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

Deep Purple - 2002 - Live At Inglewood 1968

Deep Purple 
Live At Inglewood 1968

01. Hush 4:44
02. Kentucky Woman 4:42
03. Mandrake Root 9:36
04. Help 5:33
05. Wring That Neck 6:00
06. River Deep, Mountain High 9:18
07. Hey Joe 7:57

- Rod Evans / lead vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitars
- Jon Lord / keyboards, backing vocals
- Nick Simper / bass, backing vocals
- Ian Paice / drums

Recorded in Los Angeles on October 18, 1968, as the supporting band for Cream, at their Farewell Tour. One of the very few, if not only, live recordings featuring the Mark I lineup, it was re-released in 2002 on Purple Records.

Tetragrammaton pulled out all the stops to secure Deep Purple a prestigious U.S. live debut on October 18th 1968, opening for Cream on their farewell tour of America at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

For Deep Purple's first live show on American soil they also made a rough black & white video recording to analyse the band's stage performance. Maybe they were was also there to check another recent acquisition, the world's first production-line 'home' sony video equipment 1968video-tape recorder and portable video camera, both introduced by Sony in 1967. The results captured through the camera (equipped only with an awkward turret lens to zoom in) were not at all impressive. Tetragrammaton played back Purple's 50 minute support performance to the group soon afterwards, and no-one could really have learnt much from it. The picture was just a grey fog, with the figures of the band just about visible through the gloom. Whenever they moved the primitive tube technology of the camera caused 'ghosting', which made things even worse.

The good news was that the accompanying audio recording turned out well and that the fifty minute support set also fitted neatly onto a reel of 0.5 inch videotape. Effectively even the audio was still just a superior audience recording however, so when Warners took over Tetragrammaton in 1970, the tape went into the dumpster.. Fortuitously it was rescued, and eventually reached the hands of the DPAS. A poor quality copy also leaked out on a Japanese bootleg cd

Hush heralds the entry of the band, very close to the album version but performed with some vigour and energy, the sound really benefiting from the clean-up afforded to the release. Kentucky Woman is vocally overloaded, Rod Evans struggling to hit the chorus at the end, though the song is well received by the audience. The applause is cut short as the band plow headlong into a slightly discordant Mandrake Root.

Rod certainly sounds well out of place with his crooning voice. Definitely odd after years of living with Gillan's powerful assault. It's extended from the studio cut, though still nowhere near the lengthy excesses of the MkII versions. The track in itself forms an interesting work in progress document, with some close similarities already there with the sections which eventually found their way into Space Truckin'.  Ritchie Blackmore 1968Help is musically tight and energetic though it does again suffer vocally. This is more than counterbalanced by the instrumental assault, Jon letting fly in the middle followed by a pretty truly awful solo by Blackers. The track sounds less tentative than on 'Shades.....', taken faster it is again well received by the crowd who are again cut short in their appreciation by an initially somewhat perfunctory run through of Wring That Neck. Blackers really begins to let fly here, bending the strings all over the place and keeping everything just the right side of total chaos. Paicey is, as ever, the stalwart. This guy has been so consistantly blowing away every other drummer for aeons, and his physical abuse of the drum kit in `68 is still no less restrained these days. Here, though, he drives everything along, holding together the tentative approaches of Ritchie, Jon and Nicky to draw things tighter.

River Deep, Mountain High musically sticks fairly closely to the original. It includes the 2001 theme, though with a distinctly harder edge, lending more weight and leaning further away from the poppier sound of the Book Of Taliesyn original . Rounding the set off is Hey Joe, again it's all there musically, though the sound is a bit thin. Rod really seems out of place here, his chicken in a basket style not gelling at all with the rest of the band. Historically, then, a great artefact and a crucial piece of the live jigsaw. Not a classic Purple performance by any stretch of the imagination, but a unique insight (so far) into the abilities of the band at this stage of it's development.

Now, the audio track has been cleaned up from the original transfer, and released as the second of the 'Sonic Zoom' series of Deep Purple live archive releases. So little evidence of Mk 1's live act remains that the recording is of real historical significance.Regarding the actual sound quality, Purple Records' site mentions that "you soon get used to the ambience, with just a little distortion in the second number and someone in the audience heard near the microphone at one or two quiet moments." It's true enough, and the sound is certainly markedly better than on the bootleg. The hiss has gone (not counting the buzzing of the amps), and there is a sharpness to the recording that was buried on the bootleg. (Being able to hear Ian Paice's cymbal taps counting in the first crashing chord of Hush for starters!) The qualty is easily good enough to make for a pleasurable (and fascinating) listen, great news for anyone who can enjoy a good, clear vintage audience recording of Deep Purple. But if you're expecting hi-fi stereo, or even a miracle clean-up, it would be best to approach with caution.

