From meagre and humble beginnings, this is where it all started for British hard rock legends Deep Purple.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: Deep Purple
LABEL: Harvest (UK), Tetragrammaton (USA)
SERIAL: SHVL 759, T-119
CD REISSUE: 1989, EMI (UK), CDP 7 92409 2 * 2008, Victor (Japan), VICP-64304
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Richie Blackmore – guitar * Jon Lord – keyboards, backing vocals * Rod Evans – lead vocals * Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals * Ian Paice – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Chasing Shadows * 02 Blind * 03 Lalena * 04 Fault Line * 05 The Painter * 06 Why Didn’t Rosemary * 07 Bird Has Flown * 08 April
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The last and arguably best of three Rod Evans fronted Deep Purple albums. It’s bewildering why British audiences turned their backs on this version of the band, who found greater success in the States. The sounds and smells of Carnaby Street dotted the first album and so did the cover tunes with the ornate ‘Book Of Taliesyn’ offering up more of the same baroque Vanilla Fudge-isms, but none of it landed on English ears.
Could be Evans’ vocals were just a little too much in the crooner camp which didn’t go un-noticed by Lord and Blackmore. They were already on the hunt for his replacement while this album languished on American store shelves due to a record company in serious need of a cash injection.
Sporting the classic but creepy Hieronymus Bosch painting ‘The Garden Of Earthy Delights’, this album offers up some serious proto prog and hints of what would come the following year with the mighty ‘In Rock’. Chasing Shadows’ opens the record and Rod Evans detached vocals sound like he’s coming off a bad trip. The classically trained Jon Lord rips it up here and even throws in some baroque harpsichord on the Gothic ‘Blind’.
Their cover of Donovan‘s ‘Lalena’ is superb, but the rest of the album is all Deep Purple culminating in the prog rock tour-de-force ‘April’. Clocking in at twelve minutes and including a string quartet, it’s one of the band’s finest efforts and had it been released on the Vertigo swirl label, collectors would be touting it as a masterpiece.
With Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper pushed out, the way was paved clear for the classic Deep Purple line-up and world domination. Evans would go on to form Captain Beyond releasing a classic debut and the not-so-great ‘Sufficiently Breathless’ before calling it a day while Nick Simper put together Warhorse with mixed results.
‘Deep Purple’ won’t overshadow ‘In Rock’ or ‘Machine Head’ in your collections, but it’s worth owning not only from a historical perspective, but it makes for a fun listen every once in a while as well.
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Rod Evans also formed a DP cover band called the Bogus Deep Purple. He got into a lot of trouble over that, in fact his royalties were stopped.