Sunday, May 7, 2017

Deep Purple - 2011 - BBC Sessions 1968-1970

Deep Purple 
BBC Sessions 1968-1970

Mk 1 1968-1969
Top Gear June 1968
101 Hush (Vsn One) 4:01
102 One More Rainy Day 2:52
103 Help! 5:21
Dave Symonds Show July 1968
104 And The Address 2:06
Top Gear February 1969
105 Hey Bop A Re Bop 3:31
106 Emmaretta 3:07
107 Wring That Neck 4:42
108 Brian Matthew Interviews Rod Evans 1:27
109 Hey Joe 4:02
110 It's All Over 4:14
Sounds Like Tony Brandon Show July 1969
111 The Painter (Vsn One) 2:18
112 Lalena 3:32
Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae July 1969
113 The Painter (Vsn Two) 2:44
114 I'm So Glad 3:12
115 Hush (Vsn Four) 2:28

Mk 2 1969-1970
Symonds On Sunday August 1969
201 Ricochet 3:07
202 Bird Has Flown 3:04
Stuart Henry Noise At Nine November 1969
203 Speed King 3:25
204 Jam Stew (Aka John Stew) 3:56
Mike Harding's Sounds Of The Seventies April 1970
205 Hard Lovin' Man 4:13
206 Bloodsucker 3:17
207 Living Wreck (Vsn Two) 2:57
Transcription Service September 1970
208 Brian Matthew Interviews Jon Lord 1:35
209 Black Night 3:28
210 Grabsplatter 4:32
211 Into The Fire 3:48
212 Child In Time

Mark I:
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Rod Evans / lead vocals
- Jon Lord / organ, keyboards, backing vocals
- Ian Paice / drums
- Nick Simper / bass, backing vocals

Mark II:
- Ritchie Blackmore / lead guitar
- Ian Gillan / vocals
- Roger Glover / bass
- Jon Lord / organ, keyboards
- Ian Paice / drums

Releases information
Cd 1 was recorded live at the BBC between 18th, June, 1968 and 30th, June, 1969 (Mk I). Cd 2 was recorded live at the BBC between 11th, August, 1969 and 23rd, September, 1970 (Mk II).

At last, after over a quarter of a century on the back-burner, Deep Purple's known surviving BBC studio sessions have been collected together to make a fabulous history in music between 1968 and 1970. Listen to the CDs, presented in chronological order, and no words need be said about the band's development. Well, except here, just to help me recommend that you go and grab this collection as soon as it appears.

Disc one covers the 1968-69 Deep Purple Mk1 sessions. To begin with, some stats: the disc contains fourteen music tracks plus a BBC Transcription Service interview with Rod Evans (discussing the whittling of the US "River Deep. Mountain High" single). Of the fourteen music tracks, seven are previously unreleased, and only three of the seven have reached collectors' ears via bootleg tapes and discs. And none of those in good quality. Rest assured the sound quality on these new discs is very good to excellent, with one exception - and that certainly earns its place. The CDs have received sonic makeovers at Abbey Road, while superior source material has apparently been found for at least one or two of the previously released tracks.

Deep Purple's first ever BBC session was recorded on 18 June 1968 for John Peel's "Top Gear" show. And it is here in its entirety, thought lost then rediscovered in 2010. It fully justifies the conclusion of the BBC's production panel at the time; "Polished commercial group. Enthusiastic, unanimous pass." "Hush", "One More Rainy Day" and "Help" all have a similar feel to "Shades Of Deep Purple" probably because "Shades.." producer Derek Lawrence assisted with the session. The vocals feel at times as if they're too far in the background, but the sound seems cleaner and brighter than the album. "Help" is probably the best of the three, with a great instrumental section, even if the guitar solo is surprisingly close to the strangulated 'Blackmore does Hendrix' feel of the original. From here onwards it's all Blackmore as himself..

Deep Purple Mk1"And The Address" is another unreleased 1968 session, possibly from July. It's a middling quality off-air recording of two minutes from the middle of the track. However, it sounds better than the bootleg tape on which it turned up in the mid-eighties, and it's inclusion is fully merited. This is a step beyond "Shades..", with the band really cutting loose. Blackmore's guitar work is particularly aggressive and urgent.