2009 Reissue Cover

To the casual fan, it's understandable to assume that the Purple lineup comprised of Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice was the original, but it was Purple's best-known one, thanks to penning quite a few all-time rock anthems. However, it was not the original. When Purple started out in the late 1960s, it featured singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper (in place of the spots Gillan and Glover would eventually occupy), and was much more of a psychedelic pop act, as evidenced by the lineup's hit, "Hush." And it's this version of Purple that is spotlighted throughout the concert set Live at Inglewood 1968. Riding high from the chart success of "Hush," what better tune to kick things off with than with a rendition of this very track. The vast majority of the tunes here are covers of other groups (including "Kentucky Woman," "Help," "Hey Joe," and "River Deep Mountain High"), and Purple borrows a page from the Vanilla Fudge handbook by completely reworking these covers to the point of not sounding like the original versions. Also featured are a pair of originals, "Mandrake Root" and "Wring That Neck," which would serve as early Purple concert standouts (before the likes of "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water" came along). The sound quality may not be as clean and clear as other Purple live albums from over the years, but as a live document of an era that is often skipped over or forgotten in Deep Purple's timeline, Live at Inglewood 1968 will be of interest to die-hard Purple fanatics.

Deep Purple - 1969 - Deep Purple

Deep Purple 
Deep Purple

01. Chasing Shadows
02. Blind
03. Lalena
04. Fault Line
05. The Painter
06. Why Didn't Rosemary?
07. Bird Has Flown
08. April

Bonus Tracks
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.

"Yet another tasteful and beautifully produced album from Deep Purple which only serves to deepen the mystery of why they are still unrecognised in Britain.
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!!!

Deep Purple - 1968 - The Book Of Taliesyn

Deep Purple 
The Book Of Taliesyn

01. Listen, Learn, Read On
02. Wring That Neck
03. Kentucky Woman
04. Exposition
05. We Can Work It Out
06. Shield
07. Anthem
08. River Deep, Mountain High

Bonus Tracks
09. Playground (Instrumental Outtake)
10. Kentucky Woman (2003 Remix)
11. Oh No No No (Studio Outtake)
12. Playground (Remixed Instrumental Version)
13. River Deep, Mountain High (US Single Edit)

Ritchie Blackmore • lead guitar
Rod Evans • vocals
Jon Lord • organ
Ian Paice • drums
Nick Simper • bass guitar, vocals

"This has been around for a while in the import shops - you may have noticed John Vemon Lord's excellent sleeve. All the Harvest sleeves are good, in fact, all being gatefolds or whatever you call them.
Some of you may recall, from 1965 or thereabouts, a record by a group called the Outlaws called "Keep a Knockin'." The vocals weren't too amazing but there was some really lunatic guitar playing by Ritchie Blackmore who is now of Deep Purple. The group have done some fine things for Radio One and they excite when they play live - that's why I don't understand where this record went wrong. It is all too restrained somehow.
Each track is well thought and well played but there is no real excitement there. Side one is the weaker side with their American hit, "Kentucky Woman," and a poor version of "We Can Work It Out." Also on this side is "Wring That Neck" which they recorded much better for a recent "Top Gear."      Side two is by far the more interesting side. It opens with "Shield" which is very good indeed - freer and more relaxed than anything else on the LP. The second track on this side is an over-dramatic "Anthem." Perhaps the best thing about the group is their sense of dynamics and their ability to lead into familiar themes with unfamiliar and beautifully constructed instrumentals. This is demonstrated in "River Deep-Mountain High" which closes this slightly disappointing album."
review: John Peel
(Disc & Music Echo, June 7th 1969)

