for the comeback album 'Perfect Strangers'. As for this album, though, it just isn't the band's best, and, understanding the turmoil in the band, it is easy to see why. It's still better than some other albums that strove for a more commercial or 'time-appropriate' sound, but they have definitely done better too. It's a good, average album, so 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Unpopular opinion, but this one is the most underrated DP album. That's why I believe so, track-by-track: Woman From Tokyo: Pop rocker of the highest class, still beloved around the world. Due to it's pop nature, shortened versions of it make the "mainstream" radio playlists sometimes, making ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378711) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 7/10 Who I think is to give this album 4 stars? With Machine Head I followed the general opinion and agreed that it was a masterpiece with Who Do We Think We Are I'm going against the tide. Ok, this is the weakest of efforts of Mark II, but I think if you liked the previous albums will lik ... (read more)

Report this review (#877809) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is hugely underrated. This is actually one of my favourite Purple albums, because it's little different than the "standard classic" ones that's been overplayed for some time now. The album's got great drumming, vocals & power, and some of the songs are more proggy than usual. Relat ... (read more)

Report this review (#459105) | Posted by Moonstone | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am not in the mainstream here, because I like this album a lot ! it is not as good as In Rock or Machine Head, but is far better than Fireball. Woman From Tokyo, which opens the album, is the first not so fast track to open a Purple album if you compare it with Speed King, Fireball and Hig ... (read more)

Report this review (#435738) | Posted by HarryTon | Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Yes, who do you think you are ? Deep Purple, Mark II was disintegrating at this time. Ritchie has later admitted that he kept his best material away from this album. Thank you, that explains a lot. This albums opens with the rather good Woman From Tokyo. It continues with Mary Long, a rat ... (read more)

Report this review (#293673) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, August 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I bought this album on the strength of their "Machine Head" success. My first impression of the music after I listened to the album was that it wasn't very good. The only song to really grab me at all was "Rat Bat Blue." It was and still is a very good tune. I wasn't that all impresse ... (read more)

Report this review (#255617) | Posted by Keetian | Friday, December 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After three of the most stunning hard rock albums ever made,Deep Purple finally left apparent their self-destroying,almost sick(if we're to believe in 1/10 of what the band has related in interviews so far)work obsession ,which led to an unbearable tension inside the group. Who Do We Think We A ... (read more)

Report this review (#209454) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars With no surprise, the last Purple album of the MKII era is one of their weakest. No classic here (excpet, maybe, Woman From Tokyo). This isn't a bad release, but an uninteresting one, which is worse. Ian Gillan's voice is as clear as on In Rock, Machine Head or Fireball, but the power of In Rock ... (read more)

Report this review (#164750) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album requires many spins and close listening to overcome the initial dislike - but it's worth it! People obviously expected some more hard stuff as on In Rock, Machine Head, and Made in Japan. What they got was something like a sequel to Fireball. If you think of Led Zeppelin's Houses of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#163108) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Monday, March 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Although not as strong as the proceding, legendary album Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are is a decent follow-up. The album is more similar to Fireball than Machine Head, not only by the variety in the songs, but with many of the song being about women (Woman From Tokyo, Mary Long, Smooth ... (read more)

Report this review (#77975) | Posted by | Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I agree that this album is not among Purple's best but nevertheless it's a much underrated one. Perhaps the lack of long instrumental passages (only 'Rat Bat Blue' and 'Place in Line" contain long organ-soli) is responsible for the rather weak reputation but the song-writing is still great. Li ... (read more)

Report this review (#62274) | Posted by ekaton | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Unlike follow ups by other groups to their 'magnum opus', which are often very disappointing (by comparison), e.g., Pink Floyds 'Shine on you Crazy Diamond' (versus 'Dark Side of the Moon'), this follow up to Deep Purples essential 'Machine Head' is actually very good.' My woman from Tokyo' is ... (read more)

Report this review (#53826) | Posted by | Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of DEEP PURPLE "Who Do We Think We Are"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.