Released: 1968, Eagle Rock
I don’t know what I could say about Deep Purple that hasn’t already been said. There have entire books written about the band by fans and journalist much more knowledgeable than I. I’m sure there are hundreds of reviews of Deep Purple albums that already exist in-print and on-line. However in the spirit of giving the venerable act more representation on our site and in celebration of the bands pending 45th anniversary, I’m going to review the MK I era albums. Feel free to check out the other two reviews in this series and you may recognize some similarities in this trio of ‘public service’ style reviews. I say ‘public service’ because these reviews are more to let people know about this fine reissue campaign rather than a noble attempt to add something worthy to the already massive canon of literary works dedicated to the band.
Eagle Rock has just reissued the first three Deep Purple albums, SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE (’68), THE BOOK OF TALIESYN (’68) and DEEP PURPLE (’69) each with rare and unreleased bonus tracks. The albums themselves are not rare, in fact I don’t think they have ever been out of print. Hell, I recently saw a new, sealed copy of THE BOOK OF TALIESYN on cassette in the bargain bin of a major retailer…for $1.00! I’m not an expert but these are among the better reissues in recent memory. Each CD comes with liner notes, bonus tracks and a cool reversible cover with a replication of the original cover art for the purist.
The bands second album seems to be a bit darker and heavier by a mild margin. With Evans’ echo-laden narration about courts and kings the opening cut about the book of Taliesyn, called’ Listen, Learn, Read On’, is easily a precursor and inspiration for many such concept songs and albums about days of yore. ‘Wring That Neck’ is probably the heaviest thing they had committed to vinyl to that point. Again cover tunes are over the place as are the spacey-jams. Blackmore shows us his early inclination to mix symphonic with guitar in the song, ‘Anthem’.
The packaging is gorgeous, lots of pictures, a nice essay, great sound, lots of technical release data and the bonus tracks are various live, demos, outtakes and stuff pulled from TV or BBC sessions. All great material for the enthusiast especially with five unreleased tunes!
Who would I recommend this album too? Just about everyone! If you are not versed in the band this is a great way to start your exploration of the bands utterly massive discography. The only people who may want to pass are the fans who already own the album on vinyl, cassette, CD and don’t really care about a couple of obscure bonus tracks from 40 years ago. Otherwise this is an essential purchase for the die-hard Deep Purple fan who has to have everything.