Fast forward six months to February 1969 and the band were back for another visit to John Peel's "Top Gear". All of the five tracks were added to the 2000 Mk1 album reissues, but sound much more at home in this context. "Hey Boppa Be Bop" (a prototype of "The Painter") is all choppy guitar and improv lyrics, and sports a guitar solo which I must admit hadn't really hit home during its previous life as a bonus track. "Hey Joe", "Wring That Neck", and "Emmaretta" are all improvements on their album and single versions, while "It's All Over" first appeared on the "Book Of Taliesyn" CD reissue. "Hey Joe" by the way is the Transcription edit without the "Three Cornered Hat" introduction. An off-air recording of the latter was apparently not deemed up to scratch.

"Lalena" and "The Painter" from 24 June 1969 were bonus tracks on the 2000 "Deep Purple" reissue. "The Painter" is noticeably beefier than the embryonic "Hey Boppa Be Bop". Still, even it pales in comparison to a version recorded one week later for Deep Purple Mk1's final (and until now unreleased) BBC session. Aired on "Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae" in early July, it has Chris enthusing over a particularly frenetic opening blast, during which Ritchie's poor old wah-wah pedal and tremolo arm take an almighty pummeling. Luckily the treatment is repeated in the solo. it's a very special inclusion, showing the band already in the process of stepping up another gear. "I'm So Glad" is my personal highlight of the entire collection. The tune is closer to Cream's take on the song, and is given a three minute rollicking similar in feel to Mk2's version of "Bird Has Flown". The guitar solo is simply great. The disc is rounded off (as it began) with "Hush". The difference in the performance is fairly extreme, with this one taken at a frenetic pace and peppered with pounding guitar runs. Great stuff. The version may be familiar to collectors, as a poor off-air tape appeared in the eighties with a different DJ voice-over. "The Painter" surfaced unofficially in the early 1990s, in poor quality on the abominable "Odd Ditties" bootleg CD. The session as a whole could well be the best Deep Purple Mk1 to be released.

The Deep Purple Mk2 sessions disc includes eleven music tracks plus a short interview with Jon Lord about the making of "Black Night". All of the music tracks were previously included on the now deleted "Listen, Learn, Read On" box set. As with disc one, the music benefits hugely from being grouped together and set in context.

The first Mk2 session is a perfect crossover between the line-ups. Recorded some six weeks after Mk1 bowed out we have a magnificently potent version of "Bird Has Flown", with another great guitar solo pounding around the lower strings, and "Ricochet" - a very early prototype of "Speed King" with improvised lyrics. "Speed King" itself follows, recorded and broadcast in November 1969, months before "In Rock" appeared. It is close to the demo "piano version" which first appeared on "Singles A's & B's", and sounds wonderful. Another leap forward for the band. Joining it is "John Stew", a studio knockabout with the "Green Bullfrog" riff and improvised lyrics. A non BBC instrumental take, called "Jon's Stew" was a bonus track on the 1995 "In Rock" anniversary CD.

On to April 1970, still pre "In Rock", and three tracks due for the album but not the live set. "Hard Loving Man" is a let -down, fading out just as Jon Lord begins to crank up the big instrumental passage. (A lo-fi off-air recording survives which does get as far as the guitar section, but even it cuts out before the climax.). "Living Wreck" is preceded by Brian Mathew introducing "the heavy guitar sound of Ritchie Blackmore", one year after describing his guitar sound as "great and groovy" before ""Hey Boppa Be Bop". "Living Wreck" comes from a Transcription disc source, and unlike the original broadcast (which only survives in poor quality) it suffered an edit - missing a verse. It still sounds great though, as does a bludgeoning "Bloodsucker",. Like many of the tracks on the collection it only survived in releasable condition thanks to the Transcription Service. An earlier version of "Living Wreck" is missing presumed gone.

To round off the collection we have a session which was recorded especially for the Transcription Service in September 1970. A solid "Black Night" is preceded by Jon talking of how the track was conceived. Also included is "Into The Fire", the studio jam "Grabsplatter" - which soon transmogrified into "I'm Alone" - and an excellent "Child In Time" with Jon Lord leading off the instrumental passage. A great way to round off the journey from 1968 to 1970.
review: David Browne

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