December 08, 2009
Purple Records Ltd.
Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Arena Rock, British Metal

Album Review

The restarted Purple Records, the official reissue label for all things associated with Deep Purple, celebrated its tenth anniversary by issuing its first-ever live compilation. This double-disc set released in late 2009 contains performances from 1968 through 1976, when the band officially called it a day for the first time. This means, of course, that along with Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and vocalist Ian Gillian, we get axe god Tommy Bolin and a young David Coverdale as well! This set was compiled for the purpose of attracting more general fans rather than merely collectors -- though who else would be interested in two CDs of vintage DP? -- so there isn’t any unreleased material on it. That said, what is here is completely righteous, even if the sound quality -- based on the original source tape -- is a little dodgy from time to time. Disc one kicks off with a live version of “Hush” from 1968 that, despite its rather thin sound, is a monster of a performance. But that song, despite its smash worldwide success, wasn’t the extent of DP’s fascination with American R&B. Check out the nine-plus-minute “River Deep Mountain High,” complete with a 2001: A Space Odyssey-themed intro by Jon Lord. It turns into a full-blown rock jam from the beginning and showcases how heavy DP’s sound was right from the jump. “Wring That Neck,” from 1970, includes bits of “Lazy,” “Three Blind Mice,” “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “White Christmas,” and “Jingle Bells” in its 20-minute sprawl. Disc two kicks off with a gorgeous version of “Child in Time,” recorded during a television appearance in Granada. It also includes a smokin’ reading of “Lazy,” for over ten minutes, and versions of “Burn” and “Mistreated” from a gig in San Diego in 1974 with Bolin and Coverdale. “Lady Double Dealer” showcases Coverdale at his early live best and Bolin is just plain scary in his technical facility that sacrifices nothing in the rock department. Ultimately, this is a solid compilation that is thoroughly enjoyable from top to bottom if you ever liked Deep Purple, despite the fact that “Space Truckin’” and “Smoke on the Water” are not included -- we say hallelujah! While all instruments and voices can be heard without straining at all, the sheer raw presentation of the material here makes it more, not less, attractive for the listener.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Hush
  2. River Deep Mountain High
  3. Hey Joe
  4. Wring That Neck
  5. Into The Fire
  6. Mandrake Root
  7. Child In Time
  8. Lazy
  9. Strange Kind of Woman
  10. Burn
  11. Mistreated
  12. The Gypsy
  13. Lady Double Dealer
  14. Wild Dogs
  15. Love Child