01. Chasing Shadows
04. Fault Line
05. The Painter
06. Why Didn't Rosemary?
07. Bird Has Flown
09. Emmaretta (2012 Stereo Mix) 3:25
10. The Bird Has Flown (Early Version, 2012 Stereo Mix) 3:06
11. Why Didn’t Rosemary? (Early Instrumental Take) 4:53
12. Blind (2003 Remix) 5:32
13. Lalena (Instrumental) 5:11
14. April Part 1 (Single B-side) 3:59
15. Emmaretta (Original Single A-side) 3:00
16. The Bird Has Flown (Original US Single B-side) 2:52
Ritchie Blackmore • lead guitar
Rod Evans • vocals
Jon Lord • organ, string/woodwind, arrangement
Ian Paice • drums, percussion
Nick Simper • bass guitar, backing vocals
Album recorded January to March 1969 at De Lane Lea Studios, London, UK.
Admittedly, the music here lacks a certain immediate impact, and not all the songs are winners. But there is plenty of evidence of real musicianship and original thought, especially on the "April " suite, which is scored for strings. There's also a pleasing version of Donovan's "Lalena." The group is strong in all sections, but Jon Lord on keyboards and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar are particularly effective without being flashy." (UK music paper, 1969)
This is a record that even those who aren't Deep Purple fans can listen to two or three times in one sitting -- but then, this wasn't much like any other album that the group ever issued. Actually, Deep Purple was highly prized for many years by fans of progressive rock, and for good reason. The group was going through a transition -- original lead singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper would be voted out of the lineup soon after the album was finished (although they weren't told about it until three months later), organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore having perceived limitations in their work in terms of where each wanted to take the band. And between Lord's ever-greater ambitions toward fusing classical and rock and Blackmore's ever-bolder guitar attack, both of which began to coalesce with the session for Deep Purple in early 1969, the group managed to create an LP that combined heavy metal's early, raw excitement, intensity, and boldness with progressive rock's complexity and intellectual scope, and virtuosity on both levels. On "The Painter," "Why Didn't Rosemary?," and, especially, "Bird Has Flown," they strike a spellbinding balance between all of those elements, and Evans' work on the latter is one of the landmark vocal performances in progressive rock. "April," a three-part suite with orchestral accompaniment, is overall a match for such similar efforts by the Nice as the "Five Bridges Suite," and gets extra points for crediting its audience with the patience for a relatively long, moody developmental section and for including a serious orchestral interlude that does more than feature a pretty tune, exploiting the timbre of various instruments as well as the characteristics of the full ensemble. Additionally, the band turns in a very successful stripped-down, hard rock version of Donovan's "Lalena," with an organ break that shows Lord's debt to modern jazz as well as classical training. In all, amid all of those elements -- the orchestral accompaniment, harpsichord embellishments, and backward organ and drum tracks -- Deep Purple holds together astonishingly well as a great body of music. This is one of the most bracing progressive rock albums ever, and a successful vision of a musical path that the group might have taken but didn't. Ironically, the group's American label, Tetragrammaton Records, which was rapidly approaching bankruptcy, released this album a lot sooner than EMI did in England, but ran into trouble over the use of the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" on the cover; although it has been on display at the Vatican, the work was wrongly perceived as containing profane images and never stocked as widely in stores as it might've been.
Starting with the great Chasing Shadows (a fave of mine) with Ian Paice showing us a few tricks notably a cow bell and the calm and moody Blind with spine-tingling harpsichord, the album comes to a beautyful stop with the superb rendition of Donovan's Lalena. A bit lenghty , but does Evans have a great voice! Then comes a real treat with Fault Line and its reverse drums recording as a prelude to the explosive The Painter, Purple shows us some real gifts in moody and climatic music.
Why Didn't Rosemary is certainly the kind of track Blackmore was really pushing for as he was becoming a bit restless and felt it was time for changes (to come soon). Bird Has Flown is probably the weakest track around on this album (and I never knew whether there was a link with The Beatles's Norwegian Wood track), but it appears to me as rather lenghty! But then comes the real treat: the three part April which can be deconstucted as an almost Acoustic Purple with Blackmore and Paice taking the show with Lord underlining a superb melody as the Overture. After some 5 minutes, comes the "Pièce De Résistance" when Jon Lord finally dares writing classical music and what a job he does with a reduced unit (as he completely missed out for the Symphonic Orchestra in the Concerto , their next album) and rivetting writing (abeit a bit derivative odf Classical masters) . The orchestra then pause a second than gives a chord once , then twice (as if Purple had missed out on the cue the first time) and comes the explosion. They really blow my mind with this Finale , where they manage in threeminutes to giveof their best of themselves and a superb farewell to the album (and as it turned out to the now-named MK I line-up and toprogressive rock in general). Stupendous and some 30 years later , I cannot listen to this track once, I have to replay it again!
Then after this album will come the changes we all know and Purple will be one of the creators of Heavy Metal (as Zep and Sabbath will also) and some proghead see them as the grandfather of progmetal , something I am not all trhat sure about but why not? Anyway they will kick arse severely ! But I do have a soft spot in my heart for this first line-up who in three albums , managed a superb Oeuvre noew defined as Proto-prog! Great job , guys!!!