The best of the Mk 1 lineup's 3 LPs
William M. Feagin | Salem, MA | 03/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here, the first lineup of Deep Purple found the footing that, interestingly enough, would be the Mk 2 lineup's stock in trade. Even so, the approach here was still eclectic, as one can tell from the opening strains of "Chasing Shadows," wherein Paicey proves himself one of rock's best drummers (and to this day, still one of the most underrated) with what sounds like about 20 tracks' worth of African percussion. My only complaint with this track is the abrupt ending, as if the engineer ran out of tape while the band were still going strong but didn't catch it until after. "Bird Has Flown" still has some of the Hendrixian influence that was apparent on Shades of...; it reminds me a bit of Jimi's "Stone Free" (which is not necessarily a bad thing; both tracks have a great hook that doesn't let you go until the fadeout).
Of the bonus tracks on this expanded edition, "Emmaretta" is my favourite; this one could have been done with the Mk 2 lineup, although Ian Gillan's vocals would lend a different dynamic to the band's sound. "April" should take its place as one of the best examples of early progressive rock ever committed to vinyl.
For those wishing to explore Deep Purple, I recommend starting with the Mk 2 albums, most especially Machine Head, then first working backward, to get a sense of what came before, and maybe after that working forward to the Mk 3 (with David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes taking over for Gillan and Glover, respectively) and Mk 4 (Tommy Bolin replacing Ritchie Blackmore) lineups. If you're a casual fan, probably better to just go with the 2000 compilation Very Best of Deep Purple, as it does the best capsule version of Purple's best-known material. But with Purple Passages long since deleted, there is no better way to experience Purple Mk 1 other than diving headfirst into Shades, Taliesyn, and the eponymous 3rd LP."
The Motherload of Progressive Rock Roots
Zeek the Geek | LA, CA | 05/15/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have found yourself at this level, looking at obscure groups from the late sixties, and arrived at Deep Purple, you have discovered the motherload of Progressive Rock roots. If you are looking for more "Smoke on the Water" and Machine Head material, you won't find it here, that stuff is childish by comparison with this material. There is no better example of very early Prog Rock than Deep Purple 1968-1970.
They had reached the peak of their collective creative powers by the time they arrived at this their third album. With all but one original composition (Donovan!), this album combines moody organ and harpsichord foundation, acid guitar, polished vocals, and classical string arrangements to create a truly spooky atmosphere matched only by the bizarre and justly famous cover painting by Hieronymus Bosch.
Don't be mislead by what you think you know about Deep Purple. Although they saw their commercial success only from subsequent releases, the earlier years of 1968-1970 were when they were the most creative and innovative . Their work from this period includes the very ambitious classical/rock compositions by Jon Lord; Concerto for Group & Orchestra and Gemini Suite. Approach these with an open mind, and you won't be disappointed.
Still interested? Check out their firt two albums, The Book of Taliesyn and Shades of Deep Purple. "Shades" includes their early hit Hush, and "Book" their second hit, Kentucky Woman (Neil Diamond composer). Those may be the 'hits', but the original compositions on those two albums are the real gems.
Chasing Purple's Past
The Punisher | 07/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chasing Shadows brings chills down my spine every time I hear it. Paice just is one of rock's greatest drummers. This,being the last of Mk I Deep Purple is nothing short of genius. Here we have the pioneers of hard rock infusing a totally classical piece: April and still keeping the greatness and tightness of a hard rock band intact. Tell me,who else did that who was not labeled genius: The Who, Moody Blues,King Crimson, The Beatles.In this category Deep Purple's 3rd accomplishment is placed: avant garde,progressive and cutting edge even for their contemporaries.
As I have written in other reviews,this lineup has too often been ignored by rock critics and fans as the heart of Deep Purple.This was what started the ball rolling on the same time Crimson and Zeppelin were beginning.This release was not a genre copy,it was a standard to be put,an example for bands to come to follow.Lsten with pen ears as the echoes take you back to a time where liberty to create was held high.Deep Purple proves here who has been the true masters of hard rock as we knew it,know it,and will hopefully know it always."