Thursday, July 9, 2009

My body is shaking, anticipating, the call of the black footed crow...

Still sick and still listening to those albums I wrote about in the last post in case you're wondering. When I went to my collection to suss out if I had any other tortured genius albums I noticed that I own way too many Deep Purple albums. Maybe I should do a cull...

Here's my list to choose from (and apologies right now if you're a DP completist pish-poshing the lack of Shades of Deep Purple etc - I just said I had a lot of their albums - not every one):

Fireball (CD)
Deep Purple In Rock (CD)
Machine Head (vinyl/CD)
Deep Purple Singles A's and B's (vinyl)
Made in Japan (vinyl/CD)
Deep Purple In Concert (vinyl)
Who Do We Think We Are? (CD)
Burn (CD)
Stormbringer (CD)
Made in Europe (vinyl/CD)
California Jamming - Live 1974 (CD)
Come Taste The Band (CD)
Knebworth '85 (CD)
Purpendicular (CD)
Abandon (CD)
Perfect Strangers (CD)
Live At The Olympia '96 (CD)
The House Of Blue Light (CD)
Deep Purple (CD)
Bananas (CD)
Live At Montreaux 2006 (CD)

My top 5 from this lot are pictured throughout this post. The picture is of my favourite Mark II Purple line up.

The love affair began with In Rock and the cover of Fireball. 1971, my first year at Mt Albert Grammar School, and, man - am I naive. I have no idea that Black Sabbath's Sweetleaf is actually a love song to cannabis. I have no idea The Who's Pictures of Lily is about masturbation. I have no idea period. Drug and sex references woosh over my head and will do for the next few years of teenage boy fog until I get to University and see phallic symbols everywhere. Who knew? Well not me, not then. I do remember seeing the Fireball cover in a Woolworths' record rack. It looked cool and made an impression - all that hair! But it wasn't until I took a punt on In Rock from the RCA Record Club monthly catalogue that I discovered the raging rock behemoth that was mark II Purple. Machine Head and Made in Japan followed - the vinyl copies becoming prized possessions.

So - what is non-essential in my list?

Clearly the albums fall into the distinct Mark I, II, III... groups. The Deep Purple double is an oddball collection containing a recent live reworking of their Concerto for Group and Orchestra on one CD and career spanning songs on the other. It's not essential but it only cost me $2 (it's on a budget Dutch company imprint) and it's decent enough. With the singles collection, it's the only other link to Mark I Purple that I own so I'll hang onto those. It's not my favourite period as you can see.

Mark II however, now that's a different story. Classic Purple obviously with Ritchie Blackmore as rock guitar god defining this period. Ian Gillan's best period for vocals and the dynamic rhythm section of Paice and Glover also at their best. Clearly it's all essential? Well, a qualified 'yes' - except for the '85 Knebworth reunion artifact (bizarrely subtitled 'In the absence of pink') that is pretty shambolic with Jon Lord the worst offender and Gillan's stoopid between song banter grating immediately. Lord was clearly having a off day with some of the worst keyboard sounds to be found anywhere. This one may have to go! Perfect Strangers, however is the reunion album and is my top 5 so I can't let that one go - even though it's not up to the peaks of their 70's output.

Mark III is the Coverdale/Hughes period which is also absolutely essential. Made in Europe is no Made in Japan but it's great in its own way. Coverdale's Mistreated vocal is awesome.

Mark IV (with Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore) is the shortest lived period but also essential. I like the change to a funkier sound, but it's not really Purple as we know them.

Mark V (with Steve Morse) has been at it a while now and even though Ian Paice is the only original member left in the band from 1968, they are still unmistakeably Deep Purple and Steve Morse, while not a god, is a fantastic guitarist. But essential? Well, no - to be honest. But there is enough hard rock bravado going on for me to hesitate parting with any. If pushed I'd abandon Abandon but it has some good moments - just a little samey is all. Bananas is surprisingly good, despite the weird cover, and almost made my top 5.

If you only have time and money for one - Machine Head is king!

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