Alternate rear cover of US edition

Several months after the innovative remake of "You Keep Me Hanging On," England's answer to Vanilla Fudge was this early version of Deep Purple, which featured vocalist Rod Evans, and bassist Nick Simper, along with mainstays Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. This, their second album, followed on the heels of "Hush," a dynamic arrangement of a Joe South tune, far removed from the flavor of one of his own hits, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." Four months later, this album's cover of Neil Diamond's Top 25, 1967 gem "Kentucky Woman," went Top 40 for Deep Purple. Also like Vanilla Fudge, the group's own originals were creative, thought-provoking, but not nearly as interesting as their take on cover tunes. Vanilla Fudge did "Eleanor Rigby," and Deep Purple respond by going inside "We Can Work It Out" -- it falls out of nowhere after the progressive rock jam "Exposition," Ritchie Blackmore's leads zipping in between Rod Evans smooth and precise vocals. As Vanilla Fudge was progressively leaning more towards psychedelia, here Deep Purple are the opposite. The boys claim to be inspired by the Bard of King Arthur's court in Camelot, Taliesyn. John Vernon Lord, under the art direction of Les Weisbrich, paints a superb wonderland on the album jacket, equal to the madness of Hieronymous Bosch's cover painting used for the third album. Originals "The Shield" and "Anthem" make early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd appear punk in comparison. Novel sounds are aided by Lord's dominating keyboards, a signature of this group.
Though "The Anthem" is more intriguing than the heavy metal thunder of Machine Head, it is overwhelmed by the majesty of their "River Deep, Mountain High" cover, definitely not the inspiration for the Supremes and Four Tops 1971 hit version. By the time 1972 came around, Deep Purple immersed themselves in dumb lyrics, unforgettable riffs, and a huge presence, much like Black Sabbath. The evolution from progressive to hard rock was complete, but a combination of what they did here -- words that mattered matched by innovative musical passages -- would have been a more pleasing combination. Vanilla Fudge would cut Donovan's "Season of the Witch," Deep Purple followed this album by covering his "Lalena"; both bands abandoned the rewrites their fans found so fascinating. Rod Evans' voice was subtle enough to take "River Deep, Mountain High" to places Ian Gillan might have demolished.

Deep Purple - 1968 - Shades Of Deep Purple

Deep Purple 
Shades Of Deep Purple

01. And The Address
02. Hush
03. One More Rainy Day
04. Prelude: Happiness
05. I'm So Glad
06. Mandrake Root
07. Help
08. Love Help Me
09. Hey Joe

Bonus Tracks:
10. Shadows (Album Outtake)
11. Love Help Me (Instrumental Version)
12. Help (Alternate Take)
13. And The Address (2003 Remix)
14. Hush (1968 Monitor Mix)
15. Prelude: Happiness/ I’m So Glad (2003 Remix)
16. Hey Joe (2003 Remix)
17. Hush (Playboy After Dark)

Ritchie Blackmore • lead guitar
Rod Evans • vocals
Jon Lord • organ
Ian Paice • drums
Nick Simper • bass guitar, vocals

"Shades" was recorded May 11 - 13 1968 at Pye Studios, London.
First released in USA on Tetragrammaton Records T 102 in July 1968 and in UK on Parlophone PMC 7055 Mono/PCS 7055 Stereo in September 1968.

The story of the formation of Deep Purple is a tangle of coincidences, nebulous ideas and raw enthusiasm, with the central aim of putting together a band which would immediately be ready to take on the world. The beginning of the thread came from one Chris Curtis. In 1967 he carried around the fantasy of building a group centred around himself in his old Searchers role as both drummer and lead singer. His previous track record impressed businessmen Tony Edwards and John Coletta, who agreed to finance and manage the new group, which at that time existed only in Curtis' imagination. Their investment would eventually pay off beyond their wildest dreams, but that would be largely due to the incredible musical chemistry between the first two musicians enrolled into the plan: organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. First brought together in December 1967, they quickly hit upon one of the most unique and universally loved 'sounds' in rock music. Even after Curtis' ideas had inevitably nosedived into the realms of unrealisable fantasy and he had drifted from the picture, Edwards and Coletta had no hesitation in backing a group built around Lord and Blackmore. The line-up was quickly completed with experienced ex-Johnny Kidd & The Pirates bassist Nick Simper, plus singer Rod Evans and drummer Ian Paice, both from The Maze. Once the band was finalised in March 1968, there was no hanging around, a debut tour followed in April (during which 'Deep Purple' was chosen to replace original name 'Roundabout'), and a first album was hurriedly recorded over a single weekend in May.

What's often taken for granted about Deep Purple Mk 1 is that inside nine months they recorded three studio albums and a non-album single... prolific isn't the word. Those early releases have been described as lacking direction. In reality the band were still coming to grips with a wonderful new sound which seemed to work with virtually any type of music, and which did not limit them to a set direction. Every musical avenue was open, and the first to bring success was pop. Debut single 'Hush' was a huge US hit, climbing into the Billboard top five. Soon afterwards their very aptly titled first album 'Shades Of Deep Purple' was scaling the album charts. There was hardly a pause for breath. A major American tour was booked for October 1968, and second album 'The Book Of Taliesyn' was recorded and rush released to coincide. It followed the same basic formula as the first; a mix of Vanilla Fudge style covers (ie. expanded, slowed down and steamrollered), classical interludes, and self-written pieces packed with every musical idea that could be shoehorned in. However, the music had become more uncompromising. It was developing an edge at odds with their unwelcome pigeon-holing as a pop act. Follow-up singles 'Kentucky Woman' and 'River Deep, Mountain High' still did reasonably well however, indeed Purple's 'River Deep..' outperformed the classic Ike & Tina Turner version in the US charts.

When US sales began to slide (a non album single 'Emmaretta' went nowhere fast in early 1969) so did the reasoning to keep the band as it was. Despite carrying a wide spectrum of interesting and intricate music, their third album (the eponymous 'Deep Purple'), was not the way forward, and the line up that recorded it was history by the time of release in July. In May 1969 Paice, Lord and Blackmore decided to take the plunge and concentrate on the increasingly dominant hard rock and classical elements in their music, leaving behind the pop and commercial side, and aiming at the UK and European rock circuit. Some of the earlier album material lent itself well to the superb improvised instrumental skills of the musicians, but new, dynamic songs were also needed. Simper and Evans, now seen as being unsuited to the band, were to be replaced.

The split was not as straightforward as it could have been, both Simper and Evans were kept uninformed as long as possible. Even after their replacements Ian Gillan and Roger Glover (from Episode Six) had already been enlisted and begun recording and rehearsing with the band, Simper and Evans remained in the dark, and continued to play live with the band for some time. Neither was pleased at eventually hearing of their impending fate through the musicians' grapevine.

Evans ended up forming the excellent US based Captain Beyond with ex-members of Iron Butterfly, while Simper formed Warhorse, a UK based rock band who tried to follow in the vapour trail of Deep Purple Mk 2.

USA Cover (Stereo Edition)

"FIRST LP from Deep Purple, currently ridinig high in the American charts with "Hush". This is one of the so-called "underground" groups that is not content to play solely blues. There is a lot of good music here, sometimes interspersed with sound effects and electronic noises which all adds to the performances. Listen to "Mandrake Root", it's a driving number with a powerful vocal from Rod Evans and stirring organ sounds from Jon Lord (who plays well throughout the LP). "Help" is taken at a slow tempo and becomes a real plea. Try any track - they're all great. Strongly recommended to all discerning pop fans."  (UK music paper, 1968)

The usual perception of early Deep Purple is that it was a band with a lot of potential in search of a direction. And that might be true of their debut LP, put together in three days of sessions in May of 1968, but it's still a hell of an album. From the opening bars of "And the Address," it's clear that they'd gotten down the fundamentals of heavy metal from day one, and at various points the electricity and the beat just surge forth in ways that were startlingly new in the summer of 1968. Ritchie Blackmore never sounded less at ease as a guitarist than he does on this album, and the sound mix doesn't exactly favor the heavier side of his playing, but the rhythm section of Nick Simper and Ian Paice rumble forward, and Jon Lord's organ flourishes, weaving classical riffs, and unexpected arabesques into "I'm So Glad," which sounds rather majestic here. "Hush" was the number that most people knew at the time (it was a hit single in America), and it is a smooth, crunchy interpretation of the Joe South song. But nobody could have been disappointed with the rest of this record -- one can even hear the very distant origins of "Smoke on the Water" in "Mandrake Root," once one gets past the similarities to Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady"; by the song's extended finale, they sound more like the Nice. Their version of "Help" is one of the more interesting reinterpretations of a Beatles song, as a slow, rough-textured dirge. "Hey Joe" is a bit overblown, and the group clearly had to work a bit at both songwriting and their presentation, but one key attribute that runs through most of this record -- even more so than the very pronounced heaviness of the playing -- is a spirit of fun; these guys are obviously having the time of their lives rushing through their limited repertoire, and it's infectious to the listener; it gives this record much more of a '60s feel than we're accustomed to hearing from this band. [The EMI/Spitfire re-release from 2000 is notably superior to any prior version of the CD, made from the original master tape (which had been sent directly to the group's American label, Tetragrammaton, leaving EMI with a vinyl dub, astonishingly enough), with textures far closer and crisper than have ever been heard before -- there are also five bonus tracks, two very early outtakes from their earliest sessions, an alternate version of "Help," a BBC recording of "Hey Joe," and a searing live U.S. television performance of "Hush."