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Deep Purple - Deep Purple CD (album) cover

DEEP PURPLE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.61 | 626 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Transitional

Deep Purple's eponymous album was in fact their third, and the final part of the Mark 1 trilogy. The growing confidence of the band is reflected in the almost complete exclusion of cover versions, the sole exception being the relatively obscure Donovan song "Lalena". Within the band, the writing credits are reasonably well spread, with Jon Lord having a hand in all the other songs, and Ritchie Blackmore in five of the eight tracks. The songs themselves are generally kept shorter and tighter than on the first two albums, the 12 minute closing suite "April" being the only song to last substantially beyond 5 minutes.

The opening "Chasing shadows" has early hints of the direction Blackmore and Lord wished to take the band in, the basic rhythm being vaguely reminiscent of "Black night". Blackmore's wah wah guitar solo, the echoed vocals and the driving Hammond organ are all reminiscent of the sound of the fledgling Uriah Heep who appeared around the same time. "The painter", preceded by the experimental "Fault line" is similarly heavy, displaying Blackmore's growing confidence as a virtuoso rock guitarist.

There are a couple of more ordinary and now dated sounding songs such as "Blind", which is a dull harpsichord backed pop ballad. Likewise, "Why didn't Rosemary" is an average plodder saved only by Blackmore's fine intervention. "Lalena", the Donovan cover, is a delicate ballad in the "Come away Melinda" mould, which affords Rod Evans the chance to add one of his best vocal performances. The song is a straightforward crooner, but it is a fine one nonetheless.

The final track "April", is an adventurous, largely instrumental piece featuring an orchestral arrangement, vocalising and some fine instrumental work. It is quite unlike the rest of the album, and indeed anything else the band have recorded with the possible exception of Lord's "Concerto" and the stillborn "Gemini suite".

It is significant that the album was released in the USA over six months before its appearance in the band's UK homeland. By this time, Deep Purple were making good progress in the States while still virtually ignored at home. That said, the album sold in poorer numbers than its predecessors. Significant changes were required in personnel and direction, and these would being to be emphatically addressed before the album had even been released.

The remastered version of the CD includes 5 bonus tracks. Two of these ("Lalena" and "The Painter") are alternative versions of tracks on the album, recorded during a BBC session. The third is a single version of "Bird has flown" which preceded that which made it onto the album. The two remaining tracks are different versions of "Emmaretta" which was a non album single B side (of "Bird has flown", the songs were reversed for the US version of the single).

The sleeve illustration is taken from a painting called "The Garden of Earthly Delights" which is owned by the Vatican. The original painting is actually in colour, the use of black and white on the album being the result of a printing accident.